As the company seeks new ways to grow, it is likely to explore things once unthinkable for it.

You may have noticed that I take a rather cynical view of Microsoft. But I think I am able to recognize when it does good things. As a matter of fact, I think the company made some smart moves in 2014, and itís going to benefit from them in 2015.

One of those smart moves was to try to move beyond the fiasco that was Windows 8. Yes, Microsoft took its own sweet time in realizing just what a moronic blunder Windows 8.xís Metro was, but it now is in the process of shoving that awkward interface into the background with Windows 10 (now in beta), bringing back the kind of windows, icon, menu and pointer (WIMP) interface that desktop users prefer.

True, the company needs to do much better in the quality assurance (QA) area. The blunders Microsoft has been making in Windows 10 are sort of understandable (itís still beta, after all). I still donít understand, though, how a change to Internet Explorer 11 can foul up an operating system update if, and only if, you have Office installed. No, what I find of much greater concern is an overall pattern of sloppy coding. An Exchange update that knocks out Outlook? Windows 7 patches that block other security patches? If Microsoft doesnít make QA job number one on the desktop in 2015, Windows 10 may yet prove a flop.

It just may be, however, that Microsoft wouldnít be that worried if Windows 10 didnít take off.