Microsoft has everything it needs to succeed with consumers, except follow-through

Microsoft Store
Microsoft Store (Image credit: Microsoft)

The contrasting irony to Microsoft's history of failed consumer products is that the company has virtually everything it needs to succeed in the consumer space.

A baker can have a killer cake recipe, but without follow-through, the recipe is nothing more than an unfulfilled plan and promising idea. He may possess and may even proceed to mix the required ingredients in precise accordance with the recipe. He may pour that perfect mixture into an appropriately greased cake dish and may have also preheated the oven to the correct temperature for the exact length of time the recipe requires. But if he fails to follow through putting that pan into the oven, nothing more will come of it. He will forever possess a mixture that has the potential to become a cake.

Microsoft has created a promising mixture of consumer technology throughout its history. Sadly, the company doesn't seem to have the fire for the consumer space its rivals have. Consequently, the company appears to be in a perpetual cycle of talking about its recipes, letting us taste the batter but never applying the heat to make the products a consumer success. For companies to succeed in the consumer space, they must often be innovative, require massive financial resources for marketing, broad distribution channels and partnerships, and a strong and recognized brand. Microsoft has all of this; what it lacks is follow-through.

Microsoft CEO admits repeatedly abandoning consumers was a mistake

Microsoft is innovative

Windows 10 Fall Creators Update expands the Mixed Reality platform to span immersive VR and AR holograms.

Microsoft is a company with a history of pushing boundaries and making early investments in tech before it becomes "conventional wisdom." CEO Satya Nadella made this point in a recent GeekWire interview.

Things look like failures until they're not. They're very binary transitions because of these network effects in technology, so you have to be able to see things that are changing long before they are conventional wisdom. Take bets and then go after them in a strong way.

He admitted the company's investments in AI and mixed reality began under the tenure of his predecessors. Thus, Microsoft's 2015 introduction of its Mixed Reality strategy via the hardware, HoloLens, and platform, Windows Mixed Reality, was based on years of previous investment.

Until recently, the tech media has been more enamored with HoloLens than the holographic computing platform play Microsoft began executing in 2015. Sadly, Microsoft has been equally reserved with its messaging about holographic computing which will potentially affect the consumer and enterprise spaces. Windows Holographic API's are part of Windows 10, but relatively few developers have created WIndows holographic apps. Now with Apple's and Google's smartphone-focused ARKit and ARCore respectively, the stories around Microsoft's AR efforts are more often than not, about how they will be overshadowed by the competition in the consumer space.

Even without a consumer-focused HoloLens, Microsoft must market AR sooner than later

Far too often Microsoft sleeps its lead away

This is a familiar story. Microsoft was present on tablets and smartphones long before Apple and Google entered the fray. The current state of mobile doesn't reflect that head start, however. AI, machine learning, natural language procession and deep neural networks are also areas Microsoft has a strong history.

But other digital assistants built on that, and similar tech have established mindshare in the consumer space that Microsoft, even with 500 million Cortana-equipped Window 10 PCs is still struggling to achieve.

Amazon's Alexa, Google Home, Apple's Siri and Samsung's Bixby's (with its leap to consumer appliances via Viv technology) will all likely overshadow Microsoft's Cortana in the consumer space long into the future. The Cortana-powered Harmon Kardon Invoke speaker follows Microsoft's Johnny-come-lately tradition which brought Cortana to smartphones after Siri and Google Now were established and familiar stalwarts on mobile.

Bill Gate's and Steve Ballmer paved the way for Nadella's AI and bots

Marketing, marketing, marketing

As a company valued in the hundreds of billions of dollars, Microsoft has enough capital to push any of its consumer efforts for the long haul. Consistent Windows 10 television ads are encouraging evidence that Microsoft can commit to aggressive marketing akin to what rivals Apple and Samsung execute. The company is more espoused to a marketing strategy that leans on marketing one product via the use of another per Corporate Marketing Officer Chris Capossela, however.

[Marketing] dollars spent around engagement can be effective, but .... product design is far more effective at getting people to be deeply engaged in your products. So... using our amazing innovation engineering resource pool to actually build marketing into our products... so that when you use one of our products it naturally leads you to use another one of our products.

Capossela acknowledges that as one of the world's most recognized brands focusing marketing dollars on acquiring customers is not Microsoft's strategy. He supported this argument with the fact that a simple announcement of the availability of Office for iOS and Android resulted in millions of downloads. That works for a known Microsoft branded product, but what about less visible products like Windows phones, HoloLens and augmented reality (AR) or Mixed Reality headsets?

Even without consumer-focused HoloLens, Microsoft must market AR sooner than later

With Mixed Reality is Microsoft changing its ways?

Under the leadership of Elizabeth Hamren, Microsoft has invested in an aggressive marketing strategy to promote its partners Mixed Reality headsets, and the company's mixed reality vision. It will be interesting to see just how aggressive and persistent these marketing efforts will be given Microsoft's history.

Will Microsoft have the stamina to push the products and technology long enough to establish mindshare and demand? Or will it abandon its efforts if results are not as immediate as desired? Sadly, Nadella has confessed to abandoning committed customers to pursue "the new shiny object." Let's hope nothing shines brighter than the still unproven area of Mixed Reality.

Fortunately, Microsoft has the partnership infrastructure to help it succeed. Though different products, like smartphones via carriers, face different distribution challenges, phone hardware requirements, lateness to the consumer space and limited marketing support contributed to Microsoft's failure in phones. Hopefully, Microsoft has learned from its mistakes.

So busy providing tools, Microsoft isn't using its resources

Ambient computing among consumers supported by AI, IoT and smart appliances are the future and Microsoft is virtually absent in that space. The company has failed to apply the required drive to consumer-facing products to establish its brand.

Microsoft's vision to provide the tools others use to create technology may be a double-edged sword severing it from the consumer market. Because the company's focus is "being a platform" it invests insufficient resources in its consumer products.

Sadly the company repeatedly steps into a consumer space with great products that excite core users, like Zune and Groove for music, Microsoft Band for wearables and Windows phone for mobile, but ultimately fails to deliver marketing to truly hit the mainstream. Those who embrace Microsoft products often love them. Microsoft doesn't have the fire, focus or passion for making these products more than a great mix of technology for a niche market, however. As insufficiently supported products they eventually die as self-fulfilling prophecies that achieved little consumer notoriety.

Microsoft can succeed with enterprise and consumers.

Rather than a hyper-focus on providing the tools others use to create technology, Microsoft should lead by example through demonstrating its use of its resources to develop, position, market and deliver on excellent consumer technology.

Microsoft has what it takes to be the platform company it strives to be and the consumer company it needs to be if it would only follow-through.

Jason Ward

Jason L Ward is a columnist at Windows Central. He provides unique big picture analysis of the complex world of Microsoft. Jason takes the small clues and gives you an insightful big picture perspective through storytelling that you won't find *anywhere* else. Seriously, this dude thinks outside the box. Follow him on Twitter at @JLTechWord. He's doing the "write" thing!

