Microsoft is so focused on improving its position in the tablet OS market that it's risking angering its hardware partners by selling its own Surface device both with Windows RT and soon with Windows 8.
"We truly re-imagined Windows, and we kicked off a new era for Microsoft, and a new era for our customers," Ballmer said during the Windows 8 launch event in late October.
Later, he said: "Our enterprise customers will also love the new Windows 8 devices."
As the year ends, 2013 will provide a clearer view into Windows 8's acceptance in the enterprise and into its chances of success and failure there, and whether it will be for Microsoft an era characterized by success or disappointment.
Juan Carlos Perez covers enterprise communication/collaboration suites, operating systems, browsers and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.