As a whole, the technology press has started to pick up on the idea that Microsoft is back on the right path under Satya Nadella, deciding that buying up popular mobile apps and focusing less heavily on Windows, and more on integration with outside platforms and the cloud, is a path to success.
While it is almost certainly too early to tell, and many things could still go wrong during Nadella's stewardship, the company is certainly on a far straighter path than it has been in previous years, accepting its place in the technology universe and returning to its position as one of the most innovative companies in the world, rubbing shoulders with Apple, Google, Amazon and a whole host of startups.
No time to rest
But it would be foolish for Microsoft to rest upon laurels that are not quite fully formed yet. Profits, while impressive – $7.8 billion (around £5 billion, AU$10 billion) in the last quarter – are nowhere near Apple's $18 billion (around £11.7 billion, AU$23 billion), and its hardware divisions, besides Xbox, are not up to much (in Q4 2014 Microsoft shipped 10 million Lumia handsets while Apple shifted 74 million iPhones), highlighting areas that could use some major growth and are seriously lagging behind competitors.
Windows Phone is also lagging behind the competition, although the solution to this seems to be to roll it into Windows 10, as Microsoft is planning later on in 2015.
The forward movement of Microsoft has been very obvious lately, as the company picks up momentum in light of positive press coverage and a renewed sense of purpose away from the failures of what can be described as 'old Microsoft', which missed mobile, tablets and (almost) wearables – although the verdict is still out on how large that market is going to be.
Of course, there are some strategies that result in guaranteed growth, one of which is acquisitions of pre-existing companies, predominantly startups, that offer a service that Microsoft either doesn't have, or can complement.
So with that in mind, we offer up the following suggested targets for Redmond's coffers…
While Satya Nadella has made it clear that Microsoft will be taking a new strategic path going forward there will still be a focus – a large one at that – on Microsoft Office, the bread and butter of Windows and the product that keeps businesses coming back for more.
For many years under Steve Ballmer, Office was the software that made customers stick to Windows, especially when the landscape shifted to mobile and Microsoft's presence was reduced to less than 5% of the mobile landscape, and so Office held maximum importance within the company.
While Microsoft was working on Office, Evernote was working on the next-generation of note taking app, building it for multi-platform work that included mobile. By using the cloud and Apple's new iOS SDK – Evernote has been around since 2008 – the team has created one of the best ways to take notes on any device and sync them up between all devices. But the functionality doesn't stop there: Nicholas Carlson wrote his book 'Marissa Mayer and the Fight to Save Yahoo!' using Evernote, collating all of his notes and audio clips into a 368 page novel.
The Evernote team's expertise at creating applications for all devices that sync well with the cloud would be a powerful asset for Microsoft's Office team, enabling the expansion of Office 365 – a service which came out in 2011, three years after Evernote – and the simplification of the office productivity market, which is already highly diverse.