Steve Ballmer through his latter tenure as Microsoft CEO turned the company into a devices and services brand, essentially pushing it towards the likes of Apple and Samsung. In other words Microsoft became a hardware focused company and bought the Nokia devices division as a result. However, the key to any hardware success for Microsoft is the popularity of the Windows Phone platform. However, while Windows Phone has continued to perform well in emerging markets (increasing to 10% market share in some regions), it still struggles in mature markets. In the United States the platform has fallen, while in Europe market share has grown by just minor percentiles. New CEO Satya Nadella has a new vision for the company and is steering Microsoft back to being a productivity company, although he plans to focus on software, the hardware side of things will play a part. In fact he is aiming to make a unified software experience (Windows 10) that is spread across multiple form factors, including the company’s own smartphones and tablets.
I want to be sure we have very popular applications as well as the fabric behind these applications,” Nadella told a small gathering of journalists and analysts at the company’s headquarters last Thursday. “Once we have that, we are working to make Windows a device family across all screen sizes.” “As we grow share, we will have a transference to the phone,” Nadella said. “We did the band as a cross platform piece. That’s the beginning of a relationship with Microsoft. Windows Phone is part of a bigger play.
Recently Nadella spoke about the strengths of both Apple and Google, but he contended that Microsoft has its own strengths and can compete with those rivals.
When I think about what Apple does, what Google does and what Microsoft does, therein lies perhaps the simplest answer to why these three identities are actually pretty distinct. To me Apple’s very, very clear, and, in fact, I think Tim Cook did a great job of even describing that very recently where he said they sell devices and that?s what Apple is all about. And Google is about being, it?s about data or it?s about advertising, it is about serving you ads in a tasteful way, and they’ve done a great job of that business. Whereas in our case our identity really is about empowering others to build products. It?s not really about us and our products. Of course, we have a revenue model and a business model, but to me the place where Microsoft can be distinct and where it comes naturally to us more so than anything else is from the creator of a document to a developer writing an app, to anyone else who is in the business of actually their own creation we want to be the tools provider, the platform provider. That’s the core identity, and productivity to me that?s why it has deep meaning.