How Microsoft's Mobile Plans Are Evolving With Nadella at the Helm

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2014-07-21 Print this article Print

Satya Nadella, a longtime Microsoft employee, is extremely intelligent and has keen knowledge of the company's inner workings. As CEO, however, Nadella needs to prove his chops managing Microsoft's broad range of products and services in the mobile, cloud, enterprise software, software development and other areas. Lately, he has been revealing his strategic vision for Microsoft. Not surprisingly, he's said the company must concentrate on the cloud-first and mobile-first strategies. But being a mobile-first company is somewhat difficult for Microsoft. The company is still generating the vast majority of its revenue and profits from Windows and Office, and so far, its efforts in the mobile market haven't been successful enough to overtake those established profit centers. Last week, Nadella announced 18,000 layoffs, including 12,500 at the Nokia mobile devices unit, which the company acquired earlier this year. The cuts were a predictable step in the integration of the two companies. Microsoft's latest moves also shine a light on its mobile plans and what the company might be thinking as it looks to the future. eWEEK examines Microsoft's mobile strategy and covers how it has evolved since Nadella became chief executive.

  • How Microsoft's Mobile Plans Are Evolving With Nadella at the Helm

    by Don Reisinger
    1 - How Microsoft's Mobile Plans Are Evolving With Nadella at the Helm
  • The Hardware Is Not as Important as You Think

    On several occasions in a letter, Microsoft's Executive Vice President Stephen Elop wrote to employees about the improved mobile platforms customers can expect. Elop noted that while hardware might be used as a vehicle for Microsoft's market share gains in the near future, its focus over the long term is providing a better overall software experience to customers in mobile.
    2 - The Hardware Is Not as Important as You Think
  • Microsoft Wants to Create Digital Experiences

    Microsoft also plans to focus on creating high-quality "digital experiences" in the mobile market. Elop and Nadella haven't delved too deep into the "digital experiences" chat, but it's believed that they're looking at bringing together some of the features in the Xbox and other digital platforms to make Windows Phone more appealing to entertainment-seekers.
    3 - Microsoft Wants to Create Digital Experiences
  • There's No Room for Android

    Android has no place in a Microsoft world. While Microsoft was, for a couple of months, selling Android-based devices with the Nokia X, that's not happening any longer. Instead, Nadella wants to try and use the Nokia X idea—appealing to consumers on the lower end of the spectrum—with Windows Phone.
    4 - There's No Room for Android
  • Lumia for the "Affordable" Segment

    Affordability matters greatly, according to the latest research surrounding the smartphone space. An increasing number of consumers, especially in emerging markets, are spending cash on budget phones and not high-end smartphones. Microsoft sees that and believes that it's a secret to success in the near term.
    5 - Lumia for the
  • In the Higher End, Software Reigns Supreme

    While the budget end of the mobile space will be all about Microsoft selling hardware with Windows Phone on it, in the higher end of the space, software is most important. According to Elop, Microsoft will create improved Windows Phone experiences for its OEM partners to take and use for their own devices. Microsoft thinks that is its best chance of breaking into that space.
    6 - In the Higher End, Software Reigns Supreme
  • Agility Is Crucial to Future Success

    Everything Satya Nadella writes to employees is about agility. In his recent 3,000-word manifesto to employees, he said that he wants to make Microsoft's mobile division smaller and more capable of changing tack whenever it's called for. Nadella ostensibly believed he couldn't do that with 25,000 Nokia employees.
    7 - Agility Is Crucial to Future Success
  • Surface Isn't Going Anywhere

    While much of Microsoft's focus to this point has been on smartphones, the company is not yet ready to give up on tablets. In fact, Microsoft has said that its Surface tablet matters greatly to its future mobile plans and has no intention of changing its strategy in that space.
    8 - Surface Isn't Going Anywhere
  • There Is Lots of Talk of Windows Universal Apps

    Even with the announcement of major layoffs, Microsoft was quick to point out that it has a plan for software that could make its mobile efforts more fruitful: Windows Universal Apps. Also discussed in Nadella's letter, the idea is to develop platforms and software solutions that can work on multiple form factors. In the coming years, Microsoft might be making apps that work across smartphones, tablets, notebooks and desktops.
    9 - There Is Lots of Talk of Windows Universal Apps
  • Enterprise Productivity Could Be Important

    Microsoft has smartly not forgotten about the enterprise with its latest efforts. Nadella said recently that he wants to work heavily on improving user productivity through his company's solutions and specifically find pain points inside the corporate world that would make corporate customers want to use his mobile platforms. It should be interesting to see if the enterprise responds well, especially after Apple inking a deal with IBM to partner on similar services.
    10 - Enterprise Productivity Could Be Important
  • Look for the Cloud to Bridge Windows, Windows Phone Gap

    It's important not to forget about the impact cloud computing will have on Microsoft's mobile strategy in the coming years. Nadella has been clear that it's a "mobile-first, cloud-first" company. Keep a close eye on Microsoft's plans to offer new cloud applications and services that bridge the gap between the mobile and desktop versions of Windows.
    11 - Look for the Cloud to Bridge Windows, Windows Phone Gap

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