  • That's the one critical weakness. Achilles heels!
  • if Microsoft needs to learn something, they need to learn it from windows phone (from the beginning to the end).  no support, no marketing, failed promises, lies lies and lies and abandoning/stabbing consumers/fans in the back. 
  • it is clear that consumers/developers backed away from Microsoft's services and software. it is clear that support for UWP will decline (they didn't reach the promised windows 10 milestone), the same goes for groove, and windows phone fiasco. Heck, even office, surface and azure might be on the way. There are even companies that pulled their hands from Microsoft like GE, delta airlines and even NYPD. It's the LACK IF TRUST Microsoft that you created.
  • It's the lack of trust MICROSOFT'S CURRENT CEO has created.
    With Ballmer still in office noone would've suspected them to leave core or marquee product. Windows Mobile might have lost them money, but sometimes you gotta lose money to keep a relationship alive. I think it's almost impossible to quantify the loss in trust among consumers and developers Microsoft imbued upon themselves by abandoning Windows Mobile in money. More and more often I read that the current CEO has been pressured to these actions by activist shareholder groups. If that's right, he's an unbelievably weak CEO.
    By the way: This marks the first time I have to agree with Jason Ward. Strange things happen all the time...
  • On the W10M part, Nadella can't even say that MS did their best when they quit after less than 3 years and didn't bring all the features they first planned. It was said before they had the resources to make it good, but did not. Someone needs to seriously question the corporate people there why their big words in presentations are just empty ones and they can never persevere to achieve something
  • The GE deal will be a landmark for the enterprises to start migrating out of the Windows platform.  MS' killing off Windows mobile would threaten all their other business exept Cloud and Office.  Nadella is a Cloud guy.  He has no heart and will on expanding the Windows and devices business, especially the consumer sectors.  He should be replaced soon before it is too late.
  • Agree 100%. The failure to follow through on the promise not to abandon WM could be a deciding blow and keeping him around to unleash more potentially catastrophic blows is weak. If the stock is high but doom seeps into other sectors as indicated by NYPD then Microsoft might wake up to find they lost a lot more than the mobile market.
  • Right!  a few years ago, Nokia was doing so much marketing, that their windows phones were selling better than android or ios in many markets.  Then Microsoft acquired nokia, and ignored all that Nokia learned.  And thus yet another failure in the consumer market.  My prediction:  the Cortana powered speakers will be the next product to be abandoned - they are late to market, over priced, and not as functional as competitor products, and thus won't sell well, wont be supported well, and will die a slow death instead of getting the updates they really need to push them ahead.  
  • unfortunatley they saw windows phone's failure by the numbers (units sold) and didn't see it's success as an ecosystem. I wouldn't say more support but better would be the correct term from devs, more uwp apps more users more store revenue from apps, music, movies, office, onedrive, etc. look at whatsapp for example it's not even a uwp. one more thing is that microsoft didn't see windows phones secceed in the US and look what they are doing. making almost everything US only. good luck with that microsoft. there might be one thing Daniel or Jason or Zac can try to answer. if microsoft wants windows 10 to be one OS one platform. then why do they deal with it seperately (phone alone, pcs alone, xbox alone) when one of the platform categories doesn't succeed?
  • They only had a few commercials in the USA; the wedding one for the 1020 and a camera on on AT&T or Sprint, otherwise the Nokia one were oversees ava techies saw them on the internet. Overall in the Microsoft did nothing to promote the products after Ballmer left; Satya went on a killing spree with the exception of anything cloud!
  • What you said is 100% true. it's like microsoft doesn't have a marketing department anymore. I've only seen Microsoft's NFC ads nothing else. the wold is much bigger thatn NFL and guess what there's no store support from NFL. And OMG! you just reminded me about the funny wedding commercial that was hilarious I'm gonna watch it right now. Here is the link if any one wants to watch it.
  • Yes it´s a very sad story, Microsoft are sliding back out of the dance. They did a big mistake with all the stupid Lumia phones, all lot of cheap garbage. And all these cheap phones was only a extremely bad advertising, showing bad monitors and slow processors.
    All these cheap Lumia phones was a extremely big mistake. Instead they needed two high end devices, devises for enterprise and consumers.
    They only needed these high end devices / a Surface phone /and this way put everything together in ONE. What people want, is a completely system, all in ONE hanging together, Surface all the way.
    Believe me, they will loose a lot of customers, even they try to make the software for Android and Apple. It was a big mistake to kick all consumers away, we are all consumers, also the people in big enterprises.
    The next problem for Microsoft, everything take years, and the high tech train is running fast, but Microsoft can follow the speed.
    Who want buy a device from Microsoft, less and less people, we know they will drop us tomorrow, and we stay alone back with Android or Apple.
    The last thing, these devices starts to be much to expensive, and when you cant trust Microsoft as a partner and stable supplier, you choose different suppliers from beginning - Android or Apple.
    Monday we will order 4 new Samsung 8 Note, as a beginning.
    One of them will buy Microsoft, only because of the software, just wait few years.
    For our self, we will in the future change everything - Android and Samsung, it works well. Huawei could be another player, but I think Samsung is a good choice, they develop fast and make top devices. Goodbye to all Surface, Xbox and Windows devices from here.
    Nadella was a huge mistake. Let us get Balmer back, quick.
    And with Nadella the shares will soon go to half, it will run like a big fire when it starts, just wait and look at it. People who is a little bit smart will sell all shares - asap.
    His management is on the short terms, not what they need, on the long run.
    Best regards from a very loyal supporter for 20 years, but sometime enough is enough.  
  • "Nadella the shares will soon go to half" Umm. Umm. Umm. Microsoft's share price is going through the roof, not the floor. "very loyal supporter for 20 years" I feel for you. I really do. You've tied your personal identity to a for-profit company run on behalf of share holders. Microsoft made its money on software. That's not a particularly lucrative field to be in anymore. Mobile is where it's at and Apple and Android own mobile's operating systems. Microsoft is naturally going to focus its efforts where it gets the best return for its money--the cloud. You, as a loyal supporter, are not particularly lucrative. Chances are you don't own a host of Surface devices which means your profitability to Microsoft is low. If you're looking for a company who will be loyal to you, look to Apple. Apple customers are profitable to Apple, and, as such Apple works hard to keep them happy. Look at Apple's extremely high retention rates. Apple users are generally happy with Apple's products and services (much more so than Dell, HP, customers etc.), enough so that they're prepared to pay top dollar to access them.
  • I couldn't agree with you more!! (Former Windows phone owner)
  • If MS wants to succeed in the consumer market MS must create a separate division that's sole purpose is to excite, inform, place, promote, and sale the consumer products MS makes.. This would be beyond just a marketing division. This would house the marketing division. This division would not only push MS's products on consumers, this division would push MS to move faster, in the right directions, target every demographic tactfully, and push MS to refresh product ranges more consistently. This division would be at the front of the company. This is the division that would set the tone for consumer perception, and knowledge, about every consumer facing product. This division would be be the face of MS.
  • It isn't that complicated. Microsoft needs to build great products. Period. They have no problems getting product into people's hands. The issue they have is getting people to love and use said products. Word of mouth spreads fast. If Microsoft had a superior product that excited people, it would get noticed and people would adopt it. Microsoft doesn't have many superior products. Most of them are quite mediocre and late to market. That is a recipe for disaster.
  • I already told you I like women ONLY! Stop flirting with me for the last damn time! You just don't get the message. We don't have anything against your "needs" and you're free to live the life you choose, but have some respect for those who don't want to date men. I won't bother you, and you don't bother me... It's a damn shame I can't come on this site without your advances. Just stop! Go find a guy who likes you, but leave me, and others here alone.... End of conversation.
    "Me Too!!!"
  • I know you can't justify your poor arguments for Microsoft's failure. Every time you post this silly idea that Microsoft products failed because of marketing, I will respond with the truth. People see and try Microsoft's products. Microsoft has no issues getting products into people's hands, they aren't some unknown startup. They just need to make great products. There is a ton of competition these days. Mediocre experiences aren't going to cut it.
  • How else could I put this so you will understand... YOU, AND ME, WILL NEVER BE A "THING!"... Leave me alone! Do you understand?
    Yes, it's like that. The only reason I come here is to talk about MS/Windows related topics.. Your unwanted advances have nothing to do with MS, Windows, or anything most men here care to talk about.
    It doesn't matter what you type, I'm not reading that BS, because it's offensive, and harassing. Just stop, dude/girl. IDK what you go by, and I don't really care. I do know that I'm not interested in your "offers" so quit offering.
    Not interested in dating you, Not interested in dating you, Not interested in dating you, Not interested in dating you, Not interested in dating you, Not interested in dating you, Not interested in dating you, Not interested in dating you, Not interested in dating you, Not interested in dating you, Not interested in dating you, Not interested in dating you, Not interested in dating you....... Damn, I feel like Bart F-in Simpsons over here, and you're the one who should have to stay after class, and write "I will leave Rodney alone because he is not interested in me"...
    Yes, you write that on the chalkboard 300 times until it finally sinks into your ten foot thick head. Damn kid; what's wrong with you?
  • You are a complete moron.
  • "Yes, it's like that. The only reason I come here is to talk about MS/Windows related topics.. Your unwanted advances have nothing to do with MS, Windows, or anything most men here care to talk about." I'll bite. What were you doing last night? It seems like it must've been some good stuff :). Or, are you trying (unsuccessfully) to illustrate Microsoft's marketing strategy?
  • No, they have problems getting the product into people's hand. Maybe not in the USA but in other countries we can't get MS products. Most of MS products and services only available in the USA. The first thing they have to do is make every product and service available globally, so they will have a chance to sell their products.
  • @Burhan "No, they have problems getting the product into people's hand." They really don't have a problem getting products into people's hands. They are everywhere there are profits to be made and that's not globally! There's little money to be made "globally". Premium products are where Microsoft's consumer profit margins are at and premium products aren't going to drive major profits outside of the developed markets. If Microsoft can't make its mark in the marketplace of developed countries, how do you think it's going to fare in places where people (by-and-large) cannot afford their products? Consider two "similar" economies like Canada and India. They have the same GDP. They're both geographically quite large (Canada is only 3 times larger). But--and here's the difference--India has 36 times the population at 1.25 billion people vs. Canada's 35 million. In theory, a company could earn a similar amount off both countries since they have the same GDP. However, to Microsoft's bottom line Canada is likely a much more profitable place to be in terms of short and medium term ROI. You have to reach far fewer people in terms of marketing and outreach, and, when you do, those people have orders of magnitude more disposable income. Sure, in 20 years you could start earning more in India, but, 20 years is two lifetimes in the world of tech.
  • Exactly. If they cannot penetrate the US market, where not only disposable income is high but developers also value, then how can they ever convince people in other countries to buy their products? Marketing is important, but it won't make a difference if you don't have a desirable product. Marketing is really easy when you have a great product to sell. It is really have when you don't.
  • Why are you commenting on someone's post that you know doesn't like you? Do you want them to be your friend?
