Microsoft intends to orient its mobile efforts toward “dual users and their needs across work and life” as the industry moves beyond its “infant stages”, Satya Nadella, newly-appointed CEO, wrote in a memo to staff – which was also published for a wider audience.
“While today many people define mobile by devices, Microsoft defines it by experiences. We’re really in the infant stages of the mobile-first world. In the next few years we will see many more new categories evolve and experiences emerge that span a variety of devices of all screen sizes,” the executive wrote.
While Nadella used the word “mobile” frequently, it was generally in reference to a “mobile first and cloud first world” – six out of ten times it was used in this phrase. Mobile was also referenced in Nadella’s defence of Xbox, where he stated: “The single biggest digital life category, measured in both time and money spent, in a mobile-first world is gaming. We are fortunate to have Xbox in our family to go after this opportunity with unique and bold innovation.”
Nokia picked up one reference, in a section that also discussed Microsoft’s much-maligned Surface product line. “We will build first-party hardware to stimulate more demand for the entire Windows ecosystem. That means at times we’ll develop new categories like we did with Surface. It also means we will responsibly make the market for Windows Phone, which is our goal with the Nokia devices and services acquisition,” he wrote.
Nadella also highlighted Microsoft’s strength in the cloud space, noting that the company “has the unique ability to harmonise the world’s devices, apps, docs, data and social networks in digital work and life experiences so that people are at the centre and are empowered to do more and achieve more with what is becoming an increasingly scarce commodity – time”.
“Apps will be designed as dual-use with the intelligence to partition data between work and life with the respect for each person’s privacy choices,” he also noted.
This will be underpinned by structural change at the company, the CEO said. “We will streamline the engineering process and reduce the amount of time and energy it takes to get things done. You can expect to have fewer processes but more focused and measurable outcomes. You will see fewer people get involved in decisions and more emphasis on accountability.”
Indeed, Nadella is expected to announce job cuts later this year (the firm’s 127,000 headcount is far higher than rivals Apple and Google). More details are likely to emerge once Microsoft has reported quarterly earnings on July 22.
With Nadella looking to “flatten the organisation and develop leaner business processes”, his memo added that Microsoft’s senior executive team has been asked to “evaluate opportunities to advance their innovation processes and simplify their operations and how they work.”