In a 3,200 word memo released to everyone who works inside Microsoft and even published on the company’s website July 11, 2014, Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s latest CEO, expressed that change is coming to the software giant and gave a few new perspective points to the new wave to be expected. The memo left a lot to be desired, it needed to be a plan, and it needed to be solid.
Microsoft CEO Nadella was quoted in the memo stating, “Microsoft has a unique ability to harmonize the world’s devices, apps, docs, data and social networks in digital work and life experiences so that people are at the center and are empowered to do more and achieve more with what is becoming an increasingly scarce commodity – time!” It seems that Nadella had a lot to say but wasn’t exactly saying anything important or useful. In the memo a new vision and direction is announced and is used to be a rallying cry to the troops at Microsoft. In a nutshell the memo said change is coming, that Microsoft is a Mobile first and cloud first company that is going to focus more on its competencies such as productivity.
Despite all that was said there was really no particular plan laid out, no ideas to hone in on, and no concrete steps that would be taken to ensure all this new change. Nadella’s memo didn’t give any one anything to rally around such as a product, idea, or a value to believe in.
When Apple was at its lowest point the product to rally around was the iMac. Apple stressed how the company was about simplicity and design and that all you had to do was plug it in and it would work. Those core values were expressed in their operating system OS X, in the iPhone, iPod, and iPad. They got the ball rolling and it just kept going.
For Google their drive is organizing all the world’s information. This is demonstrated in search, maps, Google Chrome, and Android. This goal shows up in Google’s driverless cars thanks to mapped roads and in Nest. With Facebook the idea is to connect people. With Microsoft the idea used to be putting a computer in every home and on every desk which they nearly accomplished. However, Steve Ballmer former CEO for Microsoft announced that the company’s new focus would be devices and services.
“While the devices and services description was helpful in starting our transformation, we now need to hone in on our unique strategy,” Nadella writes “At our core, Microsoft is the productivity and platform company for the mobile-first and cloud-first world. We will reinvent productivity to empower every person and every organization on the planet to do more and achieve more.”
It’s not really a unique strategy as one could say the same thing about Google, Apple, and perhaps even Amazon. Microsoft needs to set itself apart from the other big players in the technology industry. It needs to let people know exactly what make them different as well.
Microsoft has many successful products and services like Xbox One, Surface Pro 3, and Windows 8.1. OneDrive, OneNote, and Microsoft Azure are awesome, but Nadella needs to start by simplifying and making it clear what Microsoft’s purpose is. He needs to give a clear path out of the darkness and broken promises world and into the new one he envisions.
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