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All posts tagged Satya Nadella

Satya we’re overdue for a chat about Windows Mobile

Dear Satya, It’s time we spoke about Windows Mobile.

Windows Mobile - Satya Nadella

It’s been a while since I wrote you. You’ve been doing great things, mainly in the enterprise arena but hey, earnings and stock value for MSFT are great. The accolades you are receiving are all deserved and fully earned. You’ve done incredible things as the driving force behind the new Microsoft. MSIgnite 2017 has been a rampant success so far again predominantly for the Enterprise.

That said, I and a couple of others (gross understatement) are concerned about Microsoft’s commitment to the consumer market. Whilst platforms live on, you’ve basically ceded the mobile handset market to OEMs and likewise with wearables and VR headsets. Microsoft has become a high quality, prototyping factory to drive the direction of these hardware markets and the OEMs who exist there.

I get it, I really do. Microsoft is not a hardware company. That said, ignoring the mobile market or killing what you have thru perceived ambivalence, benign neglect or marketer fear is not the solution.

Is Windows 10 Mobile in it’s current evolution nearing it’s end? It doesn’t matter unless like me you are a Windows Phone owner. Us Windows Phone owners are not the people you have to win over with the next evolution of Windows mobile strategy. That said, we are waiting, anticipating and serious about what’s next:

Windows 10 on ARM devices. We expect this to be a winning mobile strategy for everyone.

A Vision For Windows Mobile / The Warptest POV

I thought I should share with you all the things that are needed to make a disruptive reentry into mobile and win serious market share.

What does ARM and full Windows 10 mean? It means one OS (no RT, no W10M) with Fluent design and Cshell providing an adaptive UI for Windows, the OS and apps will actually be Universal. Allegedly the latest reports refer to this all as Andromeda OS.

This is nothing new for Warptest, the idea of a responsive OS experience has been pushed on this blog since 2014.

It means the idea of running full-blown 64 bit apps from a mobile device may come true. This doesn’t mean you have to shoehorn this into the enterprise niche but consumer and enterprise devices, why not?

A democratic PC in the pocket for all…

If Microsoft designs a handset to Surface design standards and materials and doesn’t compromise form factor or battery life then this might succeed.

Surface - Windows MobileImage of Surface Pro 4 with thanks to Microsoft

Any mobile device doesn’t just need killer design and materials. It needs a serious raft of accessories from brand names but, it also needs to compete in the AR/ VR / MR market against the expected iPhone, the Pixel & phones like the One Hydrogen. We need a Holophone.

Most of all the people like Joe Belfiore associated with Windows Phone need to progress up and out of mobile. Microsoft needs an aggressive new team, able and willing to evangelize to Developers and ensure deals with Twitter, Facebook and others for up-to-date features like FB Live, Periscope and frankly for Microsoft themselves to man up and deliver apps and features to Windows Mobile first. Keep in mind just how many features seen at the recent iPhone 8 / X launch event already existed in Windows 10 Mobile (if not Windows Phone 8.1).

I’m not telling you anything new here Satya, but it needs to be said and by association this strategy needs to be applied to VR and wearables, including a Surface Watch (not just a niche sports band). Microsoft can still win in the mobile arena and your loyal consumer base in mobile are one building block in this strategy.

When you are ready, get in touch and let’s win back mobile.

Microsoft Think Next 2016 …

Microsoft Think Next 2016 wasn’t just the annual pilgrimage as this year was the 25th Anniversary of Microsoft opening the R&D Center in Israel.

You’re probably asking yourself a crucial question though…

What Is Think Next?

As mentioned in previous years, Microsoft Think Next is the annual show and tell of cutting edge, in-house innovation, several startup graduates of Microsoft Israel’s Accelerator program and others working within the  Microsoft ecosystem.

It is also involves a keynote and presentations. Demofest is the show and tell part and it was a truly incredible display of technology, innovation and disruption; ranging from the Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Surface Book to the BBC Microbit, a robot that can pick apples off a tree, various medical related startups and much more:

 

Microsoft Think Next 2016 - Demofest

If you want to see the full list or get more information click the graphic

 

I got to go hands on with the Surface Pro 4, Surface Book, connect my Windows Phone 950XL to a Continuum dock and more. A measure of the interest in these startups and Microsoft’s own products were the large groups of people around each station waiting to meet the product owners / founders and hear all about their products.

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Each of these startups was Israeli born and bred, and much of the Microsoft technology on display was developed to some degree in the Israel R&D center. Not for nothing, the Startup Nation.

