Microsoft's consumer/professional strategy needs serious work

"In the next few years we will see many more new categories evolve and experiences emerge that span a variety of devices of all screen sizes. Microsoft will be on the forefront of this innovation with a particular focus on dual users and their needs across work and life", said Satya Nadella in a 2014 company-wide email shortly after becoming Microsoft's CEO.

Years of failed consumer-facing products suggest to some that Microsoft is not committed to consumers. However, Nadella's admission of wrong for abandoning consumers to "pursue the next shiny thing" was a rare show of transparency for a CEO. It also validated the feelings of consumers who felt betrayed by the company's seemingly enterprise-focused strategy.

Still, Nadella said, "We are a company that's centered around users who both have a professional role as well as happen to be consumers. That's where our strength lies."

If the consumer/professional approach is Microsoft's strength, its communication and implementation of that mission needs improvement. In fact, Microsoft's cloud, hardware, AI, bots, platform and Windows strategies arguably position it to serve the consumer/professional more comprehensively than its rivals can. Let's look closer at why that is and what's preventing Microsoft from capitalizing on its strengths in some areas.

Windows Mobile and the enterprise: Out of sight, out of mind

Cortana, bots and the consumer/professional

Invoke Speaker

Invoke Speaker (Image credit: Windows Central)

Microsoft, Apple, Google and Samsung are competing in the digital assistant space. Sadly, even though Cortana's on 600 million Windows 10 PCs her mindshare lags behind that of Siri and Google Assistant. Samsung's Bixby, which is headed to the 600 million consumer products Samsung ships every year, may eventually overshadow Cortana's mindshare as well.

Cortana's isn't bound to a device or software.

Microsoft's Achilles heel is its lack of a smartphone, which puts competing assistants in consumers hands. Its strength, according to Nadella is that Cortana isn't bound to a device or software. Its cloud-based nature and integration with Office 365 and Microsoft Graph makes it "transient" and gives Cortana a comprehensive view of the professional side of a user when at work. Combined with Office 365's unified authentication which connects a user's personal and professional identities, it also gives Cortana a comprehensive view of a user's personal side when using Windows 10 at home.

To date, rivals haven't replicated Cortana's position to get a "total" view of users. Additionally, Microsoft's deeper integration of Cortana into Windows 10 will expand her knowledge of a user's professional-personal activity. Furthermore, as she synthesizes this data in the cloud with information from mobile users her ability to serve the consumer/professional would seemingly be unmatched.

Microsoft's capacity to serve the consumer/professional is expanded by its platform approach with bots that communicate with canvases like Cortana supported by cloud-based conversational APIs. Still, despite all of these consumer/professional advantages, Microsoft consistently leaves consumers out of its digital assistant and bots marketing and messaging.

Surface and Windows 10 for the consumer/professional

Microsoft's Surface devices are inherently meant to serve the consumer/professional. First, as Windows devices, they, and Surface-inspired devices are powered by the most prolific desktop OS in homes and the enterprise. Windows, Office and hosts of other software have enabled a breadth of consumer/professional productivity and creativity for billions of people for decades.

Second, as context conforming hardware Surface, Surface Book, and even Surface Studio can transition from laptop/desktop workhorse configurations to leisure-enabling tablet or Studio mode configurations. Continuum, a methodology describing Windows' context-conforming abilities, supplements these physical transitions on PCs and pocketable devices.

Microsoft doesn't promote the personal uses of Surface and Windows.

Combined with cloud-based services context-forming Windows hardware and software offer a fluidity of digital experiences for the consumer/professional across devices, devices types and device states. OneCore, Windows Core OS and various shells Andromeda (mobile), Polaris (desktop), Aruba (Surface Hub) and Oasis (mixed reality) will further enable a fluid consumer/professional experience rivals conceivably can't yet match.

Still, iOS and Android on phones and tablets have claimed ground from Windows PCs for some light productivity and most leisure tasks. Thus, though Microsoft's professional-personal platform is more comprehensive than the competitions, rivals with rich app ecosystems have established a beachhead on the light personal/leisure computing front. Furthermore, Microsoft's marketing focuses primarily on the professional applications of Surface and Windows and does little to promote their personal uses.

Andromeda the epitome of a consumer/professional device

Folding Surface fan render, by David Breyer.

Folding Surface fan render, by David Breyer.

In April of 2016 Nadella referenced a new mobile category that, by 2019, consumers would come to recognize as capable of being a PC. Microsoft is on track in that the first-generation of this device category, via Andromeda, is expected later this year.

In time one device may be able to support most consumer/professional computing scenarios.

