Deconstructing Satya

Last week, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella laid bare his vision for the tech giant. It is borderline revolutionary.

From its early days, Microsoft has focused on using software and computing to empower people and businesses around the world. Nadella still clings to this laudable vision. However, he has now fundamentally flipped the seat of power, even as he fears to let go of all Microsoft has amassed over the decades.

Just as America’s Constitution enumerated inalienable rights all its people are endowed with, forever empowering even a single individual against the full force of the government, in a similar manner Nadella has positioned the user above all else.

This is radical. For Microsoft, it’s nearly unthinkable.

Nadella does not simply place emphasis on users instead of PCs, on productivity instead of Windows. He changes the equation of the software behemoth going forward.  This could set Microsoft apart from all others.

The most user-friendly tech company in the world, Apple, emphasizes ecosystem over device, lock-in over empowerment. Google takes from its own users when they are not looking. Amazon confounds its customers with Prime service, making it nearly impossible to ever fully know the actual price — or value — of any single item.

Nadella is positioning Microsoft on the side of the user. Security, privacy, productivity, empowerment. I believe this will have a profound and lasting impact on the company and its customers forever. This call to great and permanent and never ending change is buried inside Nadella’s 3,500 word memo to Microsoft staff. I understand if you choose not to read (any/all of) it.

My analysis of his manifesto is below, in bold italic.

Nadella word cloud


From: Satya Nadella

To: All Employees

Date: July 10, 2014 at 6:00 a.m. PT

Subject: Starting FY15 – Bold Ambition & Our Core

As we start FY15, I want to thank you for all of your contributions this past year. I’m proud of what we collectively achieved even as we drove significant changes in our business and organization. It’s energizing to feel the momentum and enthusiasm building.

This is all wrong. Platitudes, corporate management speak and 3,500 words are absolutely the wrong way to begin a discussion about “significant changes” and “enthusiasm building.” That within the first paragraph we are twice reminded FY15 has commenced, all I can think is Nadella is too steeped in the pre-existing conditions of Microsoft to achieve anything great, let alone revolutionary. 

The day I took on my new role I said that our industry does not respect tradition – it only respects innovation. I also said that in order to accelerate our innovation, we must rediscover our soul – our unique core. We must all understand and embrace what only Microsoft can contribute to the world and how we can once again change the world. I consider the job before us to be bolder and more ambitious than anything we have ever done.

“What only Microsoft” can do should be plastered across every meeting room in Redmond. Nadella mimics Tim Cook’s penchant for “change the world” pablum but to be fair, very few companies really can. Microsoft is one. Kudos to Nadella for not shying away from this. 

We’ll use the month of July to have a dialogue about this bold ambition and our core focus.

The very corporate nonsense-speak that turned me into a freelancer.

Today I want to synthesize the strategic direction and massive opportunity I’ve been discussing for the past few months and the fundamental cultural changes required to deliver on it.

Means nothing.

On July 22, we’ll announce our earnings results for the past quarter and I’ll say more then on what we are doing in FY15 to focus on our core. Over the course of July, the Senior Leadership Team and I will share more on the engineering and organization changes we believe are needed. Then, at MGX and //oneweek, we’ll come together to build on all of this, learn from each other and put our ideas into action.

Rigid, bureaucratic and enslaved to artificial dates. 

We live in a mobile-first and cloud-first world. Computing is ubiquitous and experiences span devices and exhibit ambient intelligence. Billions of sensors, screens and devices – in conference rooms, living rooms, cities, cars, phones, PCs – are forming a vast network and streams of data that simply disappear into the background of our lives. This computing power will digitize nearly everything around us and will derive insights from all of the data being generated by interactions among people and between people and machines. We are moving from a world where computing power was scarce to a place where it now is almost limitless, and where the true scarce commodity is increasingly human attention.

This is brilliant. Better, it launches the long, painful slog of fully re-positioning Microsoft away from PCs, away from Windows, away from Office, away from its past, which now binds it, and onto a future of screens, data and insight.

The only company at present that can challenge a fully engaged Microsoft in this is Google. 

In this new world, there will soon be more than 3 billion people with Internet-connected devices – from a farmer in a remote part of the world with a smartphone, to a professional power user with multiple devices powered by cloud service-based apps spanning work and life.

Microsoft will be the anti-Apple, delivering services and value to all, not just the world’s 10%. 

The combination of many devices and cloud services used for generating and consuming data creates a unique opportunity for us. Our customers and society expect us to maximize the value of technology while also preserving the values that are timeless.

Means nothing. Wasting employee’s time.

We will create more natural human-computing interfaces that empower all individuals. We will develop and deploy secure platforms and infrastructure that enable all industries. And we will strike the right balance between using data to create intelligent, personal experiences, while maintaining security and privacy. By doing all of this, we will have the broadest impact. 

Preach! Only Google can challenge Microsoft in delivering services to all. But, only Microsoft can deliver these services and effectively protect individual privacy. 

Mobile First Cloud First

Microsoft was founded on the belief that technology creates opportunities for people and organizations to express and achieve their dreams by putting a PC on every desk and in every home.

Microsoft’s business practices rightly angered many of us. But their efforts also helped deliver us directly to this future. We should be thankful for that. 

More recently, we have described ourselves as a “devices and services” company. While the devices and services description was helpful in starting our transformation, we now need to hone in on our unique strategy.

I am not Steve Ballmer.

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.

Wow. This is a truly revolutionary message and within Microsoft’s skill set to make happen. I will be happy if Microsoft simply comes close to this vision, as it is glorious: “empower every person and every organization on the planet to do more and achieve more.” 

We think about productivity for people, teams and the business processes of entire organizations as one interconnected digital substrate. We also think about interconnected platforms for individuals, IT and developers. This comprehensive view enables us to solve the more complex, nuanced and real-world day-to-day challenges in an increasingly digital world. It also opens the door to massive growth opportunity – technology spend as a total percentage of GDP will grow with the digitization of nearly everything in life and work.

I think this is wrong. Backwards, in fact. It’s not about an “interconnected digital substrate,” a nonsense phrase, but about building a product that truly empowers that one person. If it empowers one, it will empower millions. Apple has taught us this. Microsoft has yet to learn this. 