The Keynote, Presentations And A Surprise Guest

The presentations kicked off with an introduction from Zack Westfeld & Dana Porter Rubinstein (senior members of Microsoft Israel). Yoram Yaacovi followed (General Manager of Microsoft Israel), and then a congratulatory video message from Bill Gates. This led into the keynote by Satya Nadella, followed by presentations from 3 incredible speakers, each e impacting the lives of people worldwide.

  • Dr Jasmin Fisher of Microsoft Research, Cambridge gave an awe inspiring speech on the now and future of cancer mapping research.
  • Gerald Jay Sanders, the CEO of SkyTran Inc presented his vision for high-speed, rapid transit. Sanders explained how he, NASA and Israel Aircraft Industries are working together to create magnetically propelled elevated (or not) capsule or bullet trains. The word train does not do this justice, hit the link for SkyTran and see for yourself.
  • Dr Raz Itzchaki Tamir , the CEO of SkyFi explained his vision of bringing worldwide, affordable communication coverage thru a network of mini-satellites.

Not for nothing do people attribute the incredible change to Microsoft to CEO, Satya Nadella. He is clearly an inspirational leader with a vision for where he wants to take Microsoft. His keynote delivered with several exceptional quotes:

Microsoft Think Next 2016 - Bill Gates

Microsoft Think Next 2016 - Satya Nadella Keynote

“There is no doubt that a country like Israel is going to change the world.”

(Borrowing from Hololens about Think Next) “When you change the way you see the world; you change the world you see.”

Here is a sample of the impact Microsoft Think Next and particularly Satya Nadella’s comments made (via Twitter)

The Warptest POV

I came to Microsoft Think Next 2016 with high expectations and I wasn’t disappointed. The Microsoft Accelerator Startups demonstrated a variety of game changing products, as did Microsoft. It was difficult to give back the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book I tried out.

The atmosphere was beyond optimistic, beyond enthusiastic. Microsoft Israel’s team of employees brought their A-game and mingled, demonstrated and provided a fantastic event. Microsoft Think Next 2016 is the best Think Next yet. Besides all this, Think Next is a great networking opportunity and it certainly didn’t disappoint for this either.

Yoram Yaacovi spoke in detail about the variety of new jobs descriptions being created by new innovations. One of several examples he gave was the need for skilled divers to maintain Microsoft’s new undersea data centers. This combined with Satya Nadella’s keynote outlines a glowing future for Microsoft and especially Microsoft Israel that is happening in the now.

It certainly helped me to start changing the way I see the world. How about you?

Many thanks to Microsoft Israel R&D and the person behind their Twitter account for all the help before and after the event. They were kind enough to provide some corrections to mistakes in the original post.

Last Week Microsoft Reported Windows Phone Job Cuts …

These were not unexpected but were sad to see nonetheless.

Many in the professional, tech blogosphere couldn’t help their baser instincts and chose the fact that the cuts were predominantly from the Windows Phone department (and many from the acquisition of Nokia) to spin this with no factual basis to their unknowing public as the end of Windows Phone.

No hard facts, just an opportunity to deride and ignore those who were losing their jobs in favor of a sexier linkbait.

With weeks until Windows 10 launches and down the line Windows 10 Mobile many of these “pro” bloggers indulged in a feeding frenzy worthy of Shark Week.

What Did Happen Then?

Microsoft reported from their News site on July 8th that CEO, Satya Nadella had approved another round of job cuts, totaling 7800.

The focus of these job cuts would be within Phone Hardware.

This was reported as allowing the company “…to record an impairment charge of approximately $7.6 billion related to assets associated with the acquisition of the Nokia Devices and Services (NDS) business in addition to a restructuring charge of approximately $750 million to $850 million.”

This was a quote from Nadella’s email:

Windows Phone - Satya Nadella quote

According to Reuters and several other (actual) news sites, the market and analysts saw this as a positive move and as a result Microsoft stock rose 1.4% on the day.

Windows Phone - MSFT Stock

Data courtesy of the Windows 8.1 Money App

Nutshell, nowhere in the Microsoft announcement did they mention anything more than a writeoff (albeit a big one) for the Nokia acquisition, job cuts or a streamlining inline with the strategic shift that CEO Satya Nadella has been pushing since day one from devices to ecosystem.

Sorry bloggers of doom but it seems your trollgasm was for naught.

