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Microsoft’s New CEO Needs An Editor | Monday Note

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saving this link for the chart on selling a vision to your team

That's a good chart!

As I puzzled over the public email Microsoft’s new CEO sent to his troops, Nicolas Boileau’s immortal dictum came to mind:

Whatever is well conceived is clearly said, And the words to say it flow with ease.

Clarity and ease are sorely missing from Satya Nadella’s 3,100 plodding words, which were supposed to paint a clear, motivating future for 127,000 Microsoftians anxious to know where the new boss is leading them.

I'm with the author of this post. I have no idea what the Microsoft CEO just said.

Stashed this in LinkedIn yesterday.  No wonder he's vague.

“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,” Nadella wrote. And it’s here where Microsoft has the opportunity to catch up. Many companies have a good sense of where the Internet is taking us. Much fewer will thrive there, and the ones that do understand that it’s less a matter of the technology you offer than the attention that people pay to it.

That acknowledgment is a shift that may be without precedent in a company that built its success by forcing its technology into PCs through brute force. Nadella sounds less convincing when he talks about bringing “the core” of Microsoft into this future. The suggestion that Microsoft has “a rich heritage and a unique capability around building productivity experiences and platforms” quite simply erases the controversial practices that led to antitrust issues and made Microsoft an enemy to Silicon Valley.


In time, that won’t just mean creating new productivity experiences and platforms that can compete with the best that others can offer, it will mean cutting the deadwood left behind. And that will mean a lot of layoffs of employees who don’t fit in to Nadella’s brave new world – not just the job cuts expected in the integration of Nokia, but deeper cuts in areas close to the core of Microsoft’s traditional strongholds.

If Nadella can achieve his vision for a new Microsoft, it will mean embracing other operating systems in a way that was unthinkable at Microsoft even five years ago. But it’s also doubtful that the 127,000 employees now at the company will have a role to play in that future Microsoft.

Apple makes great devices.

Amazon makes great commerce and cloud services.

Google makes great search and cloud services.

Microsoft makes ???

In today’s Internet industry, it makes less sense to dominate – or even define yourself inside – a single industry. Get big enough at creating software, like Google and Microsoft did, and you find yourself making devices. Become a commerce behemoth, as Amazon did, and you’re offering cloud services. The more technology converges, the more the giants find themselves up in each other’s business.

The common denominator of success these days is getting more people to use your software/gadget/service ecosystem. Over the past decade, Microsoft has been getting much better at doing this in the enterprise market, even as it’s struggled on the consumer side. When people knock Ballmer as a CEO, this is the part they overlook: Ballmer began the transition Nadella is talking about by making Microsoft a strong competitor in business software.

To complete that transition, however, Microsoft needs to remake some of its core products. Instead of relying on Windows for PCs, Microsoft will need to come up with a mobile OS better than Windows Phone today – an intelligent interface that new offerings like Cortana or Power Q&A are already hinting at. Pushing Office 365 toward its potential will mean abandoning the Office suites that have long been a cash cow. If casual games continue to sideline the graphic-intensive games on the Xbox, it may mean rethinking Microsoft’s entertainment division.

i'm confused.


Want more?  Second and third sentences:

The partnership is also sure to put more pressure on Microsoft, which is making its own push into cloud and mobile services for enterprise clients.

That software giant is at the first stage of what CEO Satya Nadella recently said will be a transformation away from selling software. The company also launched a version of its office software for Apple's iPad earlier in the year.

It doesn't seem like a new vision for Microsoft, other than a willingness to embrace iPad.