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Jonny Evans: Microsoft, the wallflower

Jonny Evans | Feb. 6, 2014
The choice of Satya Nadella as CEO suggests that the consumer-market party is over for the company, as it turns its attention to the unglamorous world of infrastructure.

That opens the door to things like Office for iPads and SharePoint for Android.

This new Microsoft will shake things up, though it will all be happening down in the infrastructure depths where most of the world won't notice. But if your company is in the business of providing services at the high end of infrastructure deployments -- to server and network providers, for example -- you'd better watch your back. Microsoft under Nadella will also be looking to deliver tools for network intelligence and 4G, for billing, for biometric optical surveillance systems, and for smart cities and smart meters.

It already plays in these sectors, but now it's going to become more intense about its game.

This is all perfectly rational. Microsoft knows that it has forever lost its position in the consumer markets. And in a way, this move is a way to escape from its largest competitors, Google and Apple, which have shown no interest in the sectors Microsoft is headed toward.

A rational strategy, as I said, just not an interesting one.

Microsoft could have made one last stab at the world's more buoyant markets, perjaps by hiring a wild card as CEO. But, since "wild" isn't a word that's ever been associated with Microsoft, it isn't terribly surprising that it is instead pulling into itself and pursuing a safer course. It is ironic, though, that as it ends the era of Gates' leadership, it seems to be reflecting his withdrawn-geek credentials by making like the shy houseguest and slinking off to the cloakroom.


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