We have a rich heritage and a unique capability around building productivity experiences and platforms. We help people get stuff done. Stuff like term papers, recipes and budgets. Stuff like chatting with friends and family across the world. Stuff like painting, writing poetry and expressing ideas. Stuff like running a Formula 1 racing team or keeping an entire city running. Stuff like building a game with a spark of your imagination and remixing it with the world. And stuff like helping build a vaccine for HIV, and giving a voice to the voiceless. This is an incredible foundation from which to grow. 

Nice reminder for the troops and the public. 

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.

Repeating this is not productive.

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 took far too much time to get here, but Nadella has shrewdly set in motion not only Microsoft’s mission, but its marketing message as well, which is almost as important.

Microsoft will save us time. 

Productivity for us goes well beyond documents, spreadsheets and slides. We will reinvent productivity for people who are swimming in a growing sea of devices, apps, data and social networks. We will build the solutions that address the productivity needs of groups and entire organizations as well as individuals by putting them at the center of their computing experiences. We will shift the meaning of productivity beyond solely producing something to include empowering people with new insights. We will build tools to be more predictive, personal and helpful.

The deconstruction of Word, Excel et al shall commence starting now. 

We will enable organizations to move from automated business processes to intelligent business processes. Every experience Microsoft builds will understand the rich context of an individual at work and in life to help them organize and accomplish things with ease.

This will be tricky. Even in a data driven, always-on world, people vigilantly maintain different lives: work, home, and those known only between the person and her browser history. Nadella wants to create a whole where I believe people want to maintain separate, if porous, fiefdoms. 

Productive people and organizations are the primary drivers of individual fulfilment and economic growth and we need to do everything to make the experiences and platforms that enable this ubiquitous.

I love how Nadella and Microsoft are the anti-Apple. Steve Jobs was famous for talking about computers and creativity whereas Microsoft is now focused on computers and productivity. Both are worthy visions: Apple is more likely to garner passionate adherents, Microsoft is more likely to lift up all boats. 

Users Not Consumers

We will think of every user as a potential “dual user” – people who will use technology for their work or school and also deeply use it in their personal digital life. They strive to get stuff done with technology, demanding new cloud-powered applications, extensively using time and calendar management, advanced expression, collaboration, meeting, search and research services, all with better security and privacy control.

Privacy, privacy, security.

Wise of Microsoft to attack Google’s Achilles Heel. Obviously, we embrace the many benefits that accrue as our data, all of it, flows between many clouds and many screens.

We will want to know, however, that some data will remain forever cordoned off to all but exactly whom we wish and when. Only Microsoft can deliver this — Google’s business model is almost in direct opposition to it and Apple refuses to embrace Microsoft scale.

Warning, Mr. Nadella: do not abdicate user privacy. Do not screw this up. 

Microsoft will push into all corners of the globe to empower every individual as a dual user – starting with the soon to be 3 billion people with Internet-connected devices. And we will do so with a platform mindset. Developers and partners will thrive by creatively extending Microsoft experiences for every individual and business on the planet.

None of this sounds even remotely appealing. Platforms empower the maker, not the user. That’s why every company in tech talks platforms.

“Microsoft experiences” sounds no better than, say, a visit to the dentist. 

Across Microsoft, we will obsess over reinventing productivity and platforms. We will relentlessly focus on and build great digital work and life experiences with specific focus on dual use.

Nadella has hitched his future to a belief in “dual use.” That is, our work and home lives meld into one interconnected digital sphere. I think this is wrong and will be his undoing.

Microsoft Everywhere

Our cloud OS infrastructure, device OS and first-party hardware will all build around this core focus and enable broad ecosystems. Microsoft will light up digital work and life experiences in the most personal, intelligent, open and empowering ways.

Key words: “first-party hardware.” Surface, Lumia, Xbox — these are only the start of Nadella’s hardware ambitions. Ballmer must be pleased. 

Developers and partners will thrive by creatively extending Microsoft experiences for every individual and business on the planet.

Requisite acknowledgement of developers and partners now out of the way… 

We will deliver digital work and life experiences that are reinvented for the mobile-first and cloud-first world. First and foremost, these experiences will shine for productivity. As a result, people will meet and collaborate more easily and effectively. They will express ideas in new ways. They will experience the magic of ambient intelligence with Delve and Cortana.

This is the future we expect and I am looking forward to Microsoft’s implementation of “ambient intelligence.”

It’s easy to believe Microsoft will be unable to match Google Now and other iterations of Google’s ambient intelligence capabilities. It’s nearly as easy to believe Microsoft won’t be able to deliver a service as simple to use as Apple’s Siri. These are legitimate concerns. That said, Bing, Yammer, Office, Exchange, Skype, Lumia, and the reach of Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure are critical resources to be tapped, and will help guide users in all facets of their digital life. 

Moreover, for the shareholders, ambient intelligence will be a business revolution, and in this, Microsoft is far ahead of the pack. 

They will ask questions naturally and have them answered with insight from Power Q&A. They will conquer language barriers and change the world with Skype translator. Apps will be designed as dual use with the intelligence to partition data between work and life and with the respect for each person’s privacy choices. All of these apps will be explicitly engineered so anybody can find, try and then buy them in friction-free ways.  They will be built for other ecosystems so as people move from device to device, so will their content and the richness of their services – it’s one way we keep people, not devices, at the center.

I hope you succeed at this. Right now, these remain mere words.

This transformation is well underway as we moved Office from the desktop to a service with Office 365 and our solutions from individual productivity to group productivity tools – both to the delight of our customers.

Please ban the use of the word ‘delight’.

We’ll push forward and evolve the world-class productivity, collaboration and business process tools people know and love today, including Skype, OneDrive, OneNote, Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Bing and Dynamics. 

The next revolution will be in the office, not in the home. In this, new Microsoft still acts like old Microsoft. 

Increasingly, all of these experiences will become more connected to each other, more contextual and more personal. For example, today the Cortana app on my Windows Phone merges data from highway sensors and my own calendar and simply reminds me to leave work to make it to my daughter’s recital on time. In the future, it will be even more intelligent as a personal assistant who takes notes, books meetings and understands if my question about the weather is to determine my clothes for the day or is intended to start a complex task like booking a family vacation. Microsoft experiences will be unique as they will reason over information from work and life and keep a user in control of their privacy.

Dear tech bloggers: the ‘Microsoft is doomed’ stories are just stupid. 

