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7/26/2014
08:36 AM
Michael Endler
Michael Endler
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Microsoft's Nadella: More Than Talk

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella proves he can be a man of action with the biggest layoff in company history and other concrete steps to reshape Microsoft. Now what?

Microsoft lean and focused will infuse it with a startup's soul, as Nadella intends. But after talking about creating a "challenger mindset" at Microsoft, Nadella is now actively trying, at a very large scale, to make that happen.

On the enterprise and infrastructure sides, Microsoft clearly is performing well. Not everyone is persuaded by Nadella's cloud vision, but by focusing on hybrid products that bridge its on-premises server business with Azure, Microsoft is balancing its massive customer base and its future goals.

In these areas, Nadella's pet phrases make the most sense. His references to "ambient intelligence" and "ubiquitous sensing" tap clearly into the Internet of Things and its legion of environment-sensing, big-data-feeding connected devices -- the kinds of things for which Microsoft currently is preparing its cloud and data products. Likewise, his other talking points -- "productivity and platforms" and "mobile-first, cloud-first" products -- align to Microsoft's base catalogue much more easily than Ballmer's "devices and services" plot did. It makes sense for Microsoft to deliver services through the cloud, and to harness both Office's ubiquity and Microsoft's role as a major server player as foundations for delivery. It did not make sense to add a wholly unproven product category -- devices -- as a would-be strategic cornerstone.

Nadella's Nokia reductions include the elimination of the Nokia X smartphones, which layered Microsoft services on an Android base.
Nadella's Nokia reductions include the elimination of the Nokia X smartphones, which layered Microsoft services on an Android base.

But things are murkier on the operating system and device side. Nadella is committed to putting Microsoft products on all platforms, iOS and Android included. He also remains committed to Windows, and to first-party devices such as the Surface Pro -- though he bent over backward reassuring investors last week that Microsoft isn't "in hardware for hardware's sake."

That's a lot to balance, especially for a company that's playing from far behind in mobile, and losing some of its consumer share in traditional PCs. Nadella's repeatedly described his intentions for a faster, less-bureaucratic, and more-collaborative management style -- and he'll need it. Microsoft might manage to juggle it all, but it's hard to not see the potential for strategic contradictions to arise.

Nadella has hyped Cortana and other contextually-aware technologies as game changers but Microsoft still has to prove its vision.
Nadella has hyped Cortana and other contextually-aware technologies as game changers but Microsoft still has to prove its vision.

Nadella has begun to describe the actions he'll take to integrate what's left of Nokia's device business, and to make Windows a viable mobile platform. Some of his intentions are still vague, such as what specific benefits we'll see from the converged core that will soon power all versions of the OS, mobile and desktop alike. Will it just offer convenience to makers of simple apps, or will it transform the way we use and think of Windows across devices?

Nadella's declaration that devices will serve to "light up" Microsoft's digital experiences is appealing. It focuses on differentiating Microsoft's strengths, rather than keeping up with whatever Apple is up to. But if Nadella is going to offer first-rate Microsoft services on iOS and Android, what more can a Windows device add to "light up" the experience?

Microsoft has lightly fleshed out the idea. Even if Cortana becomes a cross-platform product, it will likely remain most closely tied to Windows Phone hardware, giving the digital assistant the ability to do more with contextual information, for instance. Nadella has also cited the Surface Pro 3's superlative digital inking experience as an example. Neither of these is necessarily a game changer but they prove a point: Even if Microsoft makes the best possible product it can for iOS or Android, devices that run those OSs are still limited in certain ways, which gives Microsoft room to explore new avenues.

Still, Nadella has a long way to go. On the enterprise side, Microsoft enjoys momentum today -- but Nadella has hinged tomorrow on ideas such as Delve, an Office 365 app that uses machine learning to discover what, how, and with whom you work, and to deliver information it thinks you'll need. It's tantalizing to think of a product that knows what you want before you do, but the concept is unproven and will test Nadella's promises that Microsoft will excel at data management and privacy. Nadella's device and Windows plans, meanwhile, are only just gaining focus, and will put pressure on the company's 2015 slate. That's when we should get our first full look at the company's post-Nokia device efforts and the next version of Windows.

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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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heartpuppy
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heartpuppy,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/27/2014 | 10:02:15 AM
Re: Eastern Indian Microcrap
The cost saving of IT Indianization is greatly overrated.

Firstly, Indian IT uses a lot of bait-switch tactics.

Secondly, Indian IT introduces a lot of IT moles to

monitor your company's critical functions.  Google

"Indian corporate spying"  this is endemic even in

India.

