Microsoft gives a bunch of bad advice to telecom operators


Microsoft is not exactly the poster boy for mobile success, which makes me wonder what qualified the company to give advice to telecom operators at the AMDOCS EXPERIENCE 2017 on how they can improve their business practice.

Speaking at the event, Bob de Haven, general manager of Worldwide Communications & Media at Microsoft, said carriers should stop being obsessed with reliability.

“Operators have spent 125 years building out five-9s [reliability]. That’s in their DNA, that’s what they do. It’s very difficult to quickly launch digital solutions that are not five-9s enabled. And that culture is a huge barrier to getting things done quickly,” said de Haven, who was presumably not having problems with his Surface Pro 4 at the time.

He suggested operators should “experiment and fail fast”, presumably much like Microsoft’s ill-fated Band venture.

de Haven noted that companies should always be on the look out for the competitor who would be eating their lunch soon.

“Who is your Uber? Who is your Netflix? Who is going to come into your market and disintermediate you? You almost have to go to bed every night thinking about that.” Who indeed is your Apple and Google he could also have asked.

de Haven’s well-worn advice was to “think ecosystem and become an enterprise software company”, presumably reflecting Microsoft’s thinking of going after where the money rather than where the users are.

He suggested operators look at monetisation opportunities beyond the point of distribution, for example through making data available to partners. Clear thinking like this presumably was what led Verizon to sell user browser data to ad companies. “You think that way, you change your businesses,” he said.

de Haven highlighted some of Microsoft’s own recent bold moves Microsoft including launching Office 365 while Office itself is still a cash cow, and investing heavily in its Azure cloud infrastructure. Not mentioned was killing of Microsoft Mobile.

Microsoft’s share price closed up 6c at $57.80, close to its all time high of $58.70 earlier this year.