The Warptest POV

Is Windows Phone dead? NO, it’s evolving and with it, its business model: –

Windows Phone - reasons to be happy

Windows 10 Mobile has also been available as part of the Windows Insider Program. Many reports from Insiders show a much improved, robust OS; that once completed will continue to vie for attention. The latest insider version was mainly about polish for the UI, more bug fixes and a move to the new Store.

Only today, GSMArena (sporting a stylish new site design) reported that serial leakster @Evleaks (known for his reliable insights) confirmed at least 6 new Lumia phones in 2015. At least one of these can be considered a new, flagship phone. That doesn’t sound dead to me.

How many OEMs make Windows Phone now? More than ever, some are returning members of the Windows Phone family like LG, Samsung, HTC but there are others such as Blu, Yezz, Kazam and Japanese Mouse Computers MADOSMA phone. In addition Windows Phone and Xiaomi delivered Windows 10 Mobile as a ROM for the Xiaomi Mi4 thru the company’s MIUI Forum.

Phones are good but throw in connected devices and wearables (IOT) and you are building an ecosystem. It’s clear that Satya Nadella is a strong believer in the ecosystem philosophy, so it was no surprise to hear about several such devices from Microsoft going thru FCC approval that will support Windows 10 Mobile soon.

Bloomberg delivers the bottom line, at least two more years of Microsoft making Windows Phones. Time for markets to turn on their heads. Time for killer features like Continuum and Universal Apps to impact market share, and time to assess if Microsoft should stay in the phone business.

My tuppenies worth: –

  1. Yes, the trolls of the blogosphere have a huge impact on uninformed consumers. This needs a strong response from Microsoft.
  2. It’s time to dispense with the Lumia brand and rebrand as Surface Phone. The Surface is a solid, easily recognized brand with a stunning design. The flagship phone should emulate that with the same materials and style. If as some have suggested, the Nokia write off is more of the de-Ballmerization of Microsoft then this makes sense; putting Lumia in the past.
  3. Quality not quantity: there is a place for one or two low end phones but having a distinct line of phones where each answers a need is a better strategy than “flood the market with a variety of low end phones”.
  4. Consolidate and work with the OEMs so they are also offering striking, enticing phones to the public.
  5. Keep hammering the evangelism to the Developer Community to ensure that we maintain and improve on app parity in one stream but also ensure that the promise of Universal Apps delivers.

So to all those who indulged in their little trollgasms last week and were ready to nail the coffin shut on Windows Phone, sorry guys. Take your blankie back in the corner. It’s not happening any time soon.

To those whose jobs were cut last week, let me wish you the best of luck finding gainful employment rapidly.

To the consumers out there wondering if Windows 10 Mobile is for them? Don’t just rely on me and certainly don’t rely on the trolls. When the OS is launched get out there and go hands on.Try the phones out for yourself. I guarantee you will be pleasantly surprised.

Satya Nadella Delivered a Memo to Microsoft Employees Last Week…

Business Insider shared the full text along with their interpretation here.

I cannot think of a universe where the CEO of a company the size of Microsoft thinks it’s a good idea to be vague about “tough sacrifices” or company direction in an internal memo just 30 days before the launch of a ground breaking, new Operating System. (Bear with me please)

This was fodder for every tweep, blogger and journo with a hate-on for Redmond.

MIcrosoft Stock - Satya Nadella

Stock chart snipped from MSN Money

Admittedly Satya Nadella is not the full-on, full throttle experience that Steve Ballmer was and his enthusiasm is a bit more dialed back but this is the time to talk about strength, project confidence and time the memo to include potentially amazing things.

Had the Space-X launch gone well there would be two Hololens units at work in Space, boldly going where no Windows10 device has gone before. (Who knows what personal computing devices they have on the ISS?)

Incredible Things…

Regardless of the setbacks of this one failed launch, Microsoft is going into Space.

Microsoft are on the cusp of their greatest OS launch (since the original launch) and whilst Satya Nadella has had to contend with the issues left from the post-Ballmer / post-Sinovsky Microsoft, Hololens is one example of what is clearly a long term devices and OS project that is going to have huge impact on the world of computing.

There are several jewels in the crown including the leaps and bound made by Redmond in becoming a primary mover and shaker in Open Source but more so by taking Office, Cortana and other Microsoft products fully cross-platform.

The Lumia Windows Phones own the bulk of the Windows Phone market share, more OEMs are buying into the platform worldwide and 2015 is shaping up to be the year that Windows Phone took over Pakistan, Russia and is the number 2 platform in the UK.

