Mr. Nadella: can you define that ONE BIG THING for Microsoft? (please)
At a time when Google steps out of the hardware business, Microsoft steps in. Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s incoming chief executive, faces some urgent questions: Does the Nokia deal still make sense? And how does Microsoft expect to survive, let alone prosper, in a cut throat hardware market where Google is giving up?
Windows and Nokia marriage makes sense in combining hardware, software and appware – but Nadella and Microsoft are 4 years too late. In an email to Microsoft employees on February 4, his first day as chief executive, Nadella said, “Our job is to ensure that Microsoft thrives in a mobile and cloud-first world.” It’s hard to imagine how Microsoft could be “mobile and cloud-first” without mobile. Does mobile necessarily have to be owning a mobile company?
The basic problem with Microsoft is not technology – but choice and the effects of scale. Android had an opportune entry when Smartphones were gathering momentum and Android took the game away from every one – Symbian, Apple, Blackberry and Microsoft. Now with the effects of scale – Android is the best suited for low end smartphones where as others are still planning forays into $50 smartphones. The basic problem for Microsoft is that Android has won the smartphone war. Not withstanding the din of the third eco-system, Android has taken it away. Today Messrs Brin and page are not worried about Android on smartphones, that is a default arrangment – they are looking at Android in Cars, Android in Glasses, Android in the toaster, fridge – Android as the enabler to Internet of things.
That in sense and effect is the crux of Microspoft’s problem – in a post PC world, where devices are increasingly non- enterprise – they have lost their raison d’etre. Google has successfully migrated itself from Search to the OS synonymous with all things internet. Apple is very clearly the best in terms of combining hardware, OS-ware and App-ware. Come to think of it Microsoft is missing a very clear proposition like Google or Apple. It has enterprise, it has cloud, it has search, it has some gaming, it has a mobile OS, it has a hardware company, it has many things – but it doesnt have the ONE BIG THING. The one big thing from which the future roadmap follows – it is key that Mr. Nadella defines that ONE BIG THING – and creates that. So long, Microsoft continues to be a relic of the past – a jack of many spaces, and the master on none.