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Satya Nadella: 6 Must-Do's For Microsoft's New CEO
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rradina
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rradina,
User Rank: Ninja
2/7/2014 | 12:32:36 PM
Re: 500 lb gorilla in the room
Microsoft is already at risk on the client side.  We've been here before.  I lived through the PC revolution and all the naysayers who said "real work" gets done on the mainframe or minicomputer (i.e. green screen).  For those that say "real work" isn't done on the iPad, hogwash.  It's a human interface problem, not the fact that "real work" cannot be done on the iPad.  Someone sells a POS system for the iPad -- no, not just a simple Square payment device, a fully grown POS.  Sure, it sticks an iPad in a frame attached to a cash drawer but that's the "human interface" issue.  The iPad Air is dangerously close enough to having the power to do all that a laptop does.  The only difference is the human interface and that's easily solved.  Many companies now develop "mobile first" and guess what's first ... the iPad.

Regarding the enterprise, most folks could care less what runs HTTP JSON Web Services.  Windows, Linux, Unix, Mainframe CICS, AS400.  The only thing that matters is does it work and what does it cost.

Databases -- SQL Server has legs but in 10 years, will we care what the RDBMS "service" is that we use?

E-mail -- Exchange has legs but in 10 years, do we care whether or not our tablet e-mail/calendar app connects to Google, Yahoo, Lotus Notes, Exchange or Outlook.com?

Microsoft's enterprise data center penetration came from everyone using their client and the subsequent realization that the client did more and was easier to manage if they combined it with other MS products.  By owning the client and the server, MS has been extremely successful.  They may have already lost the client which allows others to dictate policy to server room.  Customers and staff want their stuff to work.  They don't care what it takes to make it work.

If Apple suddenly shifted their iPad Exchange compatibilities, would folks get rid of their iPad, get rid of Exchange or look for an app that made it work?  It's pretty safe to say that they are not going to get rid of the iPad when other LOB apps only work with the iPad.  They'll probably find an app.  However, if that app works better with Google, you see where this goes...  This same logic exists for why Windows has legs.  So many LOB apps require Windows.  Is there a tipping point at which many of those apps are rewritten for the iPad?  Right now iPad uses Citrix to access desktop capabilities but if they can run those capabilities locally, why do they need to license all that Microsoft stuff?

Microsoft will lose their competitive edge if they lose the end-customer to other devices.  They have to win it back or at least level the playing field by retaining a lot of it.  Otherwise they risk becoming similar to IBM.  However, IBM was primarily a hardware company.  Microsoft is primarily a software company.
petey
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petey,
User Rank: Strategist
2/7/2014 | 8:47:38 AM
Re: 500 lb gorilla in the room
With all due respect, won't happen. If open source was going to kill MS it would have already happened. MS biggest concern going forward is growing profitably. They are addressing this by investing in several areas--phones, cloud, tabs with games being xtra. They don't have to dominate any of these areas to be successful. They just need to execute to plan.
rradina
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rradina,
User Rank: Ninja
2/6/2014 | 7:51:23 PM
Re: 500 lb gorilla in the room
Services yes, licensing software, no.  Software is headed for open source.  Open source platforms and middleware are good enough and it's becoming harder to justify big annual license fees.  However, selling services backed by closed source still works since the costs are baked in to the overall cost...as long as you are reasonably competitive with others who sell similar services backed by open source.  Likewise Office 365 is the future too but eventually competitors might be good enough to drive margins down ... to the point where it might not be feasible to cover the closed source costs.  The same could happen to the other services.  That's why they are trying to get into devices.  They are tangible and will never be completely free like where other software might be headed.  If you can differentiate the software and services on your own devices, that might be enough to keep reasonable margins.

Unlike Caterpillar, I don't think MS can just keep improving office or Windows.  At some poinnt there won't be any margin because of the low barrier to entry by competitors who can start with OSS alternatives and build a competitive service with minimal cost.  Because software is virtual, there's no expensive assembly line and manufacturing processes to duplicate.  Billions can use the same source for free.
rradina
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rradina,
User Rank: Ninja
2/6/2014 | 11:12:21 AM
Re: Many good suggestions
I agree.  Any play for BlackBerry should be based on the value potential patents that might be useful to battle rivals vs. its current clientele.
petey
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petey,
User Rank: Strategist
2/5/2014 | 10:26:51 PM
500 lb gorilla in the room
His most important task is to keep the financial engine running smoothly. If this guy was the force behind their cloud effort than he knows exactly how to accomplish this. The future is not the next Facebook. There is no next Microsoft. The future is steadily increasing revenue by executing the plan. Keep doing the things you are doing profitably. Caterpillar does not reinvent earthmoving, they continue to make using their equipment more profitable. Don't do what you don't do and play to your strengths.
Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
2/5/2014 | 4:51:19 PM
Re: Mcirosoft is a legacy consumer company
>I agree that getting Office for iPad out quickly would be a good move by Nadella -- and an important message to his mobile teams.

Apple is sure to welcome 30% of the Office for iOS revenue stream.
rradina
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rradina,
User Rank: Ninja
2/5/2014 | 3:01:13 PM
Make Sure MS Devices Work With MS Stuff
As a company with a huge footprint in enterprises, I find it baffling that their "devices and strategy" devices are third class citizens to the enterprise.  Try to get a Microsoft device to work with Exchange.  Try the same with a Windows tablet.  Although the iPhone has been capable of this since 2008 (3Gs in 2009 if device-level encryption is required), last fall (2013!) a co-worker tried to get a Windows Phone sync with his corporate Exchange server.  It didn't meet the EAS policies.  Apparently there's some bug that's fixed in a WP8 October 2013 update but his carrier still hasn't made it available (in Feb 2014!).  Similar problems exist for Windows tablets.  They might support all the EAS policies but they aren't listed as an "approved" device.  Yet the iPad works fine.  

Would Larry Ellison ever permit SQL Server to run PeopleSoft better than Oracle's own RDBMS?

If the competition's devices work with your enterprise products better than your devices, that should be job one.
WKash
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WKash,
User Rank: Author
2/5/2014 | 2:10:27 PM
BlackBerry suggestions
Interesting suggestion about Microsoft buying BlackBerry, but while the Defense Department is sticking with BlackBerry's for now, because of its enterprise-level security controls, I wouldn't count on other federal agencies to step in and insist on using BlackBerry's -- especially given how fluid the mobile market has become. Clearly Nardella's charge will be to figure out the best way to deliver Microsoft's many enterprise services over mobile devices.  Bagging BlackBerry seems like a short-term answer to specialized market.

 
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
2/5/2014 | 2:00:30 PM
Re: Mcirosoft is a legacy consumer company
I agree that getting Office for iPad out quickly would be a good move by Nadella -- and an important message to his mobile teams.
cbabcock
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cbabcock,
User Rank: Strategist
2/5/2014 | 1:53:54 PM
Mcirosoft is a legacy consumer company
Excellent dfiscussion, Michael. Microsoft has evolved away from being primarily a consumer company and is now more of a systems company--Windows Server/System Center/Azure Cloud. That explains the record revenues, while getting beaten up in the press. Nadella needs to capitalize on being a legacy consumer company and get Office onto the iPad, Withholding it in hopes of selling Microsoft's own tablet is dumb. If you remember, Bill Gates put Excel on the Macintosh before the Windows PC and made a success of both. By withholding, Microsoft is in the position of Word Perfect and Lotus 123 as they withheld Windows versions because they didn't want their customers adopting the new operating system before WordPerfect and Lotus were ready. Microsoft beat them with Word and Excel as they dug in their heels. We know how that turned out.
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