The category will initially be enterprise and prosumer focused. But as a Windows device with all of the aforementioned consumer/professional benefits and the ability to be a tablet, PC, and phone, the device category it introduces, more than any device category in the history of tech, embodies the consumer/professional vision. Why?

Succeed or fail, with support from Qualcomm this pocketable Windows 10 PC category, buttressed by evolving chipsets, 5G, progressive web apps and OEM partnerships, will conceivably, after several generations, support most consumer/professional computing scenarios from one device.

Microsoft has the tools to serve the consumer/professional better than its competitors. The question is, "will it do so before rivals catch up?"

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!

  • I think, with this new device, Microsoft will sell about 1 million devices around the world for people who still trust in company no matter what. The problem is: 1 million 'phones' per quarter is not enough to keep the product very much alive. If I'm not wrong WP was selling more or almost 1 million devices per quarter and MS send it to the coffin.
  • I didn't care about MS when they introduced WinPhone, because it makes no sense. Win10ARM do make a lotta sense.
    ps: UWP, XPA, GamePass is also good news for programmers too.
  • WP topped out at 10.5 million a quarter in late 2014. For perspective, Android was activating 1.5 million PER DAY!
  • Lol, they are even downvoting your comments that aren't vastly negative
  • Because of hard resets.
  • Hard reset were allowed because each version was a total flop. There weren't enough sold to matter. If WP7 had sold well at all then Microsoft wouldn't have reset it.
  • So? That does not mean that should have quit!
  • They are so far behind there is no chance of catching up. The only thing they can do is change the market. Release something mind blowing that changes everything. Another "me too" platform won't do it.
  • Yep, you are exactly right. It was too late. One of the MANY mistakes that were made. Such a shame.
  • Cheap. Android is/was cheap.
  • Windows phones weren't? The only one that sold was the L520!
  • I appreciate your balanced article Jason.  For example citing the "next shiny object" comment Nadella made.  Microsoft and Nadella himself have really angered a lot of fans and developers.  As one of those, my angst spills out not just in my UWP app developer night job, but also in my enterprise developer day job.  I am way way less likely these days to approach our CIO and suggest we purchase Surface devices, or go all-in with Azure, or even migrate to SQL Server.  And I sure as sin can't suggest we start a UWP dev team.  Why?  One word... trust.  It's hard to trust Microsoft these days.   Nadella should not have given up on Windows mobile until this whole Andromeda device (hopefully called Surface Note) was sitting proudly on store shelves and they were marketing the pants off it during the NBA finals.  Go ahead and scrap the Lumia 650.  And I have no problems scrapping support for Windows 8 phones.  But they should have kept selling the 950 and 950XL right up to the day and hour they released this ultimate mobile device.  They should have put a metal back on the thing (instead of that hokey plastic back), took the word "Microsoft" off the front (seriously... the windows logo on the back is quite enough... the whole Microsoft logo on the front was jankey... do you see Apple spelling their name on the front?), and cut the price in 1/2 (take a bloody loss on the thing)... if for no other reason... than to assure fans and developers (both consumer and enterprise) that they are committed to them.   Even if, as one commenter suggests, they only sell 1 million per quarter - which I honestly think they'd do better than that if properly marketed - even so, that's still a million devices!  Even taking a loss on the bloody thing is better than slapping the face of your loyal fans and the developer community.  Once you lose the loyal, what do you have?  Bottom line... angering the guy building his dream app at night, is also angering the guy who is the enterprise .Net lead by day.  And sure this may be emotion speaking, but hey human beings are not A.I. right? ;0)
  • Well put sir!
  • Well put sir 2
  • I'm inclined to agree. I'm not sure how much it would have cost them directly to keep the Lumia line alive until Andromeda became a reality but I think that it has cost them more indirectly to not do so. That said, unless there was a direct upgrade path for Lumia devices to W10oA, there would also have been those who criticised Microsoft for selling them a Lumia device the day before Andromeda made it obsolete. It's hard to know exactly how damaging that would have been but there would have been those who considered it the upgrade from WP7 to WP8 all over again. I still think that it would have been less of a blow than they have sustained.
  • There is certainly a path. An expensive path, but they could have gone in that direction. It certainly couldn't have hurt UWP adoption, but it may not have helped. I just don't think Microsoft has high hopes for their current platforms. It does seem unlikely, but maybe they plan on rebooting UWP in some way. Why else would they not be supporting it heavily?
