At the Gartner Symposium in Orlando, ZDNet's Larry Dignan covered Microsoft's CEO Steve Ballmer's hot-seat appearance. Gartner analyst John Pescatore was doing a free-word-association style interview at the end of Ballmer's Q&A.
Pescatore asked Ballmer what he considered to be Microsoft's "riskiest product bet."
Ballmer's answer? "The next version of Windows."
"So why did Ballmer characterize Windows 8 as "risky"? Could he've meant risky because of the way it'll or won't compete with other coming PC operating systems like ChromeOS, Mac OS X Lion? Or risky because of the adoption by more customers of the cloud? Could Windows 8 and Windows vNext actually be two different things? Or was Ballmer simply trying to deflect the question and provide an answer that would keep the scrutiny off the company's newly launched products in mobile and gaming?," MJF.