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Microsoft changes its tune

Chris Player | Nov. 26, 2015
The real change happening at the tech company, in recent years, is in the way it talks about itself.

Microsoft Australia director developer experience & evangelism, Sarah Vaughan, demonstrated the vendor's shift in messaging at Microsoft Ignite 2015
Microsoft Australia director developer experience & evangelism, Sarah Vaughan, demonstrated the vendor's shift in messaging at Microsoft Ignite 2015.

Microsoft has gone through a period of considerable change in the past few years. Since the company’s founder, Bill Gates, left the company in 2008, it has begun a process of reinvention that has seen it shift from an on-premises software focussed company, to a Cloud and hardware vendor. But this is not the shift we are talking about.

The real change happening at the tech company, in recent years, is in the way it talks about itself, its products and offerings, and the context in which it frames that conversation.

The company’s recent Ignite 2015 conference on the Gold Coast was where Microsoft’s messaging really hit a tipping point as IBRS advisor, Joe Sweeney, explained.

“The message has been changing for the past two years or so, but that change has really started to come to fruit, this was the first time we saw a stick in the ground and a major transformation in the messaging,” he said.

“In the past, Microsoft would have launched by saying here are all our new products and look at what they can do for you and here are all the widgets, the market no longer thinks like that. Some techies think like that, but that is not who is buying technology now, a lot of the spend is being much more controlled by business.

“What they said [at Ignite 2015] is, here are a bunch of problems Australia is facing, here are the type of businesses we need to be embracing, here are the types of problems those businesses will solve. Here is how Microsoft is helping people solve it, here are some of the products we have that will do that and here are the new advances in those products,” he said.

“They have taken you from literally a business priority to here’s how we can help you with that solution, and that is a far more sophisticated sales strategy than Microsoft has had for about ten years."

Gartner research director, Michael Warrilow, said for several years, Microsoft has been trying to frame its position in terms of a smaller set of solutions: consumer, Cloud and mobile.

“Microsoft’s portfolio was too complicated and far too product or offering–centric,” he explained.

When asked about Microsoft’s increased emphasis on its Cloud platform and if it was a reaction to the success of competitors like AWS, Warrilow claimed he was not convinced.

 

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