Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer unveiled three major products in 2012 -- none of them instant successes.
2012 was slated to be one of the most important years in Microsoft's history. Launches of Windows 8, Windows Phone 8 and Surface were the company's answer to all those years in which it missed out on the mobile revolution.
It's early, but the signs aren't good. Windows 8 has done little to stop the trend of sinking PC sales. The Surface tablet's mixed reviews and limited distribution made it a niche product, and Windows Phone's huge marketing blitz has not translated into any gains in smartphone market share. Microsoft(MSFT) might be on the right path, but the company leaves 2012 with the same mobile market problems that it had when the year began.
Meanwhile, the company's leadership revolving door continues to spin. The ouster of Windows chief Steve Sinofsky, followed by the planned retirement of strategy head Craig Mundie, leaves no obvious successor to unpopular CEO Steve Ballmer.