  • This is exactly where I stand. My primary role is an IT Infrastructure Manager with major influence of our purchasing strategy.  After getting burned by Windows Phone and Groove, I don't have any trust anymore.   Yes, Teams is an excellent product, but is that going to get the chop?  Our entire management is based on System Centre but now we are starting to worry that these too may be discontinued at a drop of a hat. It is very, very difficult to have faith anymore in Microsoft.  We are looking at possible alternatives.
  • We'll said.
  • Ditto. I am fully for AWS at work  - totally disregard Azure.  They are only good for providing a comparison of price and saying "yes, we check the competition" Moving away from Windows is also a good idea.  Most of our users need to need what Google services provide.  We do not need Outlook or Office.  I also just don't trust MS.  Burn the consumer, who is next?
  • Just came to say "Hi Jason, and thanks for all the accurate, and exciting, news regarding Windows fans hopes, dreams, and desires"
    There's literally nobody in the world who has given fans hope, promise, accurate information, and perspective about what we all really want to see continue... Windows on a pocketable form factor.
    Thanks again for your service.
  • Absolutely Rodney😉. It's really about just looking past all of the failures and poor decisions Microsoft has made and focusing on the fact that this is a multibillion dollar company that is doing something. I fully understand and empathize with the feelings of many embittered fans and writers who are frustrated with Microsoft and think that anything the company does will either fail or be abandoned. I, like you, get it. I hated when MS dropped the unique Windows Phone aesthetic and features like Rooms and deeply integrated social media and more when WP 8.1 launched. I loved Groove and enjoyed the music 🎶 and identifying Music with Cortana. I never got a Band, but hoped to one day. MS has disappointed and frustrated me, a WP user since WP 5.0. So unlike some readers assessments (I'm glad you and others see otherwise) I'm definitely not making excuses for MS. What everyone has to do, however, is remember, this is a company with product roadmaps and strategies that span years, and certain objectives may fail (Windows on phone) but overall strategies (Windows on mobile) are not forsaken. That's why though it was hard for some to see years ago as I persistently described Microsoft was pursuing a pocketable device that wasn't a phone with an inking focus, despite the failings of Windows phone. It's easier for some to see now as we get closer to the actual device and more info comes out about Andromeda and Windows Core OS. But those who still argue MS is not working on anything (despite the evidence) and base their arguments on Microsoft's past failures and mistakes may be filtering thier argument through their emotions of frustration and feelings of betrayal. The fact that MS failed in smartphones is not, as you know, sufficient evidence to say that the company is doing nothing. I appreciate your support and your (and others) sharing your understanding of this reality in various discussions.
  • You're welcome.
  • It’s real, and it’s “coming soon” Surface Scribe – your personal digital ancient Jewish record-keeper that you can put in your pocket™                                                                                   …Microsoft marketing, I got you covered
  • 😂😂😂😂😂
    I'm sick of you mocking the Scribe name... What's wrong with being an ancient Jewish record keeper? Were they not accurate?????
  • Because it's a dumb name for this device.   Its like naming the surface pro the surface paperback.
  • Surface Paperback... Has a ring to it...
  • "It's really about just looking past all of the failures and poor decisions Microsoft has made and focusing on the fact that this is a multibillion dollar company that is doing something. I" Wasn't Nokia a multibillion dollar company?  They took their lead forgranted, failed to innovate and keep up, got acquiried and destroyed.  Now they are a shell of their former selves. Roadmap - yes, nice to say they have one.  But will the follow it? it's really hard to look past poor decisions.
  • I think my biggest issue is that Windows 10 is no longer a professional OS. It has far too many home-user based functions that cannot be turned off - Cortana, forced automatic updates, skype integration, that doesn't really work very well on workstations. Microsoft needs to enable users to turn off a lot of these unnecessary features and strip back the OS to allow companies to customise it for their workflows.
  • All that rubbish can be turned off on an enterprise image by any competent admin. It certainly is on the PC I'm running.
  • Yet not every one of us have an access to enterprise version of Windows 10...
  • W10 home also has group policy editor
  • Incorrect, Windows 10 Pro has a Group Policy Editor but Home doesn't.
  • All of that stuff can be customized and removed. Two words Group Policy. Whether its local or centralized it can be done. Furthermore you can also use intune to customize/remove those items. Everything is customizable and removable that's in Windows 10. Look at there is extensive documentation on how to manage and administrate Windows 10.
  • Only if it's Pro or Enterprise, Home lacks the Group Policy Editor, although the same thing can be done via the registry but it's not for the novice. I would also say that Group Policy should be taken lightly as you can still do significant damage to a system using it, including locking yourself out of your own system.
  • Sure, but if you're running Home then you can't really consider yourself a prosumer.
