Microsoft Asia's César Cernuda talks Windows Phone, Cortana, and more!

Microsoft Asia's César Cernuda talks Windows Phone, Cortana, and more!

How is Microsoft doing with their mobile strategy, including tablets and, of course, Windows Phone? How is new CEO Satya Nadella taking to his new job? How's Microsoft doing with "cool" brands like Cortana, Kinect, and even Skype? Good on all fronts! That's according to César Cernuda, Microsoft's Asia Pacific President, in his interview with the Wall Street Journal:

One of the great things happening right now is that the gravity of the world is shifting to Asia, and we definitely had very strong results around cloud and mobility. Cloud adoption is going really fast. We are pleased with Office 365 and we have also seen good progress on our overall mobility strategy on both tablets and Windows phone.

Cernuda also comments on combining digital work and digital life, the challenges of the Asian market, how their new CEO is settling into his roll, and how consumers perceive Microsoft.

I'm very pleased with where we are when I think about the types of offerings we have. Do I think consumers are seeing Microsoft being as cool as other companies? Sometimes people don't even know that Xbox or Kinect is Microsoft. Or Cortana, an amazing service we're providing.

Are people aware that Skype is Microsoft? Or that we have 400 million users using Outlook.com. We have billions of users of Office. Yeah, I think we need to do a better job of telling our story. Because if I share some of those data points, you say, wow.

Fascinating interview, so give it a read and let me know what you think!


Reader comments

Microsoft Asia's César Cernuda talks Windows Phone, Cortana, and more!


I'm not sure if Skype is really "cool" but there aren't any viable alternatives really. It's sad that a lot of the Gen Y's at my work refer to "video calling" as "facetime" e.g. "Skype is great for facetime" -_-

It is amazing how that shift happened because Skype used to the be brand name. People would say, Skype me when they wanted to do a video call.

I have had to revert back to metrotalk as skype is so bad on WP. And it still don't sync with win 8

I was also disappointed with skype...but I was v.impressed with it this evening. I set up my mum's new 1020 a few days back - logged into Skype then forgot about it. The phone has been off at least a couple of times - so I was pretty amazed that my test call went straight through!
Her 1020 is also moving into its 48th hour of being on..which is even more impressive given that we haven't done much in the way of battery saving.
So yes, I can't really fault Skype.

@sch.. Where is that? Overhere its the other way around. Skyping is the same as videcalling. Like overhere they say tomtom for car navigation.

He's right Microsoft brands except windows never been that popular in Europe. I'm from Germany and here most consumer/normal/non-Tech people even know that the was a windows mobile before WP7 and 8. And Zune is even worser because beside the Zune desktop and Xbox app it never really existed here. And Xbox is the European Soccer console because it has exclusive EA Fifa features.

Sit back, open wide, and lets find out. Also Cheney is like the darth Vader of the political world, and that seems cool enough for me. I have the force.

You do know the "insert" key on your keyboard won't do it, right? I hope you haven't been giving false hope to your cyber girlfriend!

Ahhh yes. Understood. You have yet to learn about the new technological craze. Its a new 3d type of screen that produces solid matter to form an image. Now that would keep you quite busy. It would leave you speechless literally. You'd have your mouth full. I'm sure you'd be smiling if you could with a full mouth.

Only validating my theory. You must have tried the real thing and it wasn't a happy story for you. So you come to the cyber world and bully some foreigners about their lack of English vocabulary and feel good about something working well for you.

Skype is great! I hate it when tv and shit glorifies Apple products then disses Microsoft and THEN reports every thing bad about them as if there the devil. I have a MacBook pro and I don't show it off. Because that's what my surface pro is for.

I was on another sites comment section today and the article was about how the Motorola Atrix nasty have had it right by integrating a smartphone and the webtop keyboard years ago. This person mentioned how they would just love it if the iPad would run full OSX when connected to a keyboard and revert back to iOS when in tablet mode. I replied "ever heard of Windows 8? Surface?".

If Android or Apple do it, its incredible. When Microsoft is years ahead I'd the curve it's stupid and an abomination.

Hey Apple innovates everything in your life and Google simplifies all the innovation for common people. Microsoft is just a failure company which just earns billions every quarter :-/

Hey I put Apple& Innovation, Google & Simplification in a single sentence. What can you think about the sentence? :-D

Anyway, whatever you actually meant, I'd say that apple copies much of the 'innovative' things (i said most of, not all. They do innovate at times), and google just gives an open system to all to make it whatever they want. MS is the real giant here, which gives a balance between apple and google.

I saw a YouTube video some years ago where they referred to Apple as "the recipe company" and stated that Apple actually hadn't invented anything after Steve Wozniak left the company but only mixed already existing inventions to create a new product. They also urged people to send suggestions of things that they thought Apple had "invented" but none of the viewers could actually come up with anything that Apple had invented. That was quite entertaining to watch. :)

Dude chill out :-) you missed the smiley at the end??? (I hope you do not call/think about a company which earns billions every year a failure. Right???)

