Microsoft Moves From a Mobile Device to a Mobile Experience

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There was a time when one spoke of Personal Computers (PCs) and technology, the name Microsoft and IBM would immediately pop into your head. IBM long ago has joined the dinosaurs in the former PC market – they never did have a presence in the mobile world – and it seemed that Microsoft, the founder of the basic DOS operating system, Microsoft Windows and Internet Explorer, might soon follow IBM's path.  In 2012, 'Vanity Fair' presented an interesting case that Microsoft had suffered a "lost decade" under the guidance of former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer…who was ousted the next year.  BuzzFeed had an opportunity to interview new CEO Satya Nadella – one-on-one – at their Redmond, Washington headquarters and we get a glimpse of the direction he is taking Microsoft.

Under Ballmer, Microsoft was an arrogant company with a lot of in-house fighting going on – a true picture of a company taking on the personality of its CEO.  Microsoft was once a PC essential that could not find its way into our pockets nor the mobile world that was surrounding it.  This was the culture and mindset that Satya Nadella, was facing when he took over from Ballmer.  Nadella smiles, is energetic and his enthusiasm is contagious as he graciously explains that he is not trying to replace the old ways, but create an atmosphere where their business culture evolves as the world changes.  He says, "We've got to have a model which goes beyond saying 'let's take culture A, unfreeze it, change it, and freeze it back' because that model doesn't work â€" because as soon as you freeze anything back it becomes irrelevant the next day."

As our wireless, mobile and cloud oriented society grows, under Nadella, Microsoft must also grow into this culture.  He explains, "You and I throughout the day, we will use many devices.  Perhaps you start with a phone.  But then you walk into your conference room where there are sensors, large screens, and small screens.  And then you go back home to your TV or your Xbox.  The idea is that … your apps, your data, your context move from device to device [when] you are mobile." This is what he is calling the "mobile experience" and rather focusing on strictly a smartphone or mobile device, Microsoft can fill a huge need in this mobile experience.  This makes sense when the latest Gartner report estimates that Microsoft's mobile market share is a paltry 1.7-percent and by getting to a point that the device matters less than the experience, seems to be where Nadella is guiding Microsoft.

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When it was pointed out to Nadella that an entire generation has left Microsoft for iOS and Android, along with the App Developers.  He admits that while they have lost that "developer energy," he is hoping that Windows 10's ability to cross devices will bring developers back to Microsoft.  He says, "What you're referencing is what I'd call the elite developers, and a lot of them go to the volume platform. There's no question that in the case of the smartphone, today, we are not that high in share. Now, with HoloLens we're going to get back a lot of elite developers. And with Xbox becoming basically a Windows computer, we're going to get back a whole lot of developers."  This is a lot of speculation for Nadella and Microsoft to assume, and only time will allow them to affirm this new culture.