The Cloud Everywhere

Our cloud OS represents the largest opportunity given we are working from a position of strength. With Azure, we are one of very few cloud vendors that runs at hyper-scale. The combination of Azure and Windows Server makes us the only company with a public, private and hybrid cloud platform that can power modern business. We will transform the return on IT investment by enabling enterprises to combine their existing datacenters and our public cloud into one cohesive infrastructure backplane. We will enable our customers to use our Cloud OS to accelerate their businesses and power all of their data and application needs. 

The cloud will be where nearly all our data and all the intelligence connected to that data resides. But not all. We will use our mobile devices to store and share data and content which we dare not send via the cloud.

That said, the cloud will be paramount, and Mr. Nadella is wise to focus so much attention upon Microsoft’s capabilities here.

His statement also reminds us Nadella is a techie and he understands how to fully leverage the breadth of Microsoft’s infrastructure. I wish his statement, however, wasn’t so buried underneath enterprise-speak. How will this cloud benefit me — not me at work, not me doing work. Simply, me. 

Beyond back-end cloud infrastructure, our cloud will also enable richer employee experiences. For example, with our new Enterprise Mobility Suite, we now enable IT organizations to manage and secure the Windows, iOS and Android devices that their employees use, while keeping their companies secure. We are also making it easy for organizations to securely adopt SaaS applications (both our own and third-party apps) and seamlessly integrate them with their existing security and management infrastructure. We will continue to innovate with higher level services like identity and directory services, rich data storage and analytics services, machine learning services, media services, web and mobile backend services, developer productivity services, and many more.

Nadella may talk of “dual use” and of the merging of work and home. Microsoft remains, however, a work company.  

Our cloud OS will also run all of Microsoft’s digital work and life experiences, and we will continue to grow our datacenter footprint globally. Every Microsoft digital work and life experience will also provide third-party extensibility and enable a rich developer ecosystem around our cloud OS. This will enable customers and partners to further customize and extend our solutions, achieving even more value.

Cloud “APIs,” essentially, could revolutionize how we create, manipulate and benefit from data. Microsoft should be a leader in this, and it will propel tremendous business value. 

Hardware Everywhere

Our Windows device OS and first-party hardware will set the bar for productivity experiences.

Again, that phrase “first-party hardware.”

Microsoft is (now) a hardware company. But a good one? Can an applications, services and infrastructure company also do great hardware? I have my doubts. I welcome being proven wrong. 

Windows will deliver the most rich and consistent user experience for digital work and life scenarios on screens of all sizes – from phones, tablets and laptops to TVs and giant 82 inch PPI boards.

Does anyone believe this will ever be so?

We will invest so that Windows is the most secure, manageable and capable OS for the needs of a modern workforce and IT.

Nadella will not cede one organization to Google Docs and not allow a single corporation to let iPhone, iPad or BYOD to loosen its grip on the enterprise. This will be a bloody fight. I can’t wait.  

Windows will create a broad developer opportunity by enabling Universal Windows Applications to run across all device targets. Windows will evolve to include new input/output methods like speech, pen and gesture and ultimately power more personal computing experiences. 

Multi-mode inputs will absolutely create more personal computing experiences. The burden of proof that these should — or even can — be offered by Microsoft is quite high, however.

Very, very few humans use speech, pen or gestures to interact with Microsoft products or applications. Microsoft has repeatedly failed to lead the world in this. 

Our first-party devices will light up digital work and life. Surface Pro 3 is a great example – it is the world’s best productivity tablet.


In addition, 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.

Being deliberately inexplicable is not productive, Mr. Nadella. What exactly is “responsibly make the market?” You intend to be a hardware company, in direct competition with many of your very best partners. Say so. 

I also want to share some additional thoughts on Xbox and its importance to Microsoft. As a large company, I think it’s critical to define the core, but it’s important to make smart choices on other businesses in which we can have fundamental impact and success. 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. Microsoft will continue to vigorously innovate and delight gamers with Xbox. Xbox is one of the most-revered consumer brands, with a growing online community and service, and a raving fan base. We also benefit from many technologies flowing from our gaming efforts into our productivity efforts – core graphics and NUI in Windows, speech recognition in Skype, camera technology in Kinect for Windows, Azure cloud enhancements for GPU simulation and many more. Bottom line, we will continue to innovate and grow our fan base with Xbox while also creating additive business value for Microsoft.

Brilliant. Nadella has scuttled all rumors about Microsoft abandoning Xbox. He has reminded analysts gaming is a primary driver behind mobile and while Microsoft lags in mobile it is a leader in gaming. Nadella also reminds us in our new age of data, collaboration and ideas, “gaming” will become a crucial component of productivity.

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. Microsoft will be on the forefront of this innovation with a particular focus on dual users and their needs across work and life.
 Microsoft will continue to vigorously innovate and delight gamers with Xbox.

My take: Microsoft to acquire Zynga. That’s just for starters. 

Our ambitions are bold and so must be our desire to change and evolve our culture.
I truly believe that we spend far too much time at work for it not to drive personal meaning and satisfaction. Together we have the opportunity to create technology that impacts the planet.

Good, lord, this memo is just ridiculously long. 

I’ve Seen All Good People

Nothing is off the table in how we think about shifting our culture to deliver on this core strategy. Organizations will change. Mergers and acquisitions will occur. Job responsibilities will evolve. New partnerships will be formed. Tired traditions will be questioned. Our priorities will be adjusted. New skills will be built. New ideas will be heard. New hires will be made. Processes will be simplified. And if you want to thrive at Microsoft and make a world impact, you and your team must add numerous more changes to this list that you will be enthusiastic about driving.

If you are not a star, I strongly advise you to get to work on your resume. 

I am committed to making Microsoft the best place for smart, curious, ambitious people to do their best work.

If you are a star, I strongly advise you to get to work on your resume. 

First, we will obsess over our customers. Obsessing over our customers is everybody’s job. I’m looking to the engineering teams to build the experiences our customers love. I’m looking to the sales and marketing organizations to showcase our unique value propositions and drive customer usage first and foremost.
 In order to deliver the experiences our customers need for the mobile-first and cloud-first world, we will modernize our engineering processes to be customer-obsessed, data-driven, speed-oriented and quality-focused. We will be more effective in predicting and understanding what our customers need and more nimble in adjusting to information we get from the market. 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. Further, you will see investments in two new or combined functions: Data and Applied Science and Software Engineering. Each engineering group will have Data and Applied Science resources that will focus on measurable outcomes for our products and predictive analysis of market trends, which will allow us to innovate more effectively. Software Engineering will evolve so that information can travel more quickly, with fewer breakpoints between the envisioning of a product or service and a quality delivery to customers. In making these changes we are getting closer to the customer and pushing more accountability throughout the organization.