Lha mbok aku diajari corone kirim lampiran email (liyane file foto & video) nganggo app email bawaan WP. Hp Nokia Symbian kirim lampiran file opowae ora masalah, lha Wp 8.1 tetep ora iso.
Jok ojok malah kowe sing pekok, ora ngerti yen wp 8.1 mung isok kirim lampiran email file foto/videoo

Aku wes update ke wp 8.1 preview for developer, sing gawe ngak habis pikir, kenopo isok gawe cortana, notification & action centre dll, tp kirim lampiran aneka file ora iso, padahal kuwikan fitur mutlak kanggo urusan bisnis.

Kie, nangapa pada reang sih?

Arep ngirim lagu apa dokumen liane nganggo email? ya gari donlot bae Aerize File Explorer, File Picker, FileEx. Tp aja diinstal nang sd card, nek sd card elek malah nge crash.
Nek wis diinstal, golet file sing arep di share. Golet tombol share, ana email, blutut (murubna gisit), one drive, cloud6, dll.
Ati-ati file lampiran nang email ana batasanne. Tergantung yahoo, hotmail, live, gmail.

Nek inyong mah mendingan di sog na nang onedrive apa dropbox, batesanne ora kayak nang email. Mengko wong sing arep donlot gari donlot.

Kamsia kang yocktan, mestine pemilik hp ojok dipekso manfaatno gudang awaan, dadi diwenehi pilihan kirim lampiran langsung ning email, wlpun jan2ne yow podho ae, ning urung kabeh wong familier karo gudang awan...wes aku nunggu file manager resmi sokok Wp ae, jarene wulan juni arep diterbitke... :)

Soccer is the sports where touching the ball with hand is penalty (except for the goal-keeper), as its the "true football", so its actual name is "Footbal" and it makes perfect sense!

In US its different: Football is the one in which you use hands and shoulders mostly. Kicking the ball (with foot) is optional (and happens very rare). Its stupid, I agree but since nobody is complaining; we got to live with it.

What is he talking about? Microsoft services are terrible in Asia Pacific. Bing is awful, no Bing smart search, no Xbox music (HK), no Cortana (probably the last to get), etc etc. O_O

Yeah I don't see how MS is doing good in Asia from the two markets I'm familiar with (HK and Japan).  The bit about how people don't know some services such as Skype belonging to MS has some truth in it, but otherwise I'm really not seeing how MS is making progress with their brand as a whole. Maybe if he thinks China = Asia then perhaps his comments about gravity is correct, but from the little of what I know MS isn't strong in China either (mainly because people their are always looking at free alternatives to cut cost, including in legit business which don't pirate).  Can't read the article because it's behind paywall but I would really like to see how he came to this conclusion.

Hong Kong, Taiwan, China and Japan got Surface and Surface Pro, don't know the other countries but I know it's fair to say not every country in Asia got Surfaces

Hong Kong is not China, we don't even speak the same official language (Cantonese vs Mandarin) or the same writing system (Traditional Chinese vs Simplified Chinese) - common mistake by foreigners.  Hong Kong also don't have the Great Firewall of China etc.  Cortana being able to recognise Mandarin is all but useless to a Hong Konger.

Also on a wider scale - China doesn't equal Asia either.  Claiming that because Cortana is going to be available in China thus Asia Pacific is served is like saying because Cortana will be available in UK English that Europe is covered - ignorant and stupid to forget these're dozens of countries in Europe that don't speak English, just like there are dozens of countries in Asia where Mandarin isn't spoken.

"...gravity of the world is shifting to Asia" ... How come no apples (surface pro2) not falling on our heads yet ?! :(

Of course Microsoft is cool. That's why everybody is copying their minimalistic design. They've rendered Apple's shiny 3D icons obsolete so bad even THEY copied Microsoft on iOS7.
They're setting trends in design now.

Yes.. Please do a better job of telling Microsoft's story.. Microsoft is a very cool company,with innovative and cool products as well.

Microsoft is famous is a company providing softwares to enterprises. In public they are only well known by windows and MS office

If Microsoft wants to rival apple and google, they're gonna have to dumb down branding and use hip, young talk l like "facetime" should be BroChat and Cortana should be "Microsoft Windows Phone Nokia Lumia 1520 now" or even call their tablets " WinPad/WoogleTab I joke of course, I hate the consumers of today making junk commonplace and abundant :(

Funny how Asia rarely includes Japan. I was shocked to see that Windows Phone clocked up 1% in Japan. Windows phone 8 was "postponed" never to be seen at any carrier. If it ain't Android or iOS, it ain't in Japan. Have I bought enough apps and logged in with Wp8,1 to register? Dammed I'm good! ;)

"gravity of the world is shifting to Asia"...

