A Fool Looks Back

Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) finally rolled out Windows 8.1 this week. The software giant may not come out and say that Windows 8 was a dud last year. It sold hundreds of millions of licenses. However, it's quite telling that PC shipments fell every single quarter under Window 8's watch.

Some will argue that it's not the operating system. Even Macs aren't selling the way they used to. But given the way that consumers have sided with Android and iOS -- and enterprises are gradually moving toward an operating system-agnostic standard -- there may be nothing Windows 8.1 can do at this point to lift PC sales. 

We'll know for sure once we get a few more quarters of economic growth. Did mobile computing truly disrupt Microsoft's model, or is it just a soft global economy that's forcing folks that normally buy PCs and laptops into cheaper tablets and other mobile gadgetry? One thing is for sure: Even Mr. Softy has made no bones about transitioning to a "devices and services" company. It's not just about the software, largely because we're no longer about the PC.

Briefly in the news
And now let's take a quick look at some of the other stories that shaped our week.

  • Citi analysts raised their price target on Baidu (NASDAQ: BIDU  ) to $175. The stock's been on fire lately, but the analysts think Baidu's growth in mobile will be both substantial and a boost to margins in the coming years.
  • Intuitive Surgical (NASDAQ: ISRG  ) reported disappointing quarterly results. The company behind the da Vinci surgical robotics system saw revenue fall on a plunge in new system sales. Surgeons continue to use the systems that are already out there, but hospitals have been hesitant in making the big-ticket investment that Intuitive Surgical's product requires.
  • Tesla Motors (NASDAQ: TSLA  ) is teaming up with AT&T (NYSE: T  ) to make other drivers even more envious of folks behind the wheel of its Model S sedan. AT&T will provide Tesla vehicles with wireless connectivity for surfing the Web, navigation, and entertainment. Tesla isn't the first company to embrace in-car connectivity, but it has a way of turning heads every time it raises the bar.

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