    Because, they won't..... They won't ever give you what we all know you want...... Are, you in denial?
  • Honestly, I never paid much attention to who made the post. I just look at the content. I guess your content is regularly incorrect and requires some push back.
  • I read "Honestly".... And nothing else. Just like yesterday, I told you that I'm not interested in dating you, or being your little "buddy".... I just want you to go away. You're nasty, and your constant advances are unwanted... Yet you keep wasting your time trying to make points that I don't even read.. I don't even know what you're talking about because I completely DON'T READ ANY OF YOUR BS COMMENTS once I see your username.. 😂😂😂
    Think about it. Have you gotten an argument from me? I couldn't. I have no idea what you write. I just assume it's some BS about you trying to hookup with me because you keep coming back even after I told you I'm not interested at all in your advances.... Only a "man like you" would keep trying. A desperate man... So, just save your time, and stop.. Just stop man. Nobody here likes you, or cares about what you have to say. Nobody cares. Nobody cares, poor lost boy.
    Nobody cares.
  • Great idea! Whether or not they read these boards and use your thoughts is another thing, but excellent idea none the kess. It's sort of like a "Shared Services Division" like some multinational companies do/use to keep the said multinational company on track, moving forward to the collective goal.
  • Well, actually it's more like "Microsoft", and "the company who knows how to run MS"
  • The headline says it all. I think Microsoft gets stuck in the, "this newly released product to consumers, is old news to us." Because they've been developing it for so long, its become old to them. It's a typical creators dilemma. They need to realize that their new products are new to us, and push them with advertising long after they are tired of them. This problem is obvious as they keep saying they are chasing the next bend in the curve, while neglecting the here and now. They need a phone now, with today's technology, even while they are chasing the next best phone technology, that no one has yet. They may actually have a very innovative, forward looking device, that will be copied and reiterated within six months of release. There is no jump in innovation that won't be copied very quickly. Trust that the next device will be better than the current device is what is important. Not, will this device even be viable in a year, and will there be something to replace it that is better? Microsoft has seriously messed up their most important asset. Customer trust. Consumers are people. The enterprise is run by people. Microsoft needs to learn that no matter what demographic they target, they are dealing with people. Humans who go to work in the enterprise, are the same humans who are consumers after work. Why is this so hard to understand? 
  • At this point I think they don't care. They just want to have the patents and profit from others using their ideas. Microsoft makes billions each year from patents alone.
  • @SaschaDr "I think they don't care". That is true. Microsoft is making money hand-over-fist. They're doing things right. Just because they're not a particularly successful consumer goods company doesn't mean they're not a successful computer company.
  • Upvote on the title Jason!
  • No. Follow through does not solve the negative connotation the company has, follow through or not. Example was on Friday night Bill Mahrs show, the 'new rules' included a section about Russian based social media use in 2016 and had a line saying one post could be shared out so 'millions of fb and Twitter users would see it. And one guy on Bing.' Got huge laughs. Microsoft to consumers is a joke. There was also the zune joke at the end of Guardians 2. But it goes back a long way. Has nothing to do with what's happened in last 5 years. The rep was here years before. It was built as an institution with the Mac vs PC campaign. Those forever branded MS as not cool and buy other companies instead. MS is looked on as the joke company that tries to imitate others. Whether true or not doesn't matter. Fans have been gnashing teeth that MS gave up on consumers when the fact is MS just woke up to the fact that when it comes to personal computing the West esp US simply stopped desiring anything with the name MS in front of it when they learned they didn't need it.
  • Microsoft invented Windows Hello before Apple and Google, today the iPhone X's best features is Face authentication also Augmented reality was pioneered by Hololens which is a Microsoft idea, Cortana is much better than Siri or Google or Amazon assistant, unfortunately Microsoft isnt selling a speaker But the technology is there, is just a matter of upper management initiative to think in Microsoft as a consumer first Company
  • There were phones with facial recognition and iris scanners years before Windows Hello.
  • 100 %agree
  • Going back to the Nokia days when here city lens had augmented reality and MSFT took over and the features went. Nokia and carl Zeiss we leading the way in camera tech and again MSFT came and messed that up. As soon as the Nokia was replaced with MSFT on the Lumia devices all good features were stripped off and Satya did everything in his power not to invest in the platform. MSFT wants to blame developers yet they spent all the time developing apps for other platforms. Imagine if they invested half the effort in office, and all other apps on ios and android on their own platform. Do what apple has done make apps for wp and force people to come to you instead of going to them  
  • They tried that for years. It didn't work. They didn't start seriously making apps for Android until 2015. WP was beyond dead by then.
  • The biggest problem really though is that when Microsoft had their most positive public image for the brand, it wasn't to the general public. It was through nerds like me who built our pcs to play games and used DOS 5.0 then moved to windows 3.11 and it blew our minds. And our families used the same pc for house productivity.  But pc's were still largely bought by whoever was the 'tech' person in the house, and it stayed that way for all of their other consumer products. Then the IPod was released, marketed specifically NOT to technical people. And it all went down hill from there. By the time those same people were being shown that the 'Mac' was cool and "PC" was a stodgy nerd several times a night on network tv in the mid 2000s, it was all over. That's what the general public believed going foward. Want proof? The saga of the windows phone retail experience is your proof.  
  • I've been singing that same song and dance for years. Miscrosoft should have fired their in house advertising V.P.'s, as well as their advertising companies years ago. I had a Zune, and absolutely loved it, and today I still use Bing!. Yes, they are a joke when it comes to consumer use, but in no way are they a joke in the enterprise market, although with the recent exodus of companies, they could certainly be headed that way. What they (Microsoft) fails to see, are 1: Cradle to the Grave is very real, 2: What technology you use at work / school greatly influences what technology you use at home. The cloud services that MSFT offers to enterprise, and in part to consumers, are huge profit centers. In the real world, those that hold the data rule, and MSFT seems to, no, is, embracing that at the expense of not only consumer, but to an extent enterprise, as I mentioned above. Products such as Windows, and Office will suffer too in the long run. 
  • Yeah but Bing market share has grown steadily and is now an extremely profitable business for MS in the US. So old fart Bill Maher can make all his corny jokes, but Bing is making bank and Cortana is basically just Bing with a voice. Everyone using the Windows 10 search box/Cortana is already using Bing.   I would agree about just slapping the name MS in front of products like MS Band. People don't associate MS with Fitness category so it makes no sense. However I think the Zune brand and braiding was good. If MS had spent more on marketing, not given up and most importantly identified the specific consumer base they could target that was unique from iTunes then I think Zune might've been successful. The Xbox and Surface are examples of how MS can build successful consumer brands, but it takes commitment, enormous marketing, good branding and understanding who the audience is for the brand.
  • But what 'specific consumer base' are you talking about? That would have been us. The big problem is after Apple converted the non-technical people, they needed MORE than us. They already got us to buy Zune - I had one the first week.  But 'normals' were the real key, and lets face it, looking back at the 2000's to today, MS just never revirbrated with them. Yes, if they had had better marketing back in 2003-2008 they would have been much better positioned, but I'll also submit the co-conspirator here -  Intel. Microsoft had lots of interesting mobile pc/tablet ideas. All flopped with everyone but business because Intel could never figure out the power/battery equation to make the things usable for normal people. They never really cared about anything other than the PC. And now they're hurting almost as much.  
  • The "Zune Joke" at the end of Guardians 2 is not just a joke, it's establishing the story arc of Guardians 3. The soundtrack for Guardians 3 will be a message in a bottle from Yondu to Peter, delivered via Zune.
  • 1. Spoilers aren't cool. 2. Doesn't matter - the impact of the joke is they are using 'ancient' earth technology that no one else wanted. The very fact that they can just float the name out and it becomes the joke is the problem. Once people view your company and its products as a joke, you're not ever getting it back. You can spend billions on ads. Your brand to the general public is tainted.
  • Yep, MS is becoming a laughing stock. Well done Naddy, now you can write a book about how not to run a company. That would be the first honest thing you've come out with.
  • Jason, what about Microsoft being ahead of the curve?
  • Their vision of Mobile is and was ahead of the curve. Poor execution sadly undercut a great vision.
  • Poor LEADERSHIP....there fixed that for you Jason.  It's all about the LEADERSHIP.  
  • Thanks for fixing that, I was just about to hit the auto correct key 😁. It's time for Satya, Terry, and Joe you go! All in favor say I.
  • @OMG65 Did you just not read where Microsoft's worth cloud based vision has propel Microsoft’s market value to $600 billion?  Highest ever!  The board nor investers will be getting rid of Satya anytime soon.  Sadly.  With the departure of Delta and GE this gives credence to me the the Surface brand might go belly-up in two or three years.  I hope not.  But the Surface hardware doesn't have a role in the Cloud so it might be time to file 13 them.
  • There is a window of opportunity here. Both Apple and Google are having a bad time with their phones, among other things.
  • Yea, but MS are having a bad time with their CEO so not much chance of them taking up the baton.
  • Microsoft should create one enterprise company, and one consumer company. Those companys should go to the mother company for engineering tasks, and do their own ads. As long as they try to hit those two markets with the same type of marketing, they are doomed, at least in one of the markets, at present time that is the consumer market. And they should aknowledge that they are a global company, and treat at least the bigger markets in the same way. As an example, Cortana dosen't really work outside the US.
  • Boy, this certainly took some thought to put together this article. Well thought out, well stated and alas, will never be read or seen by the people in MS that could make a difference.
  • They'll see it if they read tube tweets I send them. Check @OMG55
  • Its not too late, Android AOSP is good choice to pick up as a mobile platform, Microsoft needs to setup Windows Android store powered by Azure cloud infrastructure so Developers can push their Apps into this store  Second, we need A Surface Android phablet which supports Windows Ink, Windows Hello on Android, Virtual Reality and supports Continuum applications like Office, OneDrive, Outlook, One Note, etc Third we need a Cortana speaker which serves as a Home hub for Internet of things 
  • I'd rather not have a Win-Droid anything thanks, Microsoft already have an OS they can use so they don't NEED Android.
  • Windows Mobile will never get enough developers support is time to stop wasting Microsoft money and resources on a failed platform 
  • It's not the platform that failed it was the company behind the platform. Just last week another Apple Phone user told me how cool my L650 was and how they wished their phone had a start screen like that.
  • @bebochek,  ANNNNNNDDDDDD here is another.  Unfortunately,  The app situation and wearables destroyed any chance of windows mobile being a viable option for MANY people.  I picked up another awesome device yesterday.  Garmin vivoactive.  Did not work with my 1020,  but works completely with my iphone.  Awesome device if you are an outdoor enthusiast.   MS followed the pied piper down the cloud road and now,  will pay the price when that is maxed out and consumers leave in droves.   I am hanging on the hope they don't shitcan windows 10 before they get a visionary CEO at the helm instead of bean counter Satya.
  • It will not happen. These are some features that we continue to put together in a delusional scenario. Consumers do not trust the new Microsoft ecosystem, they use Windows just for what they were using 10-15 years ago, and OEMs are building only Windows-based devices (laptops and desktops), but almost no OEMs choose the new technologies from Microsoft, such as smartwatches, home hubs, IOT, phones, etc. If someone has alternatives, they will not choose Microsoft. That's a fact.