Thirdly, the cost savings are always temporary if at

all.   Long term competitive advantage will be critically

damaged by short term outsourcing IT because IT

is extremely critical.

 

I'll give you a few examples:

A. Target outsourcer CIO singing praises of Target's Indian IT,

then bang!  40 million credit cards hacked, CIO out on her ass.

B. Look at Obamacare website, outsourced to Indian contractors,

unusable and had to be reworked by Google engineers.

C. Look at Ebay, occupied by Indian engineers, hacked with

100+ million records stolen.

I could give you 100 examples if I have the time.

With 1 million Indian IT worker occupying American IT

jobs 50%, the devastation they are wrecking on American

companies and American IT workers' sanity are massive and

long term.

 
nasimson
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nasimson,
User Rank: Ninja
7/27/2014 | 1:27:39 AM
An acquisition mistake?
I am just curious if Microsoft had to dump Nokia hardware, plants, employees, patents then why did they buy Nokia in the first place?
nasimson
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nasimson,
User Rank: Ninja
7/27/2014 | 1:14:45 AM
Re: Eastern Indian Microcrap
@ Blair: I am not an Indian and also not in American IT. I am neither anti American nor anti Indian. Since I am neither benefited nor harmed by Indianization of American IT, I can share my neutral non biased non emotional perspective on this: Having visited both countries and visited their universities, I found Indian youth to be well ahead of their American counterparts. They are more hungry and thus more hardworking. And yes there are issues of work ethic. On the corporate side, yes Indian managers do prefer Indian talent. However think of this way, if American IT companies had not lowered their costs by hiring low cost Indian labor, they would have been uncompetitive globally in terms of Pricing.
JimP019
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JimP019,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/26/2014 | 5:02:44 PM
Re: Microsoft layoffs
Still the question are the layoffs in the U.S. mainly or other countries???
SteveIrv
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SteveIrv,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/26/2014 | 4:29:58 PM
Re: Eastern Indian Microcrap
Mr. Blair:

 

Travel much? Read much? Do you have any friends from outside your ethnic community?

Try what George of Seinfeld tried and get some friends from outside your own community. USA is a great place to do that. 

By your logic, East European Orthodox people shoudl be taking over our cloud support industry, Russians our search & ad industry, etc.. Or, are you only particularly paranoid about East Indians? You really believe this guy is a plant from Indian govt to take over the US? 

Chill out. Get a beer, take a ddep breath, and most importantly, get out more and meet people. All's well with the world. It's not as scary as you think. 

Peace...

 

 
lawler
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lawler,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/26/2014 | 1:42:13 PM
Let's be a little more serious about the word 'action.'
Michael, it should be a concern to you that you judge Nadella as a man of action only when he fires people.

There are many methods by which a CEO can demonstrate activity. In my mind, firing thousands of people is not one of them.

Note that I don't mean that (in this case) the company might well need to dismiss those employees (especially the ex-Nokia employees) that are in parts of the business in which it's no longer planning to be involved.

But take care with your usage of the word action that includes mass firings. It shouldn't.

Frankly, I'm also worried about Nadella's inexperience in the top role.  As we all know, this is his first CEO position. It's in a large, notable technology company. And it's a company that he's been a part of for over twenty years.

This first large-scale mass firing may be a more reckless move characteristic of a brand-new CEO looking to make his mark (and thinking, incorrectly, as you do, that he can be a "man of action" by firing thousands of people.)

I wish that he had seasoned himself with CEO positions at other tech firms before taking the reins at Microsoft.

Also, don't forget the board tactic, as common as it has been over the past 30-40 years, of bringing in a new CEO, having him do the tasteless task of mass firings, and then dismissing him and bringing in the long-term choice for CEO.

That way, the remaining staff get to associate their bad feelings about the firings with their fired CEO, and get to feel good about the new guy coming in.
BlairMuse
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BlairMuse,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/26/2014 | 1:01:57 PM
Eastern Indian Microcrap
Another reason not to buy Microsoft EI-Microcrap. Eastern Indians and other Asian companies that take over American companies simply demolish them, starting with the Americans, and move a majority of the potions overseas to "rebuild the brand" which is always a complete BS story. They also do so to harbor as much information on Americans as possible to sell it to other countries and companies yet we are too stupid as a society to see this. Don't give India any more of you hard earned money. India is a country that prides it's self with inequality and their citizens are rather inhumane people, borderline animals. At least when you buy Apple a majority of the sale stays in the US Market. Do your research!!!
heartpuppy
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heartpuppy,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/26/2014 | 10:29:42 AM
Protracted Layoffs
Microsoft has 80 billion dollars in cash. But ultimately, the employees are not mad at

layoffs,they are mad at the protracted layoffs.   The way the layoff is done makes it

rather clear:

A.  Nadella wants employees (Americans) to infight and stab each other

B.  Nadella wants the best employees (Americans) to go away

C.  Nadella wants the survivors (Americans) to be weakened.

 

Which begs the question: why?

