Scott Loftesness notes Steve Ballmer's description of Microsoft's business as 'multicore' as well as the irony of juxtaposing this metaphor to the architectural difficulties MSFT is having with multi-processor environments. If we have to drag in tech metaphors to describe Microsoft's attempts to transition to a true multi-line of business corporation, that's not the one I'd pick.
A quick demonstration will suffice. Microsoft's Live Search is notably behind both Google and Yahoo in market share and third party adoption. As a services and advertising driven media business, it should also be in a different LOB 'core' than the traditional Windows platform business. Yet, here we find that using the Live Search API requires the wholesale adoption of .NET and Microsoft tools. Meanwhile, Yahoo Search has a RESTian API that can mashed up from pretty much any platform.
Is that how you come from behind in a competitive market? Clearly, being 'strategic' in this case is giving no advantage. Ballmer's correct to conclude that further growth requires abandoning this kind of dependency, but he's going against a long term corporate 'genetics' attuned to leveraging everything from Windows. And he's working very hard at not having to publicly swallow the bitter pill that MSFT's own business units would be better off becoming 'neutral' with respect to its erstwhile strategic franchise.