  • Yeah. Microsoft needs to go it alone when it comes to hardware. At least they have done a good job with most of the Surface products. Relying on OEMs is going to be tough going forward. They need to make a product category popular on their own before they can hope to sell it to other manufacturers.
  • They need OEMs. Without OEMs, Microsoft will be just an US-only company, the irony makes Microsoft not to be successful in US in many areas.
    As for creating new categories, I agree that they have to do it, but I think we're exaggerating - if you put the Surface brand on a product, it does not mean it will also be automatically successful. I do not know exactly what the numbers are, but did Surface Pro surpass the Macbook on sales?
  • The whole Surface line combined doesn't hit Macbook numbers.
  • That's why I'm afraid, good products, but not with such good numbers - so the success of the Surface line is relative. Microsoft uses as excuse that the Surface line is meant to show OEMs what they should do, but that's not entirely true. In the US they should be closer to Apple's sales, where all services are 100% supported, there is some marketing, and the price can be similar. In other countries they have no chance, their services are not supported, products are not officially marketed, and prices are controlled by retailers. Bill Gates was a genius when he released Windows, made sure Windows was everywhere on any computer, he signed contracts across all countries, even piracy was an important thing for him - he knew it would help to spread Windows. Today is no longer the case with the new approach. My point is: you choose US-only, you fail!
  • Oh, and by the way, I really think the Android strategy was inspired by Bill Gates' strategy.
  • The "Android strategy" is standard business strategy. Nothing that Bill Gates invented! Mac provides a premium experience and sells premium hardware. Windows provides a standard experience and sells cheap hardware. That there's a premium Windows hardware market is surprising. Of course, the lion's share of profits go to Apple in the premium segment. The same sort of dynamic has developed on mobile phones. Apple's iOS is a premium OS and sells premium hardware. Android is a mixed bag and sells cheap hardware. Not too long ago I saw an analysis which posited that Apple earned more than 100% of the profit in the global mobile phone sphere (since some handset manufacturers operate their lines at a loss as a form of marketing for other products). I don't necessarily buy that argument, but, it does seem quite obvious that iOS is the far more profitable line of products. Android exists as a portal to Google's services (for that matter, iOS functions in the same way... for Google's services). To be a portal it needs to be on everything. It can only be on everything if everything is cheap... which is why Android exists to sell cheap hardware (people aren't going to pay a premium if the premium OS can also run on cheap hardware that "does the job"). Android is ripe for disruption, but, not by Microsoft. Android's appeal is that any handset maker can control the OS experience. Microsoft's OS business model has been to exert absolute control over that experience. No Asus splash screen. No Dell logo plastered on the Start screen. This has been Microsoft's approach from the very beginning. It was successful in the 90's when no one was making a cheap competitor consumer OS. But, now, Android IS that cheap competitor consumer OS. While Windows may still own the cheap desktop sphere, OEMs much prefer Android's flexibility than Microsoft's rigidity. PS Note that I don't refer to Google's flexibility but Android's flexibility. While Google may be the brain behind Android, the reality is that Android isn't fully in Google's control. If you want to market your phone as having Google services you need to meet certain criteria, but, that's it.
  • Android strategy is inspired by the Windows strategy (in the 90's), but adopted to the new trend. It's not a standard business strategy, because in 2007 there was no smartphone business. In the 90's, everything was about OSs, so Microsoft chose the model of a closed OS installed on any computer, giving it total control at the time. Android used the model, but having in mind the idea of ​​a store (idea from Steve Jobs), because it best suits their business type. Android gives the impression it is open source, but it is not. Today is not about operating systems anymore, it's about ecosystems, and the main feature is the store. Any version of Android without Google Play is just another useless OS. Many people continue to say that Android is just about ads, but it is not, is the OS with the highest market share (in all the combined categories). In short, Android for smartphones is what's Windows is for desktops.
  • While the Surface line may be slick, Microsoft is a software company and its expertise is in software. Apple's speciality is providing integrated solutions. That's what it's known for and that's what its loyal customers pay top dollar for. Apple has also been an amazing software company, but, the primary reason for producing software has been to sell high profit margin hardware. When Apple forgets that it's in the business of providing an integrated solution its customers leave it for greener pastures (as what happened in the mid- to late-90's). Microsoft's Surface and Apple's iOS/macOS customers share little in common. The person looking for a vertically integrated solution will not think Surface because Microsoft does not have a history of being an integrated company. Sure, Microsoft is spending good money to be integrated but, ultimately, it has to overcome 30 years of history which is a Herculean task. And, if you're looking for a multi-device integrated solution then Microsoft is definitely not the way to go. iOS and macOS are tight. Android kind of just exists, but, because it has so many different flavours it's struggled to find a full multi-device integration (that would actually run counter to Android since the whole point of Android is to allow each handset maker to control and differentiate the user's experience). And, there is no Microsoft mobile operating system to integrate with Windows (ok, technically there is but Microsoft has officially declared it dead).
  • MS would rather stay away from mobile then develop android. What you are suggesting will make android strong and undercut windows.
  • no! Windows 10 mobile is great system! They should just allow us to port android apps!  and everything will be great
  • "no! Windows 10 mobile is great system! They should just allow us to port android apps!  and everything will be great" It's hard to tell if you're being serious or flippant. If it's the latter, "good one". If it's the former, "oh boy". Porting Android apps to Windows 10 mobile would kill Windows 10 desktop. Who would develop for Windows if they could develop for Android instead? Windows is on the verge of becoming "yet another tablet OS". We've got iPads and we've got Android tablets. They cover most of the range of products from cheap to premium, from stand-alone to integrated. Microsoft has been pushing Windows to become like iOS (not like Android) and it simply doesn't have the app ecosystem or the OEMs to do it. OEMs are busy building Android tablets that run an OS that is under their control, not under a third party's control (Google puts restrictions on them if they want to run Google services, but, those restrictions are minor relative to what Microsoft puts on OEMs if they even want to run bare-bones Windows). The desktop is becoming less interesting. Look at Apple. They've moved out of desktop and into other spheres of computing and have done so successfully. Microsoft has moved into other spheres of computing successfully (cloud) but it has failed to expand itself in the consumer sphere of things like Apple did. It makes sense, Apple used their expertise in building integrated solutions to go after music and after mobile computing (which require integrated solutions to get right). Android swooped in for the cheap mobile experience. And, no one's really challenged Apple's new-found dominance in the world of music distribution. PS I predict that eventually OEMs will get out of making desktops (incl. laptops) for Windows. Because Microsoft controls all of the Windows 10 experience and determines what software is installed on Windows 10 and makes it trivially easy for people to eliminate OEM software the only place OEMs can make money on Windows is the sale of the hardware. That's an awful business to be in. At least if you're a handset maker you can include your own services and generate money that way!
  • Microsoft's Clown Executive Officer is out of touch with what consumers want and need in the current day and age. Sure the new surface books are nice but who is really going to pay that much?
  • And part of their problem was selling cheap devices. How much does a Mac Book cost? An iPhone? People who can afford them can also buy apps, music..... Many people I know who bought Windows Phones bought them because they were cheap, had good hardware (Nokia) and replaceable batteries. They didn't buy much else. iPhone users kept spending. Android doesn't need people to buy much. It's their users Google sells. I think that Microsoft should go for only high end products, the very best they can make and not worry about cost. There will always be someone who can afford it and those are the people Microsoft needs.
  • I never liked Microsoft vision on phone.  Even with Nokia they should have made 3 phones!  Three only.  Nokia1, Nokia2, Nokia3.  Nokia1 Low end.  Nokia2 Mid-range.  Nokia3 High-end.  Give it one name and stick with it.  No 640, 650, 700... this numbering system sucks!  It doesn't give the public something they could hang their hat on.  KISS!  Keep it simple stupid!  Oh well.  what could have been.
  • "I think that Microsoft should go for only high end products, the very best they can make and not worry about cost. There will always be someone who can afford it and those are the people Microsoft needs." So, you mean, go after Apple's customers? The company with the highest customer loyalty numbers in the business? Keeping existing customers is relatively cheap. Acquring new customers requires you to spend considerably. Acquiring Apple customers requires you to spend a lot. And, unless you provide an experience that exceeds Apple's you will simply lose that Apple customer right back to Apple when they realise they've been sold a bill of goods. Of course, if you drink the Microsoft Kool Aid you'll parrot that Microsoft is always better than Apple, but, Apple's valuation in the marketplace says otherwise. That said, I think Microsoft is going in the right direction by going premium for the consumer space, but, for different reasons. Android gives hardware makers freedom. Provided they stick to a few requirements, they get to run Google's services out of the box (which still sells phones) but they can then add their own services to make money that way. Windows gives hardware makers only restrictions. There is no way to customize Windows. Dell can't add its own services to Windows, and, even if it does pre-install something, Microsoft makes it really easy to reset Windows to a "virgin" state without third-party software. The only place to make a profit on a desktop is the hardware and that margin is razor thin. Eventually investors will abandon desktops altogether. Apple is the only truly profitable hardware manfuacturer (other than Samsung which generates its profits off Apple's back ;). And, Apple's profits come from its vertical integration. The difficulty for Microsoft is that there's likely only room for a certain number of premium brands. Apple has that mindshare locked up. And, Microsoft has no mobile presence which means it has no mindshare amongst the generations (<30 year old) who live and die by their mobile device. Android may be the "dominant" mobile platform, but, the reality is that it's only dominant if you cannot afford Android. Typically people jump to an Apple device if they get the money.
  • The problem Microsoft is going to face is that if they don't get in the consumer market, it's going to eat their enterprise revenue. We're already seeing that. The consumerization of IT is here. Enterprises were embracing iPhones and iPads well before they were enterprise ready because it's what people had at home. Training was easier because people already knew how to use it. Users didn't want to carry around a personal phone and a work phone. Decision makers already loved it. I argue that Microsoft lost the Enterprise smartphone battle because they didn't take the consumer smartphone battle seriously enough. And that sort of thing could happen more and more. How long until Amazon's consumer presence causes Amazon Web Services to start eating into Azure's marketshare (assuming it hasn't already)? With there being synergy by being all in on an ecosystem, how much will Windows sales in the enterprise suffer as businesses move to MacOS to get that synergy with their phones? How many businesses have embraced Google's productivity tools in part because they're familiar with Google's tools at home? Those 3 areas, cloud, OS, and productivity, are large portions of Microsoft's revenue. The enterprise plays a big roll in the sales of those areas. But their ability to dominate in those areas is handicapped because the lack of a strong consumer presence. 
  • You are right, IBM once a hardware Company and today a Cloud Company has been in red numbers in the last 3 quarters, Microsoft is in good position today but cloud business profits may not be perpetual.On the other side in APAC consumer boom in technology thanks to growth in the economy is an opportunity cost Microsoft cannot afford to go unseen
