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Microsoft's future under Nadella less about Windows, more about mobile and cloud

Joab Jackson | July 17, 2014
The company is moving away from its past devotion to its OS.

Microsoft's future will be less devoted to its Windows operating system as it continues to push into mobile and cloud services, CEO Satya Nadella said, using his keynote speech at the Worldwide Partner Conference to talk about where the company is headed.

"We are the company and the ecosystem that will build productivity experiences and platforms for the mobile-first, cloud first-world," he said Wednesday at the WPC in Washington, D.C. "We will reinvent productivity for the new generation. We will empower every individual and organization to achieve more. That is our singular mission."

Achieving that goal may not always rely on Windows, he said.

WPC is the conference where Microsoft rallies its thousands of business partners, who sell customized Microsoft-based systems to enterprises across many different industries. Microsoft, which relies on partners for significant enterprise sales, uses WPC to inform them of its plans, as well as to talk about the company's vision of where information technology is heading.

Nadella took over the CEO role from Steve Ballmer in February and has wasted no time readjusting the company's mission to meet new market pressures.

While Ballmer stressed the need to have Windows across different devices, Nadella maintained in his keynote speech that Microsoft now is chiefly focused on providing products and services from the cloud and for a wide range of devices.

"You have to think of this next generation of computing as mobile first, cloud first, and our goal, simply put, is to thrive in it as an ecosystem," Nadella said.

Microsoft is in a unique position because it can harmonize the needs of organizations, individuals and developers through its services and software, he said.

"We're going to get very focused on building out these digital work and life experiences," Nadella said. "It's not multiple strategies, it's one core that represents the best of what we have."

Microsoft will continue to refine its software and services, such as for email or collaboration, but look for ways they can be combined to offer more value and used across multiple devices, whatever their operating system, he said.

"We are going to have our experiences on all platforms. On every home screen out there, our aim is to have one or more Microsoft icons. Anyone can enter from any device into our ecosystem," Nadella said.

The same hardware and software is useful in personal life and business, he said, addressing the larger bring-your-own-device trend.

Microsoft appears to be pursuing a goal similar to that of Apple and IBM, which announced a partnership Tuesday through which iPhones and iPads will be equipped with enterprise software and cloud services developed by IBM. Microsoft will offer a "control plane," or a core set of enterprise services such as data security, identity management, and device management, that can be run on multiple devices, Nadella said.

 

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