Windows 10 and Windows 10 Mobile are looking to deliver everything the consumers want and need out of an OS, killer features, an incredible new browser, tight hardware-OS integrations and for many, a free upgrade. We’ll know for sure in a month, yes only a month.

Azure is a strong contender in the Cloud wars and the fact that we keep reading about price drops for Azure and AWS indicates that for the consumer, this fight is a good one.

Microsoft Band is rumored to be seeing a v2 of the sleek, sporty smartwatch meanwhile there are at least 3 other smartwatches out there that support Windows Phone, with price tags all the way up to $1300.

The Surface Pro 3 and Surface 3 are receiving consistently good reviews and yes, Microsoft we haven’t stopped wishing you would make a flagship phone / phablet with the Surface design, materials and brand.

Office 2016, Office on Mac, iOS and Android .. really just rebrand it as Office Everywhere. The world’s greatest productivity suite is only getting better and is pretty much ubiquitous now.

Cortana on Android is allegedly coming next month, Android owners trust me you are going to love Cortana.

Visual Studio, TFS and Universal Apps that can be recompiled from iOS and Android… the Developers aren’t being left out and this is going to be an exciting time, figuring out how to best leverage Universal Apps. The real beneficiaries of this are going to be the Start-ups who are always cash and resource short. Universal apps will mean they no longer need to concede Windows or Windows Phone consumers to their competition which will in turn allow even greater app parity than we are already seeing.

But I don’t need to tell you any of this, you did this…

SIDEBAR:

As of moments ago the following news was released online: –

The Warptest POV

Dear Satya Nadella,

My message for you is, yes there will be tough choices and yes, the troops deserve to know that, but Microsoft needs some high-octane enthusiasm too. This is not about bringing your own voice and style to the pot or distancing yourself from how Ballmer did things. This is about market confidence.

I’m equally sure that there is no easy way to cut projects and jobs but decisive and clear beats vague every time. What is incredible is the fact I’m seeing talent transfer not just technology or IP. Bravo Uber, AOL and Microsoft for apparently making this a less painful pill to swallow.

I have no doubt that on July 29th when Windows 10 launches the stock value will experience an upturn but it’s time to bolster confidence in-house and in the market too by playing up the successes and the amazing things to come. Microsoft is building incredible things, solutions that will improve the quality of our home and work life, worldwide and to steal the tagline from the TV Show, Warehouse 13 you are building a world of endless wonder with Hololens and the like.

I for one want to feel like that is coming as much as the necessary changes within the company.

Good luck and keep on doing amazing things.

Yours sincerely,

Jonathan Ross.

The Surface Family Is Expected To Grow Tomorrow…

…with the live Webcast of The Surface Event from New York starting 8am PDT:

Surface Event

Most of the big tech blogs have revealed that we can expect to hear about:

  • A Surface 3 Pro: A Windows 8.1 Professional device with an improved physical design with subtle changes to case, bezel and the snap-on touch cover / keyboard but also expect to see 4G/LTE support.
  • A Surface Mini: Finally we might be getting the smaller form factor. Will it be a phablet? Will it also have the expected 4G/LTE? If we do get this device a smaller keyboard is a certainty. The big question is will the Mini be only a Windows RT device or will Microsoft follow in the footsteps of the Asus Transformer T100 and go for Windows 8 Pro?

In a nutshell this picture is going to have either one or two more models as of tomorrow (each possibly with a couple of variations):

Surface Product Line

The Other Rumors

A couple of other rumors have been floating around:

  1. Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella will be flying in to participate in the webcast.
  2. The BIG rumor is that we are going to see the launch of a Microsoft Smart Watch. This would be incredible as until now none of the major Smart Watches seem to support Windows Phone.

Surface Watch Mockup

The Warptest POV

This is an exciting time for Microsoft and consumers who love the brand. Not just because as the Surface product line grows undoubtedly many of the Windows 8 OEMS will want to follow suit but if a Surface Mini and a Microsoft Surface / Smart Watch are launched then this is proof positive of Microsoft fully embracing a new attitude of rolling out cutting edge products into competitive markets in a reasonable timescale.

No more 5 year lag between iPhone and Windows Phone, Microsoft has realized and evolved into a company that iterates, develops and launches while a market is still open to competition.

Just as important, we can assume that a Smart Watch would only be the start and as part of the Devices Philosophy being embraced by Microsoft that more Wearable tech will be headed our way from Redmond in the near future.

This bodes well for the consumer and the company alike and lays rest to the issues I raise in an earlier post this year about Microsoft Wearables.

I’ll be watching the live webcast excitedly. How about you?