Saturday, 14 February 2015

Nadella’s First Year

Satya Nadella has now had one year as Chief Executive Officer at Microsoft. Under Steve Ballmer the company became a 'devices and services' organisation. Nadella declared Microsoft was 'mobile first, cloud first'. Notwithstanding the problem of the logical proposition of two things being first I guess changing the mission was the first step to having a 'Nadella Microsoft' rather than a 'Ballmer Microsoft'.

Ballmer has also been pretty good at not being some kind of zombie wandering the halls of the old office. He has gone off and used his billions to buy a basketball team. So Nadella has a clear run at the job.

Nadella also led the server teams and understood enterprise so he is pretty much part of Microsoft's core income strategy. He has cut through a lot of the Windows 8/8.1 mantra and has re-committed Microsoft to targeting the billion and half users of Windows that didn't upgrade to Windows 8. Consumers can't be forgotten but he needs Windows to be the leading PC platform again and not a 10 year copy of Windows.

The year has also recognised that Windowsphone is a very junior partner in the mobile space so almost all Microsoft core products and services now run on Android and IOS. The competitors. This makes Microsoft the most multi-platform vendor of software. This actually goes back to the origins of the company writing applications for a variety of computers and operating systems.

Windowsphone is either dead as a platform or is morphing into a developing world low cost smartphone. The pretence of competing with iPhone or Samsung Galaxy 5 has gone. Yes there are high quality high end Windowsphones but the last 'flagship' device was a HTC One M8 which has gained little traction. Windows 10 is looking good. The ability of Windows to run on low cost low spec hardware is putting the consumer side of the platform back on track. License fees on these low cost devices is now 'zero dollars'. Note not 'free'.

The aim seems to be to get consumers to love Windows 10 like they love Apple. I am not sure if that is going to happen but that seems to be the direction of travel.

The only problem I have with Nadella is that sometimes he speaks using such rarefied language that the message is opaque. I don't really understand what he is going to do with the products I use on a daily basis. Maybe I am asking too much. However so far so good on the report card.