  • I see Amazon making a deal with Microsoft soon. If they make a partnership they could put some hurt on Google.
  • Why does Amazon need Microsoft?
  • The companies already have a deal with Alexa and Cortana.
  • Maybe their products just aren't that good? Some people are obviously fans, but when your consumer products continually fail, maybe it's time to take a look at what you're making & reevaluate.
  • Microsoft products are generally very good albeit sometimes flawed. The MS Band 2.0 for example was better than most or all of Fitbit's products (market leader) with the exception of battery life and a wristband defect (something which Fitbit also suffered from early on). These were issues that could easily be fixed in subsequent models. The reality is that MS wanted Band to be just one of many products for the MS Health app/platform and for 3rd parties like Garmin/Casio/Fitbit/Polar to use MS specs and patents to build fitness bands for their platform. The fitness band industry rejected MS advances and so MS was left selling a fitness band when they wanted to sell a fitness platform. This is very much like the story of Xbox except instead of giving up on the console industry when Nintendo, Sega, and Sony ultimately rejected using Windows/Direct-X Microsoft made an enormous financial investment to commit to building the Xbox platform. Microsoft should've done the same with the wearable market, but they needed a stronger brand and a product which was clearly the most powerful smartwatch on the market. It wasn't about fitness wearables to me it was seeing that wearables will someday replace the smartphone for many users and keeping Windows wearable app development active in this growing mobile space.
  • The fitbits are small, fairly sleek and affordable. The Band was huge, clunky and very expensive. Even if it worked well, getting the initial sale must have been really hard with that ridiculous hardware.
  • My personal experiences with the Band 2 & Fitbit products have both been negative & pretty much soured me on the whole fitness tracker watch category. I went through 3 Band 2's in less than a year before MS finally just refunded me. My wife has been through more Charge HR's & Charge 2's than I can remember (although I think the latest Charge 2 has lasted a good 6 months, so maybe their issues have been resolved). My Xbox one has been my only reliable piece of MS hardware & after 15+ years of console development I would expect that to be the case.
  • Had similar issues with fitness bands. Best Buy's extended warranty makes it much less painful. You can easily just get a new one if you have any issues
  • Their failed consumer products have largely been Johnny-come-lately products. Look at the Windows Mobile response to the iPhone. It took years before Microsoft started replicating (<ehem> copying) what Apple did. Same story with the iPod vs. Zune. Zune was a neat idea, but, it came many years after Apple had released the initial iPods. Too little, too late. As for Apple vs. Android vs. Microsoft. Apple went for the premium route. Microsoft and Android went the OEM route. There's only really space for two competitors in the consumer mindshare. One premium, one discount. Apple grabbed the premium role. Android grabbed the discount role. Microsoft was trying to be business-oriented but missed the fact that the consumer market was so powerful that success on the consumer side of things also would lead to success in business. Look at the modern smartphone landscape. BlackBerry and Apple own the business market. Blackberry because they started there. Apple because its products took the consumer world by storm. Android is now mostly for consumer space. It may be prolific, but, because there are so many variants it has yet to succeed in the business space.
  • Great article. It is so true. Microsoft is alienating themselves from people when their core value and principle is to help "people" achieve more. Make all devices and stick with it. How can a terrible company like micromax or nuu or blue make phones and continue to operate when their hardware is years old and Microsoft with its resources can not make it? That is ridiculous.
  • Funny thing is, if they do make a phone again i will buy it with no hesitation. I plan on keeping my 950xl to go along with my androids. I will always be a fan of tec.
  • I'm planning on buying a L950XL new this week. Add it to my L730, L650 and give the L650 break. My L730 is still working fine but some apps now need 2GB of RAM something the 730 & 650 just don't have. My wife also has a Nokia Lumia 800 and a L650, we plan on saving them and maybe in 10 or 20 years they will be collectors items. I may buy a 1020, 930 and a 640 all new and very cheap here in Moscow.
  • I am not seeing enough marketing for the Xbox One X, besides the commercial during the Walking Dead season premier...
  • XBox is one example that Microsoft can create a success if they want.  When the first XBox came out, it was late to the console party and even had a big hardware issue on the original (the red ring thing). But they persisted and now they are part of the big three of the consoles with the PlayStation and whatever console of the day Nintendo has. If they had put just half the effort for Zune or Windows Phone, they'd be a success now.
  • My take is, MS have the power to build anything it wants to. Take holo lens for example. It will rather let OEM design and build the device. Take Cortana speaker, they can build it and bake the cake and eat it too. But OEM are cry baby when MS start taking over hardware. Windows phone is a different story as it has no ecosystem in place I think, MS learn from muscle arm developers or OEM mistake. Also anti trust play a role shaping MS as it is today.
  • OMG...Jason is back in a new way! Jason "The Realist" Ward! Great write up! No more Windows Phone Pipe Dreams. Telling it like it is. It is time to have Microsoft to own up on the future of UWP. Even if that means making it a Stock Holder's worry. Whatever consumer based future Microsoft claims to have rest entirely on UWP maturity, mainstream development acceptance and success.
  • They seem to be slow to the realization that developers sometimes need to be convinced of a new platform's potential thru compelling app demonstrations for said platform.  Basically if they really need UWP to take off and developers still aren't biting then Microsoft needs to rally their own teams and step up to the plate with their own demos of solid UWP apps in popular categories.  The Creative space would be a great one to tackle first.
  • Before UWP we had so many unnecesarry 'resets' that now specially without mobile nobody will take a risk. I won't sell it to my clients, before at least I knew that we are investing into something, some bigger idea and growing platform. Now there's no reason.
  • They don't have the heart for it any longer.
  • When I look at Microsoft, I see two companies. Xbox: Where everything is done right; consumer focused, rightly marketed, very vocal/open (All thanks for Phil). and rest of the company: Where consumers mean nothing, products get late start, they never get marketed and out of the blue get cancelled without any explanation. I don't know how long Phil can stop rest of the company's filthy mentality entering the Xbox division.
  • You think the Xbox launch had everything right? I don't think you are remembering it correctly.
  • They should then let the XBox division make the next phone :-)
  • Why they didn't do that years ago I don't understand. XBox Phone or Mobile would have been much better branding than Windows Phone.
  • Good example is Windows 10 Featured update for Enterprise wasn't created correctly, a lot of computers, including mine, won't install it. If people have to do several things to get it to install, then it wasn't done correctly.  Updates should be able to install without users having to do the tech's job of fixing them. Not all people are tech savvy , they purchased the computer to do sertain  tasks not to do the techs job to get an update to work.
  • Yes exactly! Under this current Microsoft it's most iconic products, Xbox, visual studio, office, never would have been successful. A tech company without will is just sad. 
  • This article is 100% accurate.  That is exactly what Microsoft has done and continues to do, and Nadella is the worst offender.
  • Microsoft is a victim of it's own success. All of those Billions of Dollars running through it is like cholesterol through its veins. Microsoft believe success will come to them so they don't need to chase it. They've become fat and lazy. As long as office and cloud continues to generate revenue Microsoft will merrily eat another pie, smoke another cigarette, down another whiskey and watch the world go by. Big, fat and lazy. That's Microsoft   
  • Microsoft is simply fortunate that their Windows installed base is so large that they will survive.  Businesses will not abandon the marketplace in significant numbers because all of their solutions are Windows based.  Although many are moving to cloud alternatives, the state of ISP's and high speed internet connectivity is not yet sufficient to make cloud services universally appealing.  This reality is the safety net that Microsoft has to keep from fading into a distant memory. When Microsoft released a phone, it had capabilities far beyond the competition.  It's only down side was the "app gap".  Cellular providers were hesitant because they simply did not trust Microsoft to bridge that gap, and developers were not convinced MSFT would "stay in the game" long enough for them to earn a return on their investment, so the gap was never reduced.  Rather than fight through it, Microsoft simply faded out of the game. Then there was the foray into the "Band".  Nothing on the market touched this device.  It was amazing in it's initial release, but it needed some refinements in construction.  That was addressed in Band 2.  It had capabilities no other device possessed, and worked with all mobile platforms.  Then, rather than address some production and quality control issues, MSFT simply dropped it. Enter the Surface devices.  Yes, they are styled nicely, and the specs look great, but the realities include a litany of bugs and issues that took forever to fix, or were simply ignored.  The Surface Book had significant issues for nearly a year. Even now, all Surface models still need firmware updates to attempt to fix issues consumers are encountering.   Windows 10 is a nice package, but there are problems, and the bottom line is that there is simply no support.  Consumers reach out for support and get scripted responses that often do not answer the questions being asked.  For experienced users, it's even worse.  You can dial in a specific problem, and even provide a probable solution ( fix ), and never reach anyone who will actually take ownership of the issue and shepherd it to a fix.   For those of us who own products in both the MSFT and Apple realm, the quality of communication with consumers is a night and day contrast between the two companies.  The model is out there, but Microsoft has refused to explore improving that communication channel, and as a result consumers are saying "I don't need the grief" and looking at alternatives.  Even corporations are now saying "ENOUGH".  Delta Airlines is dropping it's Windows products ( phones and Surface devices ), and it's likely more major corporations will do the same. There was a better way.  Microsoft needed to focus on Quality Control, and Support Services to build the foundation for retaining clients, then introduce, and retain, their great technology offerings.  Instead, they have focused on "freedom to create", and the marketplace likes innovation but certainly will not continue to support a company who ignores real world needs.  
  • What phone did Microsoft release that had capabilities far beyond the competition? That is a crazy statement. All Microsoft's phones were well behind at release.
  • Windows 8 phones:  1)  The people hub - No one was doing that.  2) Live tiles - again no one was doing it.  3) Cordless charging - again, not happening elsewhere at the time  4) App integration - again not happening on other systems.  5)  Office on the phone - no one had a real equivalent  6)  How about the ability to use transparent backgrounds on the Start screen ?  7) Performance and battery life were awesome.  I had solid connectivity when my peers didn't, on the same carrier.  8) Camera and photo editing were vastly superior with the Lumia phones.  I've got photos taken with an SLR and the same shot with an Icon, and the Lumia pictures were much better.  Sorry ... but I don't exactly think thats crazy.  Remember all those ads with the comparison competitions ?  Yep ... none of that was staged.  Friends were amazed with what my phone could do that they couldn't do on theirs.   Ultimately I did have to switch because there were apps I required for my daily work that were either terminated on the Win Phone or never created for that platform.  
  • I don't know why everyone here is crapping on Nadella.  He's just doing as the board says. This is the problem when control over innovative companies transition from the original visionaries to the board of directors. It's a song as old as incorporation. 
  • I've worked closely with a few young CEOs. Those who were too keen to listen for the many voices in their ear were also poorer strategists. Those companies tend to fail. A CEO has to answer to the board, but their job is not to cater to the board. If the CEO fails to impress upon the company, the board, and the investors the importance of a specific strategy, it is their failure as a leader. If the CEO has a strategy with shortcomings that ultimately harm the business, that is also obviously a failure in leadership. Bottom line -- it is important for the CEO to be a good strategist and leader. A puppet CEO, if such were the case, would and should garner even more intense criticism.