Surface Pro 2 still not available for sale here, no Bing Rewards and other Bing services in general sucks. Same goes for Cortana, it is currently limited to USA (unless we change the phone region to US) in its Beta form and will stay so even after launch. Asia countries is only expected to get it in 2015...

Couldn't edit my post for some unknows reasons...

To add to the top of the list, Xbox One is also not available for sale here in Singapore. It is only expected to be released some time late 2014.

To be fair the rest of Asia (HK, Taiwan, Japan, China etc) isn't getting the XB1 until Q3 either, so we are treated equally in this regard lol.

True, and to think that this Microsoft's Asia César Cernuda still says that "gravity of the world is shifting to Asia" while it's services isn't...

It's not entirely the fault of Microsoft that the Xbox One will take awhile to be made available in Singapore. Anyway, the Surface Pro 2 will not be sold in Singapore. Only the Surface 2. Don't hold your breath for the Lumia 2520 either.

I hope they can distribute the surface series much more easily now that Nokia's presence in retail has also come under MS through their devices and services purchase...that is one of the key things am looking forward to through this purchase...the purchase probably will push MS into considering spreading their presence in many of the developing countries...

Now, it's time to bring more features to Asia Pacific, be it WP, Bing, etc. Make it in par with North America!

Doesn't exist. I ran into an MS rep two years ago. Saw he had the Fujitsu/Toshiba *first Mango device to market( and showed him my HTCX (running unlocked on an iPhone sim as Softbank would not accept a device "not manufactured in Japan or passed by Japan" on the network. he said, "Yeah. Everyone one here seems to love Android." I view Microsoft here as an also ran wanna be that does the usual Shogannai (can't be helped). They are busily enlisting college students to be developers, for what I have no idea. As noted above, when the 920 and 8X were announced it was announced that Windows Phone 8 was postponed (delayed) in Japan. 2 years later, still no sign it will ever get here. Last person I saw with a Windows Phone handset was still running 7.5... not even aware of how to get the update.

Japan is a special case because their carrier system is same as the US - if the carriers don't want to carry a phone there is no way to put it on the market.  In this case it really is something they can't help.

Nokia pulled out of the market just before the launch of Windows Phone. I had a Toshiba Windows Mobile handset before that on Softbank. Reps for the Windows Phone on KDDI told me they would love to be on more carriers, but were focused on selling their handset overseas. Right. For the time, not a horrible set, but limited to KDDI networks. But, 32gb, 13.5mp camera and waterproof. Crazy that.

Exactly that, which is why WP not doing well in Japan is shouganai (can't be helped) because a lot of the factors are beyond MS' control, with Nokia's complete withdraw being one of the biggest reason for no Lumias in Japan.  Also Nokia pissed off the carriers in Japan big time as they went against the grain and set up shop to sell unlocked feature phones before the smartphone boom, which is a big no no as it breaks the carrier lock-in model, as such the carriers forced Nokia out by making it incredibly difficult to sign up for a plan which doesn't come with a phone.  But then again, Nokia wasn't ready to sell unlock phones either as their device don't support a lot of the Japanese services either thus rendering their phones pretty useless, but overall Nokia's story in Japan is one of huge failure that's worthy of a business text book case study all in itself.

Also besides Toshiba, Sharp used to be pretty close to MS and released many experimental WinMo device in Japan (granted, only on niche carriers), I found it strange they never got Sharp to release a WP device.  Plus Sharp is extremely strong in Japan (bigger than Sony for mobile, not something most foreigners would expect), huge missed opportunity there.  But then again it's not like the Japanese OEM were rolling in money so they were probably a lot less willing to commit to these small projects with very little prospects of ROI.

+720 +520
Had they supported India /other asian countries, they might have seen much much better days. But sadly and unfortunately, their offerings are always kinda one sided. I love Microsoft. I want to love it even more, but can't.

Windows Mobile -> Windows Phone
Hotmail -> Live / Windows Mail -> Outlook
Re-branding/change of name shouldn't be done too often... Consumers often get confused and neither it's a good thing for the company.

Should Microsoft hire an Asian for their Asian market? I know that comes off really wrong, but I don't know how to ask it without sounding racist.

Asia/Pacific ??


As in Australia and New Zealand as well, plus the pacific islands etc

Maybe this guy is an aussie or kiwi !

The guy was working in Latin America division before in sales and marketing.  Perhaps his experience in Latin America allows him to grasp developing nations better, which admittedly is what most of the APEC countries are.

Also while I know that Australia and New Zealand is technically Microsoft Asia Pacific, I always reckon they should actually be lumped with Europe, makes more sense that way from the cultural and economic sense (and thus spending habits and requirements).

Am hoping with Nadella on the throne MS gets a better perspective of how much they are lacking in India and other countries comparatively...hopefully Nadella is biased enough to give these markets the much needed push...

They can do more with Skype.....also now that they own Nokia Lumia they need new hardware because iPhone 6 if it comes out thin like the leaked photos and 4.7inch and 5.5inch they again will blow windows phone and Samsung out of the water