We should not be surprised when thousands of Microsoft staff are shown the door.

Second, we know the changes above will bring on the need for new training, learning and experimentation.

That’s you, old, middle management gatekeepers.

Over the next six months you will see new investments in our workforce, such as enhanced training and development and more opportunities to test new ideas and incubate new projects.

Big layoffs by Christmas.

I have also heard from many of you that changing jobs is challenging. We will change the process and mindset so you can more seamlessly move around the company to roles where you can have the most impact and personal growth. All of this, too, comes with accountability and the need to deliver great work for customers, but it is clear that investing in future learning and growth has great benefit for everyone.  

I suspect Microsoft will soon become the GE of personal computing. Massive, always in flux, possessing an agile bureaucracy, driven less by product or business model and more by shrewdly financing initiatives which it can dominate.  

I am committed to making Microsoft the best place for smart, curious, ambitious people to do their best work.

Why hasn’t it been?



every team across Microsoft must find ways to simplify and move faster, more efficiently. We will increase the fluidity of information and ideas by taking actions to flatten the organization and develop leaner business processes.

See note above re: resumes.

Culture change means we will do things differently. Often people think that means everyone other than them. In reality, it means all of us taking a new approach and working together to make Microsoft better. To this end, I’ve asked each member of the Senior Leadership Team to evaluate opportunities to advance their innovation processes and simplify their operations and how they work. We will share more on this throughout July.

Big layoffs by Thanksgiving.

A few months ago on a call with investors I quoted Nietzsche and said that we must have “courage in the face of reality.” Even more important, we must have courage in the face of opportunity.

+1 for quoting Nietzsche. -2 for quoting Nietzsche 3,000 words in. 

We have clarity in purpose to empower every individual and organization to do more and achieve more. We have the right capabilities to reinvent productivity and platforms for the mobile-first and cloud-first world. Now, we must build the right culture to take advantage of our huge opportunity. And culture change starts with one individual at a time.

Validate why you, ye lowly programmer, should continue to be employed by Microsoft. 

Rainer Maria Rilke’s words say it best: “The future enters into us, in order to transform itself in us, long before it happens.”

Want to get on Nadella’s good side? He obviously has a penchant for early 20th century German writers.

We must each have the courage to transform as individuals. We must ask ourselves, what idea can I bring to life? What insight can I illuminate? What individual life could I change? What customer can I delight? What new skill could I learn? What team could I help build? What orthodoxy should I question?

Big layoffs by Labor Day. 

With the courage to transform individually, we will collectively transform this company and seize the great opportunity ahead.

I wish you well, Mr. Nadella, and all of you (still) at Microsoft. 

Published by

Brian S Hall

Brian S Hall writes about mobile devices, crowdsourced entertainment, and the integration of cars and computers. His work has been published with Macworld, CNBC, Wall Street Journal, ReadWrite and numerous others. Multiple columns have been cited as "must reads" by AllThingsD and Re/Code and he has been blacklisted by some of the top editors in the industry. Brian has been a guest on several radio programs and podcasts.

126 thoughts on “Deconstructing Satya”

  1. Microsoft will always be around and their successes like Azure will serve them well. But Nadella gets paid very well to say nothing.

  2. Like Joe a very good article.

    Two thoughts for me. Performance excellence always has these two attributes present: laser focus (extreme clarity around priorities); and, the willing ability to work with relevant feedback.

    The fact that Nadella’s letter is so long is iam lost as to what the first high performance attribute is for Microsoft. Perhaps this will come clearer over the next few months.

    Feedback is always hardest for those who have exhibited tendencies towards hubris, and Microsoft’s culture has always given me this overwhelming sense of arrogance. High levels of confidence are useful, but, …

    One last thought: I actually think that Apple’s approach is empowering. My analogy is a country/society with clear laws and cultural norms such that people can just get on with living their lives and being effective and productive citizens. Social settings where these two conditions are weak are not particularly great places to be as there are necessary distractions that have to be always kept in mind (eg., privacy and security).


    1. “My analogy is a country/society with clear laws and cultural norms such that people can just get on with living their lives and being effective and productive citizens.”

      This is a very good point. The same people that are angry about Apple’s closed ecosystem (choice! they yell) are happy to be involved in all kinds of closed and regulated systems in their daily lives. Only when it comes to technology do they rant and rave about open! and choice! and freedom! And often they only yell and stomp their feet when it comes to Apple specifically.

  3. “I suspect Microsoft will soon become the GE of personal computing. Massive, always in flux, possessing an agile bureaucracy, driven less by product or business model and more by shrewdly financing initiatives which it can dominate.”

    Maybe GE is like this now but I worked at GE during the time it was doing time-sharing (known these days as “the cloud”), personal computing, etc. Your description does not fit the GE of that time, which is why GE borked one of the big opportunities. Such as email by 1970, worldwide networking by 1973, spreadsheets in 1975, etc etc. No – the mantra was profit and make-the-numbers. Just in case anyone wonders how early GE was to this, note that GE has the first class A address block, “3” (0, 1 and 2 have special purposes).

    Fortunately for Microsoft, I think it already has a better team than the GE senior management was at that time.

    1. Thanks for the comment. My thoughts on the future of Microsoft mirror my understanding of GE of today (and not a specific division). I think Microsoft’s size, assets and talents closely mirror GE and how it operates.

  4. “– Our cloud OS infrastructure, device OS and first-party hardware…
    — Our Windows device OS and first-party hardware…
    — In addition, we will build first-party hardware…”

    Sigh. I see an inherent conflict between selling hardware that competes with the people you are licensing software too and competes with the people you are trying to sell your services too. Most other seem to think that’s hunky-dory.

    Oh well, it’s as clear as clear can be that Microsoft is not going to be leaving the hardware business. And, in my lonely opinion, that’s too bad because that hardware is acting like an anchor, holding the ship of Microsoft back even as it unfurls the sails of its new services.

    Only time will tell if I am right or wrong and by the time the answer is clear, everyone will say that it was inevitable and they knew it all along.