  • Might I suggest you go back to the original company wide email Nadella sent to all employees ( and released to the public ) sharing his vision for Microsoft and the environment he wanted to create.  You can find it on the web.  Read it carefully.  There in you will find what I consider to be the base problem facing Microsoft as a company:  A focus on creativity which allows people to move in whatever direction they wish, unleashing creativity without restraint.  It's nice, but it doesn't serve the needs of consumers and corporations.
  • C'mon Jason, this reads like a partisan and poorly constructed (devoid of facts) love letter for Microsoft. Microsoft is a profit-generating, publicly held companyjust like Google and Apple and engages in the same tried-and-true marketing practices that Google and Apple do. "Microsoft was present on tablets and smartphones long before Apple and Google entered the fray" "Microsoft can commit to aggressive marketing akin to what rivals Apple and Samsung execute" "what it lacks is follow-through" Nonsense, nonsense and nonsense. #1 Let's start with the claim of smartphone and tablet presence. Nonsense! Apple's Newton PDA fits neatly into the tablet paradigm. According to Wikipedia the projected was started BY APPLE in 1987, THIRTY (yes, that's 30) YEARS AGO! The Newton was released in 1993 and it was discontinued five years later in 1998. Microsoft's public "tablet" presence started in 2000, 7 years after Apple's started. For a great Apple-produced vision of the future of computing check out "Apple Future Vision 1987". That's what Apple's engineers envisioned in 1987. It's uncanny to see that their vision of computing was not far off from what is now possible using a device that can be carried in your pocket. Apple had the vision. They needed to wait two decades to get to the start of the technology that could support it. Three decades on and they're "getting there". So, Microsoft entered the tablet scene before 1987?! Or, if we're looking at devices in hand, 1993? As for the Google side of things, Google didn't start gaining significant cash flow until the mid-2000's so, by definition, Microsoft was present before it would've been capable of doing much. #2 Microsoft's pockets are just as deep as Apple's and Google's. Its beancounters are also just as skilled. They'll understand when it's worth spending money on marketing and when it's not. Apple's success comes from providing solutions that "just work", not from its marketing. You can't market a mediocre product to long-term success. Apple markets, but, it starts with a good product which means its marketing is effective. Google's success came from providing the best search results. It utterly demolished the competition (including the frequently renamed Microsoft search engine) rising to be "the one to rule them all". Microsoft's niche was providing cheap software. There's not much money to be made in that anymore. They've recognized that reality and moved their R&D to the cloud which is where their software expertise shines. #3 Lack of follow-through? Nonsense. Microsoft follows through. They've spent years keeping Windows Mobile/Phone/RT alive. Look at how many years they've kept this ecosystem on life-support despite evidence since 2010 that it's a losing strategy (look at how many people invested in hardware and software that's now obsolete... software that I bought for iOS in 2010 is still available in my iTunes account, waiting for me to get a new iOS device). BlackBerry, the epitome of 2000's smartphone success, abandoned their ecosystem years ago--at the same time it was obvious that Microsoft's mobile ecosystem was dead as well.
  • WP market was growing in great pace, specially here in Europe. Microsoft was not "keeping it on life-support", in fact they did so many awful things in that important process (platform 'resets', watering down UI/UX to make it less Zune, more Android/iOS, etc.) and they killed it by buying Nokia mobile department and closing it down later on. Now they could eaisly have 30% of mobile market share and that would be great base for UWP apps, AR projects etc. Without that nobody in software houses are thinking now about selling idea of UWP app to client, none brands are even thinking about that. At this point we are all worried about even W10 futre as a platform. They are hoping for 'next big thing' but sorry that would be years or maybe never but for now we all see that no matter what they will show they won't support it in a matter of time plus they won't be first because you can see how already Apple is implementing ARKit, how abandoned is HoloLens, how ZTE is making phone with two screens, Lenovo tablets with projector, Samsung smartphones with curved screend and 'Continuum'.  BTW personally I think that there won't be any 'paradigm shift'. Who would prefer to be forced to wear AR glasses and talk into the air, or make gestures etc, or that anybody would see what I'm doing because device would have transparent screen or some kind of hologram (The Expanse). Nutella destroyed it all what first iterations of Zune/Lumia/WP/W8 revolution with amazing UX/UI of interface and so fresh design of Lumia devices, destroyed it all with watering down and making other things that stated. And that why we were fooled. Look at his actions, not words!
  • @Saeglopur89 While the European market is big, it's also diverse. 24 official languages and a boatload of countries, regulatory regimes and cultures. That makes it hard to develop a substantial app ecosystem. The English market is simple because one app is viable for USA, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. There are many developing countries that also use English as their primary language (e.g. India) so that opens up additional--though, not as lucrative--options. Indirectly, English apps can be used througout much of the world. As for the genius of the UI/UX--that's debatable. Apple really did pull off something impressive with the iPhone. Apple put together a cohesive package that worked. The very first time people use an iPhone they immediately know what to do, no instruction required. What I find impressive is how very young children with no computing experience can intuitively figure out iOS devices but they struggle with Android and Windows 10. I'm not familiar with the early Zunes, but, I've never been impressed by the usability of more recent Microsoft mobile devices. Just because a geek can figure it out without help and others can with help doesn't mean it will succeed even if a lot of money is thrown at marketing. I'm always reminded of BlackBerry's PlayBook. A stunning piece of hardware with a nice UX. However, I had to read the manual to use it. Switching apps was not intuitive. When I tried the PlayBook in the store I could not figure it out (and, I have lots of experience with computers) just by playing with it. The iPad was a completely different story. The first time I picked one up I could use it. No instruction required. Press the home button and you "go home". Then you push on an app. It opens. You're done with the app. "Go home". Rinse and repeat. It was only when BlackBerry was selling the PlayBook for a massive discount (from $500 to $100 with stunning build quality and hardware) that I decided to get one, even though I couldn't figure it out in the store. I wanted it to watch videos and figured that I could learn how to use it for at least that. It did that nicely (I was taking on-line courses at the time) and I discovered I really liked the UX/UI, even more than the iPads I'd tried. I'm always disappointed with how Windows 10 treats the edges of the screen. The stupid swipe-from-right Action Center and swipe-from-left switcher are such wasted opportunities, but, I digress. BlackBerry's PlayBook failed because it was not intuitive. It had a nice UX/UI that was reasonably easy to learn with help. But, because you couldn't just "pick it up and start using it" it failed. Knowing Microsoft's attitude towards its end users in the 1990's that was likely their attitude when they built their early mobile OS. Our product is so good that you should simply read the manual. The fact that iOS required no training is what made it a run-away success. Microsoft couldn't beat that. No one could beat that. Ultimately Microsoft was beat by Apple who made a much more user-friendly product. In the end it really doesn't matter how capable your device/OS is if it doesn't allow people to do what they need to do. That's why Apple devices have always fetched a premium. They've allowed regular people to do things that they simply couldn't on competing devices running other OSes without substantial training.
  • Ed, you are making just some theoretical statements. Paradox of that what you said about diversity of Europe is that here apps were developed and promoted like crazy, every poster, campaign, contest, event, commercial had three icons with apps: Apple, Google and Windows Store. Also despite all that dificulties with many smaller markets, apps just for those, many languages etc. Windows Phone was really big here and growing all the time, on even big markets like Italy, Germany, UK it had even about 20% of market share while in US almost non existant if compared to this.  Same with that stuff about iOS UI/UX - for years it was so dated, specially now.But finally they are changing many things and look - gestures, bars showed from the sides like Charms Bar, panorama view, focus on typography etc. - iOS 11 is now what Windows Phone and Windows 8 was! :O
  • @saeglopur89 My arguments seem to be less theoretical since it is Microsoft who've abandoned the mobile market while Apple and Android are going strong. Germany + Italy combined have 140 million population with two completely different cultures, neither of which are related to the English-speaking world. Microsoft has huge desktop penetration in said countries since Apple has traditionally had a much smaller desktop market share in Europe than in North America. Yet, despite that head-start Microsoft was never able to make enough in-roads in terms of market share to solidify its profits. Yes, it may have had upwards of a 20% market share in these markets, but, so did Apple and Apple makes a lot more money off its 20% than Microsoft does off its 20%. Apple profits by selling premium hardware with good margins. Microsoft provides the software for mobile devices where profit margins are razor thin. They almost certainly did not generate enough profits to justify investing resources in developing a mobile operating system. Couple that limited earning potential with the fact that they were almost completely absent from the world's most lucrative market--USA & Canada (they're more similar to each other than to Europe, for example)--and the proverbial writing was on the wall. Image is important for a company, especially one as storied as Microsoft. If their primary public brand--Windows--was associated with obscurity that could end up hurting the cachet of Windows on the desktop. While the age of the desktop is on the decline, it's far from over. Windows is still a valuable brand and one whose reputation is worth protecting. Pretty much everyone who can afford one has a desktop of some description in the house and most of them run Windows!
  • PS I frequently see Apple detractors denigrate Apple users for paying "too much" for iOS devices. But, the consequence of that has been that Apple has stuck around and is able to and has an incentive to support those users. Microsoft was unable to generate enough profit off its mobile users so now has been forced to abandon them for greener pastures. Publicly held companies need to generate a profit, and, if the capital that's been invested in them can be better used to develop other markets (rather than bleeding money on a mobile strategy that wasn't paying dividends), so be it.
  • So, Microsoft entered the tablet scene before 1987?! Or, if we're looking at devices in hand, 1993?
    Actually they did have software on shipping hardware in 1992:
    After GO started on PenPoint, Microsoft reacted with enhancements to Windows 3.1 to create Windows for Pen Computing...Some machines produced at the time (such as the 3 lb. NCR 3125 pure tablet) could boot to either PenPoint or PenWindows....The most interesting PenWindows computer, for me, was the GRiD Convertible, released in mid-1992.
  • @mrpuny, Thank you for the detail :). Both our points, though, likely put the nail in the coffin of Jason's claim that Microsoft was in the "tablet" sphere long before Apple. Jason was likely arguing that the "tablet" computing started in 2000 with the first (terrible) iteration of the Microsoft Phone/Mobile OS. Instead, it seems like both Apple and Microsoft (and lots of others) were working on this back in the late 80's (for Apple).
  • This article get 75% of it. But the other 25% is Microsoft's infamous and long tradition of releasing a pretty crappy and mediocre product first. Often they manage to improve it until it's actually good and lately they've gotten better at doing this quickly, like with the Surface, the Band and Groove. But those last two cases prove that if there already are competitors with a solid user base, you need to be actually better than them in some respect from the get go to make users switch.
  • Exactly. For consumers I think windows fit and finish is more important now. Windows 10 is improving over time, but there are so many half baked features, it would be nice to have a less back logged OS in the near future. All current and new devices today deserve it for improved overall performance and productivity.  The feedback is there with insiders, but I'm not getting the sense enough resources are spent on the fit and finish.
