CEO Satya Nadella’s Microsoft Presents New Competition for Apple


| Analysis

The Story Continues

Nadella introduced as new CEO, February 2014.

From his book: Nadella introduced as new CEO, February 2014.

If there’s one story in this book that reveals the thinking and leadership of Satya Nadella, that’s it. Microsoft is now all about the best solutions for all comers, not just those who have allegiance to Windows.

In the first article of mine, linked above, I wrote.

Of course Microsoft isn’t out of the woods. The company is still shackled by its past, a past that found it mired in poor executive vision and teamwork. Plus destructive Apple envy. Not to mention the lack of a true technical visionary—as Apple had with Steve Jobs.

This new book by Mr. Nadella tells a strong personal story of how he plans to lead Microsoft out of those woods of old. It’s great reading, and it sets the stage for only the 3rd CEO in Microsoft’s history to spend the coming years focusing on the new age. Machine learning, the cloud, mixed reality and artificial intelligence.

Of course, any passionate personal story will focus on the positive, but my own observations of the company since early 2014 suggest that Mr Nadella is, in fact, successfully carrying out his vision. There haven’t been many obvious mistakes along the way,

Confronting Apple (Again)

In the past, Apple had an easy time competing with Microsoft in the consumer market. Microsoft’s vision was conflicted. A fixation on Windows shackled the company. Mr. Ballmer didn’t appear, outwardly, to indicate that he understood Microsoft’s deepest problems, both in product vision, customer focus, and internal organizational structure and leadership. The company followed Apple like a fawning puppy dog, and its marketing outreach showed, according to Steve Jobs, no signs of taste. Customers were in love with the iPhone, and Apple sold more than a billion of them.

I expect Apple to continue to do well, but if the company has a weakness, it’s the inability to embrace and produce excellence in the mechanics of modern tech in broader markets , products and services. (Limited iCloud, displays, servers, routers, science and tech professionals, enterprise to name a few.) While Apple has great consumer hardware and services, a comprehensive sense of excellence in business: productivity, the cloud and collaboration has eluded the company. And so it keeps its challenges there modest and works to leverage its specific strengths.

One of my takeaways from Hit Refresh is that I don’t think it will be quite so easy anymore for Apple to shrug off the formerly sleeping giant.

I expect new, continuing and some unexpected challenges to Apple. It will be a Good Thing.

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wab95Mike WeasnerLee DronickOld UNIX GuyPaul Goodwin Recent comment authors

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wab95
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wab95

In the past, Apple had an easy time competing with Microsoft in the consumer market. Microsoft’s vision was conflicted. A fixation on Windows shackled the company. Mr. Ballmer didn’t appear, outwardly, to indicate that he understood Microsoft’s deepest problems, both in product vision, customer focus, and internal organizational structure and leadership. The company followed Apple like a fawning puppy dog… John: I would argue that it is more like Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein; an apt analogy given MS’s genesis and early relationship with Apple. The envy and resentment was palpable, as was the urge to hurt if not destroy, certainly on… Read more »

Mike Weasner
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Mike Weasner

I haven’t seen much press about the Surface Studio since it was announced. Wonder how well it is selling.

Lee Dronick
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Lee Dronick

Someone tell Delta Airlines that Microsoft presents competition for Apple.

Old UNIX Guy
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Old UNIX Guy

The two biggest threats to Apple (in order) are:

Jony Ive – his extremely unhealthy obsession with thinness even when it means sacrificing functionality (ex: the non-functional awful keyboards on the new MBP’s) is ruining so many formerly great products.
Craig Federighi – I don’t know why so many people have a man-crush on him … the software quality at Apple has dropped precipitously since Bertrand Serlet left and he took over.

Microsoft would be – at best – a very distant third.

Old UNIX Guy

Lee Dronick
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Lee Dronick

And Eddie Cue

Paul Goodwin
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Paul Goodwin

Who after living with Windows for 20 years (at work, not by choice) with its endless every-other-day vulnerability updates and technical issues would ever buy a Microsoft product for their personal use. Not me – ever.

SkylerK
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SkylerK

If he has time to write a book, he’s not doing his job. Unless the book’s goal is simply Microsoft PR.

geoduck
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geoduck

Yes it will be a good thing. I’ve sensed more than a bit of complacency, of smugness, from Cupertino in recent years. MS went from one disaster to another, XP forever, Vista, XBox Ring of Death, WinPhone, Win8, and on and on. Apple could beat them without half trying. At first it was great, Apple could be more creative and think out of the “beige” box. But after a while we started getting things like the Mac hiatus and spiraling price increases, and weird car projects, etc. MS is back and it will make Apple focus on quality and what… Read more »

andrewj050790
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andrewj050790

L O L Microsoft