Microsoft's most recent 10K filing with the SEC gives every indication you-know-who may be bringing them some future pain:

A competing vertically-integrated model, in which a single firm controls both the software and hardware elements of a product, has been successful with certain consumer products such as personal computers, mobile phones and digital music players

Sure, Microsoft has their Xbox and Zune end-to-end business models, the former of which has enjoyed both success and red-ring framed troubles, and the latter of which is jettisoning even its... er... more eccentric fanbase, but they've yet to enjoy iPod-level triumph in the space.

To put this in some perspective, we know Microsoft's CEO, Steve Ballmer, has said Apple's tight integration is something they want to emulate going forward, but Microsoft basically invented software as the mega-business. They've made gatestillions of dollars on software and enjoy a monopoly level position in both PC OS and Office applications.

So, even as Apple sold a million iPhone 3Gs in a weekend, and Steve Jobs wants 1% of the global mobile market, and 10 million units shipped short term, Microsoft came close to moving 20 million software licenses for Windows Mobile in the last year, and even as Mac sales keep inching on up, Microsoft still sits so far atop that market share mountain, its basically everest.

Still, if we discount Microsoft's endemic -- and groundless -- Apple (and now Google) envy, could Ballmer and co. seriously still see Apple's 360 degree, spherically integrated business model as a threat? And if so, why?

Posted from my iPhone