    1. Apple has proven you can do hardware, software and services. Google is close to proving it again. But as I state, we still don’t know if Microsoft will prove this. With the possible exception of Apple, no one makes better mobile hardware than Nokia (not even Sony). So, they’ve got that going for them.

      1. “Apple has proven you can do hardware, software and services”

        Apple does hardware, software, operating systems, content and services. But their profit center is hardware. They don’t sell their software or their operating system (anymore and, in my opinion they never should have) and their content costs is driven by their content providers. In many ways, Apple might be better off if they charged a 0% commission for their apps, etc.

        What Microsoft is trying to do is sell hardware and make money, sell the software that powers that hardware and make money, sell the services that serves that hardware and software and make money. It’s a conflict of interest but they (and most others) don’t see it.

        “He who wants to do everything will never do anything.” ~ Andre Maurois

        1. Yes, but I’m not sure that’s a valid distinction. Microsoft could offer hardware to make money on services (e.g. Skype, Azure, Office, etc.), for example. The big three are all heavily involved in the entire ecosystem. Google seems the least interested in hardware, long-term, but even they offer Chromebooks, Chromecast and Nexus.

          1. In a razor-and-blade analogy, Apple’s blades are hardware, and their razors are software. They are competing asymmetrically with the rest of the industry.

            Google is following Microsoft’s old tactic of pushing the commoditization of hardware, but adding a twist by ALSO pushing commoditization of software and services. They skim value off the top of this by selling user’s attention and personal information to advertisers.

            Microsoft is now trying to sell all three of software, services, and hardware. What can and do they try to commoditize, now? The answer can’t be “nothing,” because the differential between commodity goods and a company’s non-commodity products is where the company’s value lies.

          2. Good analogy! Microsoft is trying to sell both the razor and the blades. And they’re trying to license the razor too! That may work if you’re a monopoly, but Microsoft is anything but.

          3. I don’t classify Chromecast as “hardware” perse, it’s more of an accessory to Chromebooks, and Android & iOS devices.
            The only hardware Google has really made to date is the Nexus line of devices but they treat that as more of a “hobby” since the vast majority of Android and Chrome OS devices are 3rd party.
            Google is not in the business of making money off of hardware or the OS. They make money through their cloud services and the acquisition of user data / information in order to generate more ad revenue. The problem with MS is they’re trying to be profitable by selling hardware, the OS, and the services on all platforms. That is a conflict of interest.

  5. “Dear tech bloggers: the ‘Microsoft is doomed’ stories are just stupid.”

    I dunno. Depends on how you look at if. If you’re saying that Microsoft is going to go bankrupt, then yes, that’s stupid. If what you’re really saying is that the days of Windows and Office monopoly are coming to an end — and for many that IS the very definition of who Microsoft is — then not only are your right, but you’re late to the party. Those days are long gone.

    1. I don’t see the Office monopoly coming to end anytime soon. Neither Google Docs or Apple iWork comes close to being a competitor for more than basic needs. Windows, on the other hand, it’s definitely possible that its dominance can (or will) fade, but that depends on now MS approaches it.

      1. But most people have only basic document needs. This creates a large market of non-Office users. When something better comes along (and the walled garden of every doc type from simple graphics, web standards, office, and every vertical market screams out for something more fluid), Microsoft will be in a poor position to respond to that change when they have lost the low-end market where change is most likely to come from.

        Unless Microsoft upends Office for something much better itself, which is unlikely while they try to learn new skills like hardware, and fight massive uphill battles of attrition likes mobile phones.

        If I was Microsoft CEO my #1 focus would be upending Office for a true seamlessly interconnected “doc” world, not “app” world. That would fit in with their office software assets, productivity focus, their enterprise customers, their cloud capabilities, their original platform-agnostic roots, but naturally extend to virtually everyone, everywhere.

        (This laser focus on docs would mean dropping 1st person hardware yesterday. No way will they revolutionize anything while they slog away at new hardware skills in markets already led by others.)

        1. Great idea. I think Apple has envisioned this but hasn’t been able to make it happen: it’s not about software or even applications, but functions and document types. This is Microsoft’s war to win or lose.

      1. This is true. I do not see why they continue to make Windows Phone 8 as Android can do the job that Windows Phone was created to solve. The only thing that the OEMs could end up saving is the patent payments that they would have to pay Microsoft for using Android. But from my perspective that is not enough of a reason to dump Android and move to Windows Phone. The apps just are not there on Windows Phone and more than likely will never be there.

        As for Microsoft being a Windows and Office only company I disagree. They do need to keep on course with making Office run on Android as well as iOS. In regards to Windows that is going to be harder and harder for them to sell to OEMs as more PC OEMs get out of the market and the margins keep on shrinking. They also have the popular XBox brand that they will keep going for now.

        1. “Microsoft will always be Windows and Office”

          You do know that Windows is trapped on an ever diminishing desktop platform, right? Microsoft will make a little less on Windows, then a little less then a LOT less. The day is coming sooner than people realize.

          1. 100% true. This is the real reason why WGA (Windows Genuine Advantage) was created. They are trying like hell to make it look like everything is ok with their sales but it is not. I have watched over the years as Microsoft has tightened their grip on the copies of their software. I also have seen this affect both their MSDN and TechNet subscriptions as well. Developers and IT people used to get more copies to test and learn on. No so anymore. Also the same is true with their OEM’s shipping CD’s and DVD’s with copies of Microsoft Windows and Office. While it is true that many people did not use the CD’s and DVD’s that came with their systems to repair their system there where many others that did. Microsoft claims that they have been doing all of this to combat piracy of their software and I am sure that is partly true but a side affect of these user hostile policy’s is to have users purchase software over and over again.

            Many users could get by just fine with an older copy of Microsoft Office on a new system that they have purchased but without the original media that is impossible. Then you also have situations where a users hard disk drive dies or they get malware or they want to have a clean load of the system without all of the bundled software that is pre-loaded with their system. Again, they are forced to purchase a new copy of Windows or pay rip off prices for restore media and have to wait for it to be shipped in the mail even if they have a really good high speed Internet connection.

            As you can see Microsoft has been the cause of a lot of pain and cost lots of money to be spent propping up a business model that is on the decline. From my prospective Peak Microsoft was in the 1990’s and early 2000’s but they have been the decline ever sense. They will have to face the fact that the days that they could dictate to the whole tech industry how things where going to be are over.

  6. “Microsoft will be the anti-Apple, delivering services and value to all, not just the world’s 10%.”

