In the recent press event at Microsoft’s campus, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella spoke about Microsoft’s future in the mobile first and cloud first world. During his talk, he spoke about Microsoft’s two biggest competitors in the business, Apple and Google. He said that Apple, Google and Microsoft have distinct identities. He described Apple and Google as the following,
When I think about what Apple does, what Google does and what Microsoft does, therein lies perhaps the simplest answer to why these three identities are actually pretty distinct. To me Apple’s very, very clear, and, in fact, I think Tim Cook did a great job of even describing that very recently where he said they sell devices and that’s what Apple is all about. And Google is about being, it’s about data or it’s about advertising, it is about serving you ads in a tasteful way, and they’ve done a great job of that business.
He spoke about Microsoft’s own identity that revolves around productivity and platform.
Whereas in our case our identity really is about empowering others to build products. It’s not really about us and our products. Of course, we have a revenue model and a business model, but to me the place where Microsoft can be distinct and where it comes naturally to us more so than anything else is from the creator of a document to a developer writing an app, to anyone else who is in the business of actually their own creation we want to be the tools provider, the platform provider. That’s the core identity, and productivity to me that’s why it has deep meaning.
Frank X. Shaw, Corporate Vice President of Communications at Microsoft blogged about the future of productivity as the following,
We are entering an era where devices outnumber people and create more data than they consume and where the tools that served us well in the past will come up short. So making the most of our time will require a rethink of our tools. How will they need to change?
- We need to move away from tools that require us to learn how they work, to natural tools that learn to work the way we do
- We need to move from tools focused on our individual abilities to tools that empower social productivity
- We need to move from tools that wait for us to act, towards intelligent tools that understand context in order to anticipate and prioritize what matters most
- We need to move from a world where time and place dictate what we can do to a truly mobile world that revolves around us so that any device can become your device
Taken together these reflect a shift in centrality: from a world with devices, software, or clouds are central, to a world where people are in the center. Still doing what they love, still getting stuff done, still looking for the best tools of creation to help them.