Microsoft doesn't have an official presence at the International CES in Las Vegas this week. It stopped participating in the opening keynote and abandoned its booths on the show floor two years ago.
But it still conducts behind-the-scenes meetings with partners, hardware manufacturers, mobile operators and developers at the giant consumer electronics show. And it left the biggest footprint among an onslaught of systems from of Lenovo, HP and others.
Among the Microsoft show news: leaks about the Nvidia-powered Surface 3 and Mini tablets — which topped rumors on gadgets like Samsung's Galaxy S5 smartphone.
As the analyst firms continue to chart the slide in PC sales and more Apple's devices flow into the corporate world, tablet sales are climbing. All the major players are picking up the pace with new models for 2014 in various stages of development, and leaked specifications of the company's next Surface models are rippling around the show floor.
HP's range of 23 new machines at the show includes a number of enterprise-focused extras featuring Kingsoft Office, Evernote, Skype, HP Classroom Manager, 50GB Box storage and remote access via Citrix Receiver. And Lenovo offered its Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon Touch in a lighter, faster 2014 guise.
But a reliable Twitter source, MSFTNerd, stole the show by leaking info from a roadmap about the power of Microsoft's upcoming portables. With a very powerful Tegra K1 chip and 192 Kepler graphics cores at the heart, the next Surface will make for an awesome, low-power device.
That hefty leap in power will enable higher-grade, processor-hungry apps to run on the tablet. That power would put it the device up there with most enterprise notebooks or desktops, finally levelling the playing field across devices, and perhaps signalling a quickening of the decline of the humble PC.
Both the Surface 3 and rumored 7.5-inch screen mini were reportedly seen on a Microsoft roadmap. Neither are due for release until later this year, so there's room for further technical changes that could put down a marker for other manufacturers who think they can steal the enterprise market from under Microsoft's nose.
Apple's move to 64-bit, closely followed by Samsung's promise to do the same, puts the onus on Microsoft to pack massive power into its systems, and the new Tegra chip should fit the bill. The Galaxy S5, meanwhile, is expected to offer eye-tracking security, improved smartwatch integration and a 64-bit CPU,
Is 2014 your year for an office upgrade, and will you venture down the tablet or multi-function device, or stick to the tried and tested PC formats? We await the next sets of market figures and further evidence of the PC's decline with interest.