    “Both are worthy visions: Apple is more likely to garner passionate adherents, Microsoft is more likely to lift up all boats.”

    I dunno about that either. If you think that Apple is just for the 10%, look at the user interface on your PC. It’s directly descended from the original Mac. Look at every notebook computer. They all have charecteristics inherited from the PowerBook. Look at your phone or tablet. They’re iPhone and iPad clones. Perhaps only 10% or only 3% of the world will buy Apple’s products, but we all benefit from their advanced designs.

    Will Microsoft raise the water level and “lift all boats”? I don’t know. I need to know more. But if we’re looking for someone to lead the way, to blaze the trail, then, historically, Apple has been the guide to follow.

    1. Great point re Apple. Their smartphone market share is small but look how clearly they have influenced the share leader, Android. I should have addressed that above.

      1. My only real objection in this article is this:

        “The most user-friendly tech company in the world, Apple, emphasizes ecosystem over device, lock-in over empowerment.”

        I think this is wrong. Apple emphasizes great products over everything else. Part of making great products is owning the whole stack which inevitably means creating an ecosystem but this is an outcome not a driver of Apple’s strategy. The lock in is also because of Apple’s need to control the whole experience. It has benefits to their bottom line but it isn’t what drives the company.

        1. Apple does make great products, but ecosystem lock-in is a strategic choice. Google maps is generally superior. Making it harder to acquire content via non-iTunes store limits my choice. I don’t mean to single them out. Everyone does this.

          1. “ecosystem lock-in is a strategic choice”

            I would change that slightly to “ecosystem curation is a strategic choice”. Curation has many benefits for the end user. I’ve never once felt limited in my choices with any of Apple’s products. But I appreciate the added security and quality that comes with curation. This approach is the correct one, just as controlling the stack, ‘making the whole widget’, has been proven to be a successful strategy. I think it will become more and more obvious in the coming years that curation is incredibly valuable. I think we’re already seeing Google take cues from Apple on this front.

          2. “Apple does make great products, but ecosystem lock-in is a strategic choice”

            I haven’t thought this all the way through, but I’m not sure you can have cutting edge products without a vertical business model. If I’m right, and making the finest is one’s goal, then lock-in is a by-product, not an option.

          3. I agree with jamesdbailey in a sense. Ease or tightness of integration does not equal lock in. It has actually never been easier and less expensive to drop one ecosystem for another. I think any ecosystem challenge at this point is to make it easier to stay. Even when there were only PCs, not only was there $1000+ hardware that took up more than a desk (still trying to figure out how to get rid of some of that old stuff), but software that was worth anything ran $500+ per title. Changing ecosystems was no small task, logistically or monetarily. Changing from iOS to Android or Windows Phone these days is nothing.


          4. Interesting point. I haven’t looked into it enough but you may be correct re it’s never been less expensive to switch ecosystems. If so, that strikes me as a very big deal.

  7. Brian, sorry for the multiple comments. However, I didn’t want to leave unsaid what a nice job you did in breaking down Nadella’s article. Good article. Good job. Well done

        1. Yep. It was long and in typical Microsoft fashion a waste of time when it could have been said a lot better in a lot less words. I like what Jean-Louis Gassé take on it:

          He did a great job of boiling it down to 200 words. So it looks like Satya Nadella really needs a copy editor.

          This also makes me think back to how Steve Jobs would communicate and most of the time they where quite short and to the point. He knew that when you communicate it is important to make sure you get to the point and not waste time.

          1. The Monday note was good, but Brian’s deconstruction was witty. The cascading “Big layoffs by…” had me in stitches.


          2. I agree. Brian S Hall did a great job deconstructing it. The problem is that it should not have needed to be deconstructed in the 1st place. I agree, the “Big layoffs by…” part was great!

          3. Yes. This is true however Job’s “thoughts on Flash” did not need to be deconstructed as it was well written in a way that everyone could understand and not in management doublespeak. Steve Jobs was able to tell it like it is and he did not worry about upsetting Adobe over his thoughts. Steve knew that to be a leader you have to lead and you are going to upset some people. For Satya Nadella, he is new and more than likely is taking it slow. It all depends on how Microsoft’s board feels about him and how bold he can be.

  8. Brilliant. Thanks for the break down of the memo, I don’t think I could have gotten through it on my own.

  9. Nadella: “We will invest so that Windows is the most secure, manageable and capable OS for the : needs of a modern workforce and IT.”
    Microsoft has never been able to accomplish these results before, so where will the company get the focus and vision required to accomplish this goal?

    Microsoft will naturally execl (get it?) in some things, simply by the laws of chance. But in my opinion its best hope is duplicating products nearly as good as competitors offer, and hoping that its longstanding ties to corporate and government IT departments (and execs) will permit it to retain a strong market share.  Maybe that will happen, but it will be many months before anyone knows. Feverish activity in the workshop before obtaining feedback from independent, critical customers spending their own money does not equal success.

    The writer, Brian Hall, says that Microsoft will become more like GE. Perhaps. But right now it is more like GM of 10-20 years ago: big and profitable, and without a clue. GM had lots of CEO changes between the coming of Japanese automakers in the 35 years leading up to its bankruptcy in 2008, but none of them changed the culture in a major way — or even tried, as far as I can tell.  But they all made good speeches extolling their products and describing their plans.

    I am from Missouri on this one: Show me.

    1. As a Detroiter, I can tell you that while GM may not have had a clue (debatable), they were greatly limited in their response by massive debt and an un-sustainable cost structure. As I wrote above, “big layoffs” are coming to Microsoft. That’s obvious to anyone who pokes through Nadella’s many words. So, perhaps Microsoft’s cost structure will limit their response. But, they have billions in the bank, unlike GM. They have options.

      1. You mention that Microsoft has “billions in the bank, unlike GM. They have options.”

        For 30+ years after the Japanese invasion (mid-’70s), GM had billions of dollars in the bank and lots of options. In fact, it probably had more money (inflation-adjusted) and more options than Microsoft does today. But GM execs simply didn’t use those resources to produce cars that consumers considered superior to foreign cars at comparable or lower prices. Here’s another sign that dollars are only incidental to genuine innovation: Apple spent only a few hundred million dollars and a relatively small staff creating the original iPhone.

