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7/11/2014
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Nadella Charts Microsoft's Future: 5 Key Points

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella distances himself from predecessor Ballmer's vision, pins company's future on a "mobile-first, cloud-first" agenda.

Surface and Xbox are worthwhile. "At times we'll develop new categories like we did with Surface," Nadella said, implying Microsoft isn't looking to compete with partners so much as guide or motivate them. Online rumors of a fitness-oriented Microsoft smartwatch have been on the rise over the last few weeks, so Nadella might show off a "new category" sooner rather than later.

As for the Xbox, Nadella said, "The single biggest digital life category, measured in both time and money spent, in a mobile-first world is gaming." He said Microsoft will continue to vigorously support and develop the Xbox line, and pointed out how Skype, Kinect, and Azure development completed for Xbox has benefited other products, such as Windows.

4. Nadella feels Microsoft can only innovate if it changes its culture.
Microsoft was already in the middle of a company-wide reorg when Nadella ascended to the top job, and based on his letter, he's ready to begin making adjustments of his own. "Nothing is off the table in how we think about shifting our culture to deliver on [our] core strategy," he wrote, adding, "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."

Tech website Gigaom recently reported, citing unnamed sources, that Microsoft might lay off as much as 10% of its workers, so Nadella's statements might make some Microsoft employees uneasy -- especially the 25,000 or so Nokia workers who just joined the company.

Nadella wants to do more than trim the ranks, however. "I truly believe that we spend far too much time at work for it not to drive personal meaning and satisfaction."

To make Microsoft's culture more rewarding and innovative, corporate bureaucracy must be replaced by better communication and collaboration, Nadella declared. He also promised better training resources, and that employees looking to change roles within the company will have more options to do so. Nadella repeatedly said Microsoft employees must use data and a "customer-obsessed" attitude to make decisions, adding "You will see fewer people get involved in decisions and more emphasis on accountability."

5. Nadella spoke broadly, but promised specifics soon.
Aside from the aforementioned, Nadella's letter mostly reiterated talking points from his appearances earlier this year. He name-dropped Delve, Cortana, and other products that demonstrate his concept of "ambient intelligence" and "ubiquitous computing." He said mobility isn't about devices but rather experiences that should translate seamlessly across devices. He talked about tech's disrespect for tradition, and the challenges Microsoft will have to overcome in order to innovate.

Most of this discussion was general, if not vague. But Nadella promised by the end of the month to share more details about the "engineering and organization changes we believe are needed." He and other Microsoft execs will have several chances to do so, starting Monday with the company's Worldwide Partner Conference in Washington, D.C. On July 22, the company will announce earnings for the past quarter, and its Global Exchange conference starts the same day in Atlanta.

InformationWeek's new Must Reads is a compendium of our best recent coverage of the Internet of Things. Find out the way in which an aging workforce will drive progress on the Internet of Things, why the IoT isn't as scary as some folks seem to think, how connected machines will change the supply chain, and more (free registration required).

Michael Endler joined InformationWeek as an associate editor in 2012. He previously worked in talent representation in the entertainment industry, as a freelance copywriter and photojournalist, and as a teacher. Michael earned a BA in English from Stanford University in 2005 ... View Full Bio

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VB6 programming
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VB6 programming,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/19/2014 | 11:54:39 AM
Open source the VB6 programming language
18,000 layoffs. Who would now choose to use Microsoft development tools ?  They may not exist next week or next month.

Satya Nadella must reply to the open letter requesting the open sourcing of the VB6 programming language.  He should open source Visual Basic 6 immediately, while there is still time.

 

 
moarsauce123
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moarsauce123,
User Rank: Ninja
7/13/2014 | 7:52:48 AM
Only developers should test code
Nadella also suggests that dedicated QA will go away. There will only be developers that write and test code and applications. That alone shows that Nadella is totally clueless! QA requires a very specific skill set that I have yet to find in most developers I worked with. The total attention to detail and always thinking about what could happen rather than what should happen is a quality that only experienced testers bring to the table. Yes, QA needs to know how coding works and at times needs to code as well for automation, but that is a different ball of yarn and one that can be very much abstracted.

