Microsoft Focuses on People in Its Tumblr Debut

The software giant showcases people, not products, on Yahoo's popular social microblogging site.

Microsoft Tumblr

Microsoft is taking a somewhat unconventional approach in establishing its latest presence on social media.

Today, the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant launched Inspired By, its first Tumblr page. Now owned by Yahoo, Tumblr is a popular microblogging site with a social media-like approach to posting and sharing content.

Rather than showcase Microsoft's own products and services, the page and a handful of initial posts highlight innovators, artists and other creative types. "The page is dedicated to the people who inspire us with their achievements, empowered by technology," wrote Rob Wolf, director of communications at Microsoft, in a Dec. 8 blog post. "These makers, collaborators and do-gooders range from Riley the shark expert to Laila the champion barista and Henry Ford II the bicycle builder."

Of the shark scientist, Microsoft said on Tumblr that Riley Elliot "risks his own safety to teach the world about shark exploitation. Protecting the world's oceans is all in a day's work." Accompanying the post are still images and animated GIFs, along a link to an Instagram image of Elliot.

"Tumblr provides a platform and an audience perfectly suited to capturing their creativity with vivid imagery and rich animation," continued Wolf. "We're looking forward to joining the Tumblr community and engaging with others who inspire us and use technology to break barriers."

Yahoo completed the $1.1 billion acquisition of Tumblr in June 2013. With 108 million Tumblr blogs, it quickly rose among the ranks of social media sites and added 300 million monthly visitors to Yahoo's audience of 700 million.

During the Yahoo Mobile Developer Conference in August, John Gronberg, product manager for in-app sharing at Yahoo, revealed that there were 250 million blogs on Tumblr with 85 million posts being added each day. Last month, building on new functionality like Tumblr in-app sharing and native video ads, the company launched new instant messaging capabilities along with the iOS and Android apps.

Microsoft's Tumblr page echoes the company's message of personal empowerment via technology under the software giant's CEO Satya Nadella. "At Microsoft our mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more," states the site's "About" page. "This collection of stories celebrates the people who go above and beyond, reach their dreams, and inspire us every day."

Helping everyone "achieve more" is Microsoft's new mission, said Nadella in an internal email sent to staffers this past summer.

Guiding the company's priorities and product strategy, Microsoft's mission statement calls for empowering "every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more," he wrote. "I'm proud to share that this is our new official mission statement."

Nadella envisions a product portfolio, including Windows, Office and Surface, that appeals to both business users and consumers. "This mission is ambitious and at the core of what our customers deeply care about. We have unique capability in harmonizing the needs of both individuals and organizations," he added.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...