        So I think we see the process in a different light. Billions in the bank permitted GM execs to continue doing more or less what they had always done. You mention layoffs in the article numerous times and also in your comment immediately above. I am not impressed that Nadella plans to make layoffs, even if they’re big ones. GM went through numerous rounds of plant closings and layoffs, too. Sooner or later, bad managers are always forced to make layoffs. The question is what comes next.

        Ponder this: Nadella came to Microsoft at age 24 and has been there for 22-years — i.e., pretty much his entire adult life. And he evidently fit pretty well into the Microsoft culture; otherwise he wouldn’t have risen through the ranks (but he did), or might have left the company seek a career in a more entrepreneurial, customer-focused company (but he didn’t). That’s not the normal career path for an agent of change.

        A true agent of change, Steve Jobs, left the company he founded (and sold all of his stock) rather than follow the lead of the company’s know-nothing CEO. After leaving Apple, he started another computer company that all but failed, developed a new operating system that eventually became OSX, and got in on the ground floor of new animation company that (silently) took over Walt Disney. After that, he went on to bigger and better things.

        It has been decades since GM has made better cars or been more focused than it is today. Its 2008-2009 bankruptcy created conditions conducive for the improvements by throwing out top management and forcing those who remained to change their way of doing business. To generate genuine change at Microsoft, perhaps Nadella should pay out 100% of the company’s cash horde to shareholders and force employees to reinvent the company Apple-style (1998).

        I can express this mathematically: Necessity = Mother of invention. A starvation diet, not a pile of cash and another new plan from an inbred exec, may be the only thing that can save Microsoft from irrelevancy.

  10. As I was reading this, I was not sure what was serious, and what was sarcasm… However, one item from this I was amused to read.
    ” We will invest so that Windows is the most secure, manageable and capable OS for the needs of a modern workforce and IT.
    – Nadella will not cede one organization to Google Docs and not allow a single corporation to let iPhone, iPad or BYOD to loosen its grip on the enterprise. This will be a bloody fight. I can’t wait. ”
    If only because I just read this article: (SemiAccurate)
    ” We don’t feel the need to sugarcoat this much, because the company’s behavior is so blatant and uncaring it is almost staggering[…]What are we talking about? Windows 7, Windows 8, and security. Microsoft has been putting out OSes that are both unsecurable and known vulnerable because it makes them more money[…]Fixing their security problems would cost them quite a bit of sales so they simply do not make the attempt to fix any of the gaping systemic design problems[…]they knew there was a problem, had a fix, and did not apply it[…]In short no one believes Microsoft’s BS anymore, from the consumer to enterprise, no one will risk their careers on Redmond’s promises anymore. ”

    It may well be bloody, but it may not be much of a fight. Turning around that Culture…? Good luck.
    I wouldn’t be putting any of my own money[stock options] on it if I were you Nadella.

  11. Mobile > Devices > PC (Windows Everywhere)
    Cloud > Services > Office (Office Everywhere)

    Sounds pretty much the same to me!

  12. “Microsoft will be the anti-Apple, delivering services and value to all, not just the world’s 10%.”

    They already do that. It’s called a Windows PC.

    Sounds pretty much the same to me!

  13. “people want to maintain separate, if porous, fiefdoms”

    I agree with you completely on this. The key word is: separate. Misunderstanding this is Microsoft’s Achilles heel. I don’t think Microsoft is able as a company to change this view. As long as this is the case, Apple will monopolize “personal” computing.

    1. Agree. Touched on it above but one day may write more on this. I think, despite all the comments above;-) that this is the real Microsoft achilles heel, assuming we welcome the merger of our home and work spheres.

  14. “Microsoft is more likely to lift up all boats”

    This is what ONLY Microsoft can do and they do it well. Although I am a strong Apple adherent I hope Microsoft succeeds with Nadella’s vision. Microsoft and Apple are no longer head-to-head competitors. It is no longer a “zero-sum game” between them. They recognize that Google is their mutual competitor.

    1. This “only Microsoft” line rings a bit hollow deeply phony and self-important, even before today’s Apple-IBM joint offering. Why don’t Oracle, Salesforce, SAP, IBM, HP, Dell, IBM, Amazon and oh-so-many others deserve any credibiity for all the work they do in making users more productive?

  15. “Can an applications, services and infrastructure company also do great hardware? I have my doubts”

    Microsoft dug the hole they are in much deeper with the Nokia acquisition. This is perhaps Ballmer’s biggest mistake (among many). This acquisition will be a heavy drag on Nadella as he implements his vision.

    1. “Nokia is perhaps Ballmer’s biggest mistake”

      Here’s the thing. The Microsoft board was opposed to it but THEY LET HIM DO IT ANYWAY. Then they shoved him out the door. That’ gross stupidity. They should all resign, every one.

      1. I agree about Microsoft’s board. If you look at their resumes none of them have done anything importing in a long time.

  16. “Platforms empower the maker, not the user”

    Joni Ive has Apple on the right track by pushing the platform as far out of view as possible. To Microsoft it is all about the platform. I doubt they can ever change this mindset.

  17. ““Microsoft experiences” sounds no better than, say, a visit to the dentist”

    Again this is an example of Microsoft’s blindness to reality. It is this “Microsoft experience” that has driven hundreds of millions to Apple (and Android) to ESCAPE this experience.

    1. Thats exactly right. Plenty of people have been burned by the “Microsoft Experience” and are not going back. Microsoft has had 2 decades to fix fundamental flaws in Windows and their sales model that is hostile to end users. Those that can afford to do so are leaving in droves.

  18. “Privacy, privacy, security”

    This is Tim Cook’s new mantra. Only Apple can provide all of this to any user. Microsoft has a horrible track record on platform security and privacy is not in Google’s dictionary. Apple’s track record on privacy and security cannot be matched.

    1. Did I steal that line from Tim Cook? I thought I made it up.
      I do think Apple is great at these but their business model appears to limit them to no more than about, say, 20% of the smartphone, tablet and laptop markets.

  19. “Dear tech bloggers: the ‘Microsoft is doomed’ stories are just stupid”

    Yes they are VERY stupid. Microsoft will succeed at Nadella’s vision. The only question is how much.

    1. Microsoft has poured something like $10 billion into Win Phone over the past few years, only to lose more money each year.

      “Succeeding” is NOT about losing less money, it’s about building a product that enough customers want enough that they’ll give you their money (and maybe, their eyeballs, although methinks Bing ALSO won’t add much profitability).