  • I agree. I suspect the mixed reality headsets will be niche products that are closed down in a couple years on the consumer side. Most AR will probably be on mobile.
  • It's like Microsoft don't want to win.
  • Hell, Corporate Marketing Officer Chris Capossela has to go. Nothing less effective than having your chief marketing officer think that products should be able to market themselves. This guy sounds like a character in Dilbert.
  • Microsoft's beiggest weakness is their lack of followthrough.  They've been this way for many years now.  It's like, after creating Windows and Office, they lost their ability to create good products on their own, and the good products they did create (MS Money, for example) they couldn't or didn't want to continue to offer conusmers.  They, at one time, had a competeing tax program - I only know because I used it one year.  It worked great, but they abandoned a year or two later.  Now, Microsoft just seems to jump into established product markets and tries to take them over from last place, and then quites when establishing themselves as a competent competitor in that field is just too hard.  It's like they have so much money but not concrete direction to go in that they are willing to commit to for the long term.  The've lost their drive to be the best, and so, just give up when things are too hard for them, which means they often fail their customers.  They don't seem to give their customers much though - kind of what rich people do with those below them.  Sad to say, but that's what I see of them these days.  Rich, unrealiable and inconsiderate to their lowly individual customers. They might be different to the large corporate customers - I'm admitting I have to clue about them.  I'm just and individual customer.
  • Certainly, MSFT has what it takes to succeed with consumers but its corporate focus is wrong. This is its Achilles heel. MSFT is trying to discover it's "soul", in other words, what is stands for. For some unfathomable reason, it seems to believe this is in "creativity" and having a soft, cuddly, touchy-feely culture. This is nonsense. MSFT has never been any of that, and never will be. This is the province of a small, nifty business. Where this 'creativity" ethos comes from is beyond me because if memory serves me correctly, MSFT has never been a company that has historically done well in arty-fartiness. This is precisely what made Apple great. Apple gave up trying to go toe-toe with MSFT a long time ago and focussed on the creative and multimedia sectors. Anyone who was anyone in the creative and multimedia industries used a Mac. Why? Because Apple had targeted these industries and provided exactly the types of equipment these types needed to undertake their often resource hungry work. But was this just Apple trying to create a niche for themselves? Perhaps. Knowing what we now know about Steve Jobs, I think not. Steve probably surmised, quite rightly, that if he could get creative and multimedia types to buy his products, consumers will follow. After all, who are society's opinion leaders and trend setters? Exactly! Case in point, the iPhone X. What, really, can the iPhone X do, intrinsically, that the iPhone 8 cannot? But if the Tech media are to be believed, lukewarm sales of the iPhone 8 are all about people holding out for the iPhone X. Time will tell. But back to Microsoft. Microsoft's stunning lack of leadership is, once again, it's Achilles heel. This is easy to see from the apparent dysfunctionality of the various departments, who seem to be operating as though they were separate and different planets in a galaxy. Even worse, you have their "skunkworks" division, Garage, creating killer apps for other OSs, when you know that your own ecosystem is suffering from a dearth of apps. Wasn't it recently that MSFT admitted that part of the failure of Windows 10 Mobile was because "they had tried all sorts of inducements, including helping to develop apps with developers" all to no avail? Microsoft's leadership need to define a clear corporate objective and then get everyone to toe that line. While people baulk at the idea of autocracy in any form of governance, the evidence is clearly there that it does work in getting objectives met! I am still a believer in MSFT's Core OS concept and I believe it will succeed in implementation. The only questions that remain are, 1) will anyone care, and 2) will there be anyone LEFT to care. Ladies and gentlemen, Microsoft has left the building!
  • I'm sure they'll be fine with their consumer driven partners succeeding 😑
  • I am one of the many that are frustrated.  While I am now retired, I managed Windows-based application development and infrastructure management for two decades. I saw the advantages and the quality of the products. I am now working to integrate home automation solutions and without a viable mobile option, home automation providers are not willing to invest their time and money.  MS really bombed when the took action to buy Nokia, only to throw it away.  I am still using a Windows Mobile (Nokia 1520) running Windows Mobile 10 but with recent announcements I am forced to research and implement hybrid solutions.  Bad move MS.  
  • They just need to market the balls off of their products.
    They never do this then any traction drops off after the initial unveil or launch and they eventually give up.
    Why do want to buy any Ms product anymore after all my favourite products have been ditched.. Zine, Ms Band, Windows Mobile/Phone ,even my Surface RT among others. Not only are they not following through to generate new customers they are pushing loyal customers away from their products and once gone they may never come back.
  • I agree. Why do they abandon the buyers? I have a RT and a windows phone(which I adore) why did they Buy Lumia just to kill it?  Make a Lumia laptop to companion with Windows phone and ALLOW apps to function from google or apple which is what THEIR customers want. CHOICE!
  • Satya needs to go. He is toxic to consumers and all about enterprise. Need someone with a balance
  • Bill Gates is closely working with Satya, so obviosly he approves of the direction MS has taken. W10M was buried when Bill Gates started using android.
  • There is a difference between Microsoft Mobile and Phone.  Phones are on their way out as evidenced there is nothing new for them.  They will still be around for a while for many people as it is all they can afford to have one device that will work for them most of the time.  Mobile computing will have it's strength in another type of device such as AR but it will be limited because of the inherent dangers associated with people using them.  There is a device that is out there that will satisfy the vast majority of consumers as well as enterprise that is yet to make itself known. Nadella has always said that mobile is a big part of Microsoft so why is everyone ringing the death bell on Microsoft?  If you know that what is presently in place is not going to be there much longer would you invest so much into it or just cut your losses and move on to that next thing that will replace what if presently there?  Automobiles are moving towards self driving whether or not we like it or want it and the number of autos on the roadway are causing it to come about to maintain safety and to move people efficiently around.  In time you will not be able to have both on the highways because of the dangers of a person doing something to cause accidents.  That is common sense that tells us that.  It will eventually be a public type of transport in time if transportation is needed starting the cities.  The need for that is changing the landscape for it today.  The same thing is true in our ability to connect to each other and to get work done is doing the same to the phone industry as well. In the last 20 years I have seen so much advancement in the communication field which is much, much, more than in the previous 47 years of my life.  The visionairies through the years have been telling us this, companies like AT&T with their ads telling us about being able to push a cart through a scanner and pricing all our grocery items all at once.  Tech has changed that plan somewhat but it is still true to how much more advanced we are today than in 2,000. The biggest thing that is coming right now is AI and all that it holds good and bad for us.  They really do not understand AI enough to know whether or not it will be able to figure things out entirely on it's own to the point that it will take over humanity but it is coming as plain as the nose on your face.  Microsoft will be a part of that with all they have already developed and what they are working on we have no idea about at this time. Mobile is the biggest area to come for all of us, it just won't be phones that we will have.  We will be able to call others just the same but phones will not be the device that we will use.  Pay attention to what they are saying overall and stop worrying about the hardware.  The future is exciting and somewhat scary at the same time.
  • "Phones are on their way out as evidenced there is nothing new for them. " Dream on.  The only phones on the way out are windows phones.
  • Agreed about MS vision on AI.  I would think WOA played a role as a bridge towards communication, productivity and gaming using MS store.  We all text or call using bluetooth headset to via cortana, this time via WOA.  It's a bit big to put in pocket.  I am still wondering how MS address that.
  • Well Said Jason. The consumer space as I keep harping on about has an almost infinite number of growth points, the enterprise sector has no where near as much. As people continue to exist, consumer growth points will continue to be created. "Now with Apple's and Google's smartphone-focused ARKit and ARCore respectively, the stories around Microsoft's AR efforts are more often than not, about how they will be overshadowed by the competition in the consumer space. " " Rather than a hyper-focus on providing the tools others use to create technology, Microsoft should lead by example through demonstrating its use of its resources to develop, position, market and deliver on excellent consumer technology. Microsoft has what it takes to be the platform company it strives to be and the consumer company it needs to be if it would only follow-through." That sums it up. It's absolutely disheartening to see Microsoft becomes so risk averse that they mothball their products into US only. That's the other massive flaw in their implementation. Cortana also has regressed for almost all regions except the US, the maps has become a utter shambles... several times it sent me in the wrong direction when I was out for university open days. So instead of relying on the piece of crap that has become the maps app, I used the map to find my own shortcuts and got to the university 30 minutes before the estimated arrival time on bing maps. Since I am using an L930 and Microsoft's penchant for messing with their customers in spectactular fashion, the photo app ceased to function properly after the last update so I could not use the photos of the route I took the night before - having learned from a prior mistake - where my screenshots disappeared... lol. You can't make this stuff up lol... which was one the many reason I was looking to upgrade to x3 or 950xl... but I'm going to wait until the x3 costs £150 or less. I am not spending a dime more than that on a phone which has a zero upgrade pathway. Now it magically works as normally... It's just mind boggling how we went from a smooth, clean experience of Wp8.0 to an unoptimised mess with WM10. Before if you took picture, it was instantly in your photohub... now you have to wait for the damn photo app to SYNC! Sync what exactly? I have all onedrive syncing turned off lol. It's all about the follow through... and somewhere down the line it appears they just completely gave up even doing just that. Seriously what happened to the enthusiasm which was embodied in the slogan which was something along the lines "we designed windows phone for not all of us but each of us". What happened? Some may are wondering why I haven't switched to ios and android, to answer that - I live in a mixed platform household so I have tried ios and android... not my cup of tea. Far too bland and android has far too many security flaws for my liking plus I do not like Google's business practises so there is that.  
  • This was a dreadful article to plow through.  Paragraphs on cake batter.  Ugh.  MS simply doesn't care about consumers.  It wants enterprise.  It has killed its phone, music hardware and  software, a good portion of it's tablet business, and oh yes its half baked wearable Band line.  WHAT IS LEFT?  Oh, yes Surface Pro ultrabooks and Hololens that no one really uses.  Great strategy.  With no phone they are rudderless, useless.
  • To ensure good acceptance in the market and make the Windows Platform and its Ecosystem attractive to developers Microsoft must share its piece of cake with third-party apps developers by ending first-party apps development and supporting those with apps relevant in all platforms that have growing potential, frequent updates and that meet Windows Platform requirements in terms of functionality, performance, privacy policy, security policy, and integration with Microsoft's services. Here they must include those who can help Microsoft's products to fulfill the functionality for which they were created, so they can be offered to consumers. The development of first-party apps can discourage third-party apps developers who may see in this competence limited growth possibilities. That's why I think leaving Groove was a good move to invite others to join the Windows Ecosystem. Microsoft needs to work in the architecture of the Windows Platform to make it flexible enough so it can be applied to any device in the Windows Ecosystem in the long term. The adoption of this platform in the enterprise requires the assurance that future system upgrades will not affect performance and database. By the moment Office is widely used and well recognized, but it can change with the arrival of new apps and services from others. Microsoft needs to define which scenarios are appropriate for its products; such is the case of Virtual Reality and its acceptance in the market.