I'll answer why:  Nadella is doing the classic practice of "software corp raider"

perfected by elite Indian upper managements throughout Silicon Valley.

Target are companies like:

A. Cisco, Qualcomm, VMWare, Intel, Motorola, Nokia, Sun, Adobe

B. IBM, Oracle, Microsoft, LinkedIn,Amazon

C. Facebook, Google, Twitter, Apple

The tactics are the same everywhere:

1. Layoff thousands of American engineers (sometimes by smal cuts),

2. Nearly concurrent hiring Indian new grads by thousands, or outsource

to Indian contracting companies.

End Result A. tier companies are nearly completely Indianized, or

defunct: ~70% Indian engineers

B tier companies are Indianized: ~30-60% Indian engineers

C tier companies are generally newer and last refuge of

American nerds: <30% Indian engineers

 

Guess what: C tier companies are being targetted by Indian diversity guru

Vivek Wadhwa for not welcoming women in tech, while he carefully

spare A tier and B tier from his indignation.  Ask these companies their

diversity data, you will find a huge majority of Indian enginers.

 

What does this have to do with Nadella?  Is Nadella innocent?

No.  1 month ago, even as Nadella was planning for this current

protracted layoff, he renewed 100 million dollar IT contract with

Indian outsourcing giant Infosys.  It's remarkable that Nadella thinks

India test engineers could be retrained to become

competent software engineers (bypassing much more stringent

interview process), yet the laid off American test engineers could

not be retrained in IT!

With the current layoff, Nadella also announced that Microsoft's

x0,000 vendors, many of them Indian outsourcing giant like

Infosys, Tata CS, HCL, wipro, individual contractors could

keep working for 18 month and take 6 month break.  These Indian

contractors are given MORE time than the laid off American

employees, and they are given a lot more ramp-up training

than American new grads, who have to pass much more stringent

interview process!

 

Now I have to go back to H1b visa.  Indian outsourcer giants

take vast majority of total H1b visas every year for the last 10+ years! 

Infosys is being sued for discriminating against Americans,

and abusing H1b visa.  Yet they are getting contracts from US

government as well as tech giants like Microsoft, Cisco, IBM.   Why?

 

Answer: Years of H1b visa abuse by Indian outsourcers have enabled

importing almost 1 million Indian software "professional"s into the US,

devastating American IT workplace of only 2 million

software jobs.  These million strong invaders ganged up on American

nerds, discriminated against American nerds,

only hired Indians/promoted Indians, stole credits, stoled client information,

spied on company's IT, stole projects, force Americans to work doubletime

(American time and Indian time), etc. 

 

By doing this, legions of Indians rose to middle and upper ranks in US tech

giants, further rewarding this nepotistic nonAmerican practice by indians.

Because Indian economy remain in doldrums, and Indian outsourcing

industry is doubling their invasion zeal, they are planning to bring in

another million Indian software "experts" to occupy American IT 100%.

 

Do you think it's wrong?  If so, go to "brightfuturejobs.com" to stop this!

If you think this is fine:  then look at:

A. Target outsourcer CIO singing praises of Target's Indian IT,

then bang!  40 million credit cards hacked, CIO out on her ass.

B. Look at Obamacare website, outsourced to Indian contractors,

unusable and had to be reworked by Google engineers.

C. Look at Ebay, occupied by Indian engineers, hacked with

100+ million records stolen.

 

Indian IT are very good bait-and-switch and very good Big Brother

spying on your email and cutting Americans' tech talent pipeline. 

Not so good at delivering.  

Think what it would be like if American IT is 100% Indianized,

in another 10 years. 

 
premjan
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50%
premjan,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/26/2014 | 9:53:36 AM
Re: Microsoft layoffs
They are mostly Nokia employees but some Microsoft too.
JimP019
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0%
JimP019,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/26/2014 | 9:35:27 AM
Microsoft layoffs
Is Nadella doing layoffs only in the U.S.?Do these layoffs include other countries?If it is in the U.S. he needed to think about unemployment for these indiviuals.Microsoft migh start making a profit,but the U.S. taxpayer will be loosing monies because of it!!
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