      Microsoft cannot expect to start getting a payback on those billions tomorrow, but it will have to see a path towards payback, before it can continue to pump money into the product. Almost certainly, a large fraction of the $600 million/year that Microsoft said it’d wring out of its Nokia acquisition will be a few thousand employees, but I expect they’ll still make investments / endure losses of another couple of billion per year, until they succeed or declare it a valiant, but eventually Zune-like effort.

      Personally, I can’t see how it works out for them, even as well as Xbox, which was a money sink for years before it started returning more than the cost of carrying it. But then, I looked at VisiCalc early on and couldn’t see why anybody able to afford and use a computer would want such a primitive programming tool.

      I called out WinPhone by name. But this applies to exactly every one of Microsoft’s lines. Office is a big money-maker, but that’s a very nice payback for work that goes back to the early 80s; Nadella hasn’t made the case to me that advanced Microsoft tech will make it even MORE valuable and not just retain customers, but expand Microsoft’s ability to earn from it. Ditto for every other product.

    2. “Microsoft will succeed at Nadella’s vision”

      I’m a big fan of Nadella and I’m wishing him well. But if he has a vision, he just wrote 3,100 words and didn’t bother to express it.

  20. “The most user-friendly tech company in the world, Apple, emphasizes ecosystem over device, lock-in over empowerment.”

    Brian, what are you smoking?

    What iOS lock-in? Apps are empowerment. Ben Evans did a great post showing the default templates in Mac OSX MS Excel. Every default template has a free or $.99-5 app on iOS and Android. Most people never need xcel

    Privacy and security is always something Apple has always done better than MS.

    Lock-in? MS want the user to buy Windows and Office, otherwise you can never be productive?

    Find me a Omnifocus equivalent on all MS OSes.

  21. The author totally called it “Big layoffs by Christmas.” Top story on CNN right now is the Microsoft layoff.

    1. Right? Now I feel bad for laughing so hard. The bulk of those layoffs are in Nokia, though. Sucks to be the acquired. Always, every time.


  22. Microsoft retains its dominant position as supplier of OS for most of the world’s business PCs. Apple is gaining some marketshare, although a lot more mindshare. The old saw “Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM” has merely been updated to “Nobody ever got fired for buying Microsoft”. And we well know where that has led.

    But the tipping point is coming, and Windows 8 has only accelerated it. Windows is no longer the “safe, default” choice although it is the most common. The consequences of hackery are weighing heavy in Redmond yet no-one there seems to notice. If they do, it doesn’t show.

    The only thing that Microsoft has going for it in this regard is that Linux has so far been too fragmented and too difficult for most non-IT organizations. That is changing and sooner or later the tip-over will come.

    Microsoft could pay some attention and build a new, better OS to succeed the current Windows line. Maybe they’ve already started such an effort. But cycles of routine revisions to the existing base will be like water circling a drain.

    Microsoft has to face the fact that it’s not possible to fix Windows as it exists. It will be replaced. Either by MS or someone else. They better hurry up and decide.

  23. Thank you Brian for this insightful article. On a normal day I use Windows (I have been using Windows since 1992: Windows 3.1), Linux (since 2007) and Android (since 2010). I finds Windows XP, and Windows 7 fast and stable, and I love using the MS Word, Excell and Powerpoint.

    And yet, Can Microsoft make the switch? Microsofts’ strategy was not “make great product for users so that they buy those” but “let’s keep our clients locked in and milk them” (although some programs are really fine). In the past, only few companies did a successful U-turn.

    And look at the competition: Google is the master of technical innovation and services. “Make everything searchable and accessible from any device that has a browser” is more or less there motto. Apple is the master of usability and devices. “Make working with it a pleasure, build a beautiful integrated world” so to speak.

    What is or was Microsoft’s forte? To date, the emphasis is on making closed standards (such as .doc or .pst,) fighting open standards (such as WebRTC), bogus patents to fight newcomers (exFAT patent against Android), using market power to kill potential competitors (like BeOS). This resulted in a myriad of licenses, there are even special trainings for purchase departments to learn the difference in these licenses. The goal is to sell the maximum number of licences. Therefore programs like Outlook or Windows itself don’t have a language pack (heck, only the buttons and help texts must be translated!), no, the client must buy new versions for every language…. . Basically, this is an “anti-end user” stance.

    Now let’s put some of Mr Nadella’s words to the test:

    “We live in a mobile-first and cloud-first world.”
    – now please let me use Outlook Web Access through Chromium on Linux, without me having the user agent lie that it’s Firefox. Also, a few words of excuse for the standard-raping IE6 would be welcome.

    “….more than 3 billion people with Internet-connected devices – from a farmer in a remote part of the world with a smartphone….”
    – so please stop sabotaging interoperability with affordable (open source) software. Thanks!

    “We will create more natural human-computing interfaces that empower all individuals.
    – can they out-Apple Apple? reaaaalllyyy ??

    “Microsoft was founded on the belief that technology creates opportunities for people and organizations to express and achieve their dreams by putting a PC on every desk and in every home.”
    – NO

    “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.”
    – Doubtful. In what aspects is Microsoft’s (paid) MSQ database better or more “empowering” than PostgreSQL or MariaDB?
    – And why do I actually need a Windows7 or 8 machine, with IE, Outlook, the MS Office Suite AND a local program called Sharepoint Designer, to make a nice (or rather, reasonable) looking web page? Where every other CMS in the world just needs any pc with any OS and any browser ? What is so productive and empowering about that?

    “Empowered to do more and achieve more with what is becoming an increasingly scarce commodity… time!” – OK, so Microsoft makes software that saves time? Brilliant. I mean, all the competitors say their software will only cost lots of time, right? Oh wait….

    “Productivity for us goes well beyond documents, spreadsheets and slides. We will reinvent productivity for people who are swimming in a growing sea of devices, apps, data and social networks. We will build the solutions… ”
    – so why does Microsoft till this very day make exchanging information with non-microsoft software deliberately hard? From emails, to documents (doxc->odt), to calendar and contact info: “the software ain’t done ’till Lotus won’t run” still seems to be the motto…

    “…first-party hardware”
    – So, are you going to compete with your partners? How do your partners think of that? Acer, Samsung?

    Anyway: exiting times! I don’t think Microsoft is going away. It’s a large behemoth, very well funded, with loyal corporate customers. I do think they will have to find a new, more humble role.. let’s see how it turns out!

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