Reports of disastrous sales of the Surface and less than impressive Windows 8 numbers don't bode well for Microsoft. Windows Phone 8 has at least generated some buzz, but even then it doesn't look like Microsoft's mobile OS is going to change the smartphone landscape anytime soon. This is a real risk to Microsoft's long term future. Desktop sales have crashed, laptop sales are collapsing and the two market segments that are showing growth seem to be beyond their grasp.
As head of the company Steve Ballmer has to carry the can. His past strategy has failed and another poor quarter will seriously call into question his ability to lead the company from its funk. In a triple pronged attack he has pushed Windows 8, WP8 and the Surface to market in short order. If this new strategy also fails there is no longer anywhere left to hide.
As things fall away from Microsoft there is a whole generation growing up for whom the company has no relevance. A generation for whom Microsoft might just be a name from history. That's an incredible thought, but the stories of giants like Wang, Unisys, Digital Equipment and IBM show us that once a company loses the plot there's often no way back.
The one notable exception is Apple which came from death's door to become the most valuable company in history. Saved in part by an investment from Microsoft, ironically.