  • I would like to have the H-K Invoke,but it is overpriced, especially when you factor in it has less skills, etc. Most importantly though, as the article intimates, I would likely have to throw it in my Microsoft junk draw within a year or two to sit by my Zune, Kinect, Band2, and pair of windows phones.
  • Jason, I believe this is the next bend in MS future of mobile
  • Well thea article paints a rosy picture, but its far from truth, is MS was clear on its AI focus and if indeed Cortana was important, why isnt it available yet. I had lead over siri and Google assistant which is lost now, in my country it directs every simple query to web, has become utterly useless
  • It has a lot to do with Azure, if everything run on azure, wouldn't that be accessible via Cortana. Let's say Snapchat run on azure. How about playing xbox gaming.
  • Hi minhin, I agree Microsoft has a very broad and forward-looking Conversations as a Platform vision and I actually wrote a series on that very topic in 2016. Check out the first installment of that series: AI, bots and canvases: My evolving view of Cortana Now, the execution of the vision isn't 100%, but it is underway.
  • Everything but the balls to do so.
  • Warfare on many fronts:   MSFT has had a lot of misteps and shortfalls, but they're still one of the most successful tech companies, and their stock raising to historical levels indicates they are doing more right, then wrong.  Still with that being said, you want to do more than cancell out your transgressions.  MSFT has to establish an identity first and foremost.  For the longest time they were a software company, and for the most part everything was right with the world. They have built their foudation on that paradigm, so just because they have manufactured some devices doesn't mean that they've become a hardware company.  The irony is the cosumer is going to only want more, once teased with something.  MSFT opened a pandora's box when they decided to step into the hardware arena.  The box opened even bigger when they decided to step into the consumer hardware arena.  Windows phone's original concept was designed for the consumer.  The Surface series was designed for the consumer. This had MSFT venturing outside of what they've been familiar and successful with.  Office is still the primary money maker for MSFT with Azure cloud computing following behind.  Their hardward contributions fall far behind.  With that being said, where would your focus be if you were the CEO?  Apple has established themsevles as a consumer hardware company first and foremost, and has really invested virtually everything into the iPhone.  Google is multi-faceted like MSFT, but their investment is advertisement, so everyone knows about it.  MSFT needs to pull it's resources together more.  Think about this....the only consumer only product MSFT still has is the XBOX, and it's no surprise it's rank is at the top with Sony's Playstation.  MSFT has no issues with advertisement and marketing when it comes to that branch of their company, so why is it so hard to transfer those ideaologies to other areas like Surface or Mixed Reality?  All in all MSFT is still a software company first and foremost and that will not change.  Ths article shows a picture of a MSFT store.  If anyone has been to one, they will tell you it's an amazing expreience.  If MSFT really wanted to embrace consumers they'd have more stores to embrace them with like Apple.  That's a microcosm into the big issue, and that's all you really need to know.
  • Phone is missing? Very important block chain
  • It does not have the most crucial entry into the consumer world - a phone. It had one. A very nice one. But then it decided to outdo Nokia in throwing it away. It will not regain the trust it threw away there.
  • About the love to Microsoft products then I agree. I use a Lumia 950 XL phone and I love the whole connected with my windows 10 pc experience. I still hope that Microsoft will stay in the phone business but alas it is not realistic and probably also too late as now even companies starts to pull the plugs and go Apple instead...
  • I wonder what they are thinking, with such great products as band and 950 were, not bringing reborn devices with new OS. I can still say my 950XL is best video recorder(up to this date be it colors/audio) and capable still taker. Same as late 1020 is still one of kind device. They should at least not give up on devices with future. Many hold to them still, because of how great they are, they were to abandon them, cannot expect fans in future.
  • In addition although Microsoft has international presence - most of its products and services are not available to consumers in many regions. For example their Cortana android and iOS apps are not available in Austria officially - altough they are functioning, and would make sense working together with Windows 10. Or why does Cortana on Xbox One not support smart home products when Cortana on mobile phone or PC does?  
  • Microsoft is failing over-seas. Most of the Microsoft offices outside USA sucks.  "500 million Cortana enabled device" means nothing if it's only available in English.  All Microsoft services are related to USA. Means nothing for the rest of the world.  When Microsoft bought Nokia i thought their staff will move to Microsoft and end this odd situation. Finally we'll see some respect from M$. But Nadella fired them :) I think Microsoft will end when "people have to use Windows" Sadly i can't suggest any M$ service anymore. There's a Windows Phone graveyard in the family.
  • I'm writing this based on my experience and thoughts about Microsoft and its marketing policy and strategy (especially in my country).
    One thing I've found very unpleasant and not encouraging customers to start an emotional engagement with Microsoft (and its brand) its the disparity with whom it treats various markets around the globe.
    I mean, in Italy Surface Book and Surface Studio never arrived in stores (and we still doesn't know if the Studio will be sold here, I suppose not).
    You had to buy them imported from other countries or from Amazon Italy (Amazon surprises me every time)
    There's no official italian technical support, but Microsoft offers warranty and support outside Italy (Germany for example).
    This is a very bad customer experience. We feel like we're importing something illegal in our country and we have to do some tricks to get the product in our hands.
    It feels like Microsoft doesn't believe in customers of a specific country, which causes in return disaffection to the brand.
    Plus its marketing (almost non-existant in Italy) and commercial politics are often susceptible to sudden changes, often going in one direction (which customers doesn't like) and then they came back on their footsteps.
    This causes confusion and lot of mixed feelings in customers.
    And this feelings are often anger!
    Of course I apreciate when a big company like Microsoft rethink about its own decision, but I'm a IT enthusiast and my patience is bigger than average customer. I really liked to have a physical Microsoft store here in my country.
    Of course what I've stated above can be adapted to other countries where Microsoft decided not to be present as it should be to guarantee its success in terms of customer engagement with the brand. Actually I really like Microsoft products and I own a SB, SP1, and various desktop PCs with W10 FCU.
    But my engagement as customer isn't endless and could end soon or later. Sorry for any errors, but english isn't my primary language :)
  • First of all your english is better than most :). Unfortunately most people in the US don't understand how diabolical it is for people outside the US since almost everything Microsoft does is mothballed and confined to the US. Especially when it comes to marketing, I have probably seen one surface advert this month and almost over a hundred iphone adverts... Sky here have a monopoly on TV here. So when a programme starts to display adverts, we channel switch and almost all channels display adverts at the same time. There was several occassions when 20 different channels all displayed iphone adverts at the same time... compare that with one Surface advert seen in the entire month of September and not during prime viewing hours either. I barely watch TV and my siblings do and they recall the same thing just one surface advert. This is where Chris Capossela has got it wrong, you can't equate software downloads with hardware product sales. However I can understand why he has taken that approach - it would be odds with the consumer-uncentric approach Microsoft want's to take and that is the most pivotal mistake. You cannot sell products without any consumer mindshare as to an extent enterprise users are consumers or rather prosumers. During this entire year, I have only seen one Surface pro in the wild and that was yesterday on the train. In the US the scenario maybe different but the UK.. the market is largely left untouched. I am hoping the London Microsoft store will be the first of many in Europe and with that store we will see more adverts along with more Surface product availability in Europe.
  • Really today we see Microsoft staggering, somewhat smoky, half erased. In my modest opinion, the difference between what Microsoft was in the past and the current one is due to two details: Bill Gates and Steve Balmer, who created the company with hard work, and of course with other not so sublime ways, but erected the empire, and the current directors, managers and others in charge keep the footprint. But Bill Gates only has one, and that one is out of business. Unfortunate!
  • You have to spend money to make money. Unfortunately Microsoft right now is thinking short term, short term gains. Pulling out of key consumer markets will hurt them in the long run, but right now investors are happy with the state of Microsoft's stock and revenue. The problem is they are effectively killing off their future. Even IBM is pulling away from Microsoft. IBM used to be synonimous with Microsoft...
  • "Pulling out of key consumer markets will hurt them in the long run, but right now investors are happy with the state of Microsoft's stock and revenue. The problem is they are effectively killing off their future. Even IBM is pulling away from Microsoft. IBM used to be synonimous with Microsoft." Didn't IBM conclude over a decade ago that it was a better use of their resources to sell off their consumer/hardware division? When they did that they, by definition, pulled away from Microsoft. Now, you have to play with Amazon, Google, Apple and Microsoft if you want to play the cloud game and that's where IBM's been heading... As for "spending money to make money". Sure, anyone can do that. Donald Trump has proved that you can spend more money than you make, and, as long as you can declare bankruptcy you're still okay.
  • The Massively Screwed-up dys-Functional Team's problem is that it really never had to do any marketing to gain a new market to be successful with the exception of XBOX.  They just don't know how and that is evidenced by the opinion and approach that is espoused by their clueless Marketing Officer. Let's go back to DOS.  DOS was basically handed to them by IBM.  IBM did all of the heavy lifting and marketed the heck out of the personal computing market and built the approach where there could be many players in the PC market.  Then the OEM's jumped on and there were Dell, Compaq and lots of others who were doing the heavy lifting.  When it came time for productivity, MSFT did see what the EasyCalc, Lotus 1-2-3 and WordPerfects of the world were doing and saw an advantage for having an Office Suite because the individual cost of programs was prohibitive to the home buyer and having some kind of integration was important. The main marketing push that MSFT had to do in the early days was to get folks to transition from DOS to Windows.  They were basically trying to get their CURRENT customers to transition, not create a new market.  AND, all of these were mostly focused on the Enterprise with the assumption that there would be crossover into the consumer market. With the exception of the XBOX, MSFT hasn't had to really market to attract customers to successful markets and this is their only consumer success.  MS Office rules the office suite category by miles so of course when MSFT opens it up to new markets, everyone flocks to it and they don't have to do any marketing because the success of MS Office was created years ago starting in the Enterprise. No question that MSFT has incredible talent and I will disagree with many on here and say they are not creative.  The Massively Screwed-up dys-Functional Team just doesn't know what to do with the amazing technology and products they develop.  MSFT has "build it and they will come" mentality that was bred into their DNA from the start.  They will never be successful at coming up with a consumer focused category because they don't have the personality to promote it and they don't have the fortitude to stick with it.  If they are successful in the Enterprise it will be because they are leveraging something they already have that is so ingrained into the Enterprise that the Enterprise will just follow along.