Maybe Nadella thinks that applying patches for patches that patched something is 'productivity'. As if Microsoft can get away with delivering even worse quality than they already have. If anything, they need more testing and above all more user advocates that are taken seriously.
anon2140566722
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anon2140566722,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/12/2014 | 1:30:20 PM
Re: Play to your strengths
I would recommend that MS enter the "cloud" arena gingerly. The cloud will have some usage but it will never be all encompassing nor ubiquitous. The overwhelming concerns over privacy, security, reliability and accessibility will continue to haunt the cloud and more so down the road. The cloud is a hackers wet dream. With laptops coming with TB hard drives, TB memory sticks (are available), why would I want to use the cloud? Internet speeds vary considerably across the land and upload speeds remain very poor for most. Data plans are becoming more and more expensive and net neutrality is gone. I for one, will continue to run locally as I always have.
anon2140566722
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anon2140566722,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/12/2014 | 1:18:56 PM
Nadella and MS future
I recommend highly that the new CEO wake up and soon. Many businesses and users will NOT flock to the "cloud" nor Office 365. MS blew it with Millenium, Vista and now Win 8. You would think they would learn from history. Even though XP is still being used, the most predominant Windows operating system is Win 7 Pro and Enterprise. I have yet to encounter anyone upgrading to Win 8. Hello. I would hope that MS is putting some careful thought into Win 9. Most larger businesses, corporations, professionals, power users and high end gamers are out there waiting to see what direction MS will take. I would recommend strongly that MS Office Pro remain available for individual/company purchase. There are too many instances where having to be connected (Azure & Office 365) is out of the question or simply not an option. MS needs to get back to its roots and rebuild from there. No one can be all things to everyone. And stiffle that fool from Nokia as there is NO post PC era. Reminds me of Tami Reller, Ballmer's Ex VP who said the "future was the touch screen". Right away faux tech writers predicted the demise of the keyboard and mouse. Hasn't happened.
Darkpr0fit
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Darkpr0fit,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/12/2014 | 12:32:15 PM
Re: Play to your strengths
Right now that is exactly what Microsoft should do. Its future lies in the areas it performs well in, namely support and software. Too many companies try to wade in all fields, and compete with every technology and company in the market. A good example of this is hp. Ballmer tried too hard to spread out Microsoft into all areas only to thin it out. This business practice hurt Microsoft.
JohnM587
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JohnM587,
User Rank: Strategist
7/12/2014 | 9:25:12 AM
Re: Trying Too Hard?
Indeed Nadella is fumbling around aimlessly in highly competitive race to the bottom non consumer pricing commodity product categories. We all know Microsoft has long lost the consumer market. This is definitely the end of Microsoft profitability. I guarantee you that heads will roll after Q4 results. Nadella was strictly hired to be the fall guy. If you own this stock you'd better sell really quick.
JohnM587
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JohnM587,
User Rank: Strategist
7/12/2014 | 9:25:04 AM
Re: Trying Too Hard?
Indeed Nadella is fumbling around aimlessly in highly competitive race to the bottom non consumer pricing commodity product categories. We all know Microsoft has long lost the consumer market. This is definitely the end of Microsoft profitability. I guarantee you that heads will roll after Q4 results. Nadella was strictly hired to be the fall guy. If you own this stock you'd better sell really quick.
Charlie Babcock
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Charlie Babcock,
User Rank: Author
7/11/2014 | 6:24:02 PM
Escaping the Apple envy
Satya Nadella is trying to build on Microsoft's existing strength in the enterprise data center and its own cloud data centers, as well as in devices and on the desktop. This is much smarter than just succumbing to Apple-envy. Ballmer with his preoccupation with touch in Windows 8 and Surface seemed to have a very severe case. 
Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
7/11/2014 | 4:10:32 PM
Re: Play to your strengths
If Microsoft retreats from hardware, that's good news for Apple. Apple will remain the only vertically integrated consumers hardware, software, and services platform company. And it will have an easier time defending its turf as a result.
Shane M. O'Neill
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Shane M. O'Neill,
User Rank: Author
7/11/2014 | 2:54:01 PM
Play to your strengths
Though the message is still pretty vague, it sounds like the beginning of the end for Microsoft's efforts at attracting consumers through hardware. Good thing. Ballmer was chasing a ghost there. Nadella realizes Microsoft needs to really zero in on its strengths: software, the cloud, and the enterprise.
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