Satya Nadella Has a Smart, Technical Vision for Microsoft

| Editorial

The honeymoon has started. Microsoft's new CEO, Satya Nadella, is smart, pleasantly geeky, and communicates well. He's off to a good start changing his company's messaging about what it wants to achieve.

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So far, I am impressed after watching his presentation.

In the past, Microsoft always seemed so self-serving. It was all about holding onto turf, obsessing over WIndows and manipulating customers. Now, however, that may all be starting to change. Mr. Nadella, in his first big public presentation, showed a good grasp of Microsoft's challenges but also what it thinks it would like to offer us, and the vision is alluring.

Serving the customers with technology on every mobile platform is now the vision. It's a good one. Rather than worrying about whether MS Office is too late on the iPad, Microsoft is moving forward, smartly, and is willing to let the product speak for itself. But that productivity suite doesn't just stand alone.  It's part of a bigger picture, outlined by the new CEO.

In his blog post today, which is very good, Mr. Nadella wrote:

A great idea shouldn’t have to wait for you to get back to a particular device. An impromptu call with a customer shouldn’t be delayed because you don’t have the right data on hand. Life moves too fast to put limits on where and how you work. Just as the best camera is the one you have with you, sometimes the right device is the one closest at hand. Simply put, our vision is to deliver the best cloud-connected experience on every device.

It remains to be seen if Microsoft can execute, but my own feeling is that Microsoft is in much better hands now. I'm feeling a lot more positive about Microsoft's future.

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Images of Mr. Nadella via Microsoft.

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Comments

aardman

So about 15 years after Judge Penfield-Jackson told them to divorce productivity apps from the OS, they finally saw the wisdom of those spurned words.  Windows is better off not being saddled with the burden of defending the Office monopoly and vice versa.  [Or erstwhile monopolies, now.]

Microsoft would probably be in a better place now if Gates, then Ballmer, took heed.  For one thing, Office would have been the de facto standard for desktop and mobile productivity.

mhikl

aardman: “For one thing, Office would have been the de facto standard for desktop and mobile productivity.”
And for that we thank you, Mr Ballmer.
Pages does well enough and Numbers meets my needs.

MacFrogger

John: Here’s a thought from my perspective - that of working in a very large org that does (of course) have a tightly managed centralized IT dept staffed with MS-“certified” professionals who only recently opened up to BYOD after years of resisting the “blackberry-only” doctrine imposed from on high.

The ironic thing is now that we are allowed (just recently) to use our iPhones and iPads, it is a NECESSITY for MS to allow seamless cross-platform work between iOS and Windows on MS office.  To do anything else is corporate suicide; that Ballmer didn’t get this idea is just one of the many failings of his so-called “leadership.”  mhiki is right that Ballmer gets the “credit” for incentivizing many people to figure out work-arounds to the problem of no Office on iOS and gave Apple a bigger opening, but the fact remains that large orgs such as mine will continue to rely on MS but in a new and more open form.  Remember Steve Jobs said for one company to prosper didn’t mean the other had to fail…but Ballmer in his stupidity sure did some great harm to MS over the years.

MacFrogger

OK - after now reading (and commenting) on earlier posts, I see that without an O365 sub Office on iOS is read-only.  Limited functionality is better than none, but this is a problem.  My org will never put anything into anyone’s cloud, so not being able to create and edit is a serious shortcoming.

dannsh

Mr. Nadella first move should be to revert back the purchase licensing model. My gut tells me the rental model will cost Microsoft customers.

wab95

John:

I concur with your assessment that Satya Nadella has a smart and technically sound vision for MS. I would argue that it is one grounded in reality that takes into account, and plays to, MS’s core strengths. MS is the second leading cloud services vendor behind Amazon, but has the advantage of being the primary IT solution for enterprise in the desktop/server space.

If that comment seems a bit ungenerous, it’s simply because this is something a number of us have argued for the several years since the iPad’s introduction and demonstrated lead in as an enterprise tablet solution. Any intelligent but open-minded person at MS would see this and, if they were loyal to MS’s best interests, would pursue this course of action. In this regard, my concern for Mr Nadella is the degree of freedom he has to author this course correction, and the force he can bring to bear to alter MS’s momentum. Resistance to change, buoyed by a lack of vision and appreciation of the new reality of the post-PC era, has been MS’s greatest internal threat and impediment to their success.

Rather, what will distinguish Mr Nadella as a true visionary, in my mind, is something that I’ve argued before for any CEO who succeeds Ballmer; namely that as he mobilises MS’s assets to take maximum advantage of the post-PC era, in this case, providing cloud and other supportive services to it, and thereby repositioning MS to occupy a commanding position within it, he must use that eagle’s nest to descry and anticipate the next phase of the post-PC era or the era that will succeed it, and move MS to intercept that point ahead of the competition.

MS have the financial resources to do so, and to recruit the talent they need to remain competitive. What they require is change in vision so profound as to recreate themselves into a new company that moves beyond Windows and the PC, and not unlike what SJ himself said about the PC wars (i.e. they were over and Apple had lost, MS had won), cede the day to Apple and Google on the mobile wars, at least this this phase of it. Move on to the next big thing, but get there first, and fight for prominence within it as if their life depended on it.

Because it does.

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