  • You are wrong.
  • Hello Vexbit, there is Enterprise edition of Windows 10? And also, your company can go for Nano Server edition of Windows 10. So the choices are there for your organization. 
  • Yes, I believe Microsoft forgot that professionals are consumers too.  I am primarily a consumer because I use Microsoft as a professional.  I will only hope if and when they release their new "phone" it's under the Surface moniker.  Since they can find money to advertise the Surface devices they should be able to have resources to advertise the heck out of their new "phone" too.
  • Why is that? Why is it that MS can market Surface so well?
  • Because Surface is a good PC. Marketing a good product is easy. Marketing a bad product is where it gets hard or even impossible.
  • I've said it before on TechCrunch and will say it again here.  If Nadella misses the AI wave, he will have absolutely nobody to blame for years as MS races to catch up.  One of the great benefits to a person owning an apple or android phone or tablet is that their children, the next gen, is acclimated to the product and environment for years.  You can't buy that sort of's what the family trusts and uses so it's what the kids use and trust when they grow up.  Doesn't matter if something better exists because when you are invested and comfortable using a platform as a child, you gravitate towards it as an adult.  AI is the same gateway to platform prominence in the next 10-20 years and beyond.  If a kid says "alexa..." every day for 10 years, they are going to trust and gravitate to Amazon products and services, it just makes sense.  If MS can't get Cortana out there into the market and penetrate deep, they are losing more than market share for smart devices, they risk losing an entire generation of users who will start to ask why they need MS (outside of Office at least).  If Nadella loses this battle for the smart home and AI, I believe he should be pressured into resigning.  MS cannot afford to lose this battle for "mobile 2.0", the always connected, always available assistant.
  • Let's hope one day, we can run Adobe, 3dsMax, Unreal, VisualStudio, SVN, Git, File Explorer, Office, Reason, Komplete, Local Server typpa applications on phone OSes. As a gamer, we shall also hope that we can do our XPA gaming on those phones.
  • How would running ANY of that be a good experience on a phone?  Even if the hardware had the horsepower, how on earth would the actual user experience be at all good on them?
  • I'll be dammed if I try to run Pro Tools with 30 tracks and plugins on a foldable device. There are some things that are just desktop oriented.
  • Sure, running some programs (like your music editing software) on an ARM based device will likely never make sense, however the idea of a PC in your pocket is no different than what people said about laptops when they first arrived on the scene or tablets like the Surface.  There is a difference between running desktop-ish software on a mobile device and running the same software on a mobile device's screen.  The HP Elite X3 tried to convince people of this but too many idiots on tech sites responded with "windows on a phone screen, will I seez things on such a small screen?" You could almost hear their knuckles dragging on the floor. With the release of the SD945 and future chips, people will get PC-like experiences on a tablet when connected to a keyboard, mouse, and monitor.  What's so hard to understand about that?  The same chip in those laptops will ultimately be used in small devices so why shouldn't people expect to use their phone as a PC replacement for light to mid duty applications?  Nobody expects to run a windows desktop on a 5" screen people.  Let's put that to rest once and for all.
  • Why would you want to plug your phone into an external display?
  • To get a bigger display...?
  • Duhhh
  • To be another pathetic MS fanboy, one of the 10 idiots who bought into MS's crap again.
  • The only time i used my Elite in the dock was when my work Surface died and i was waiting for it to reinstall. I can fully see the novelty of only having a portable device, but doing databases and programing, such a device is only useful when docked cause i prefer large monitors. So i want this to work but it's gotta have a dock out the gate, supporting more than a couple monitors would be nice too. I only made the reference to pro tools cause i keep seeing comments about people being excited to run desktop apps on a "phone" and that totally will not be a pleasant experience as we have agreed. I just hope its not only useful to the "lite" business user and I could really drop my work laptop for it.
  • I'm talking about work place today. Maybe 10 years from now we can do these tasks on a mobile OS and kids today can work on those devices without having to adapt...
  • I would argue he already has missed the AI wave.  I've said many, many times that NONE of these AI/Assistant developers get it.  Stop selling me a bunch of speakers. I HAVE many speakers, I HAVE many microphones.  They are in the form of my phone, Xbox, PCs, tablets. If Microsoft isn't RIGHT NOW trying to figure out how to fully integrate every single device that Cortana "lives" on so that all devices work as one and respond as one, then they're done.  I should never have to enable/disable devices because of a conflict.  All devices should hear a command/request, Cortana should be able to figure out WHO said and which device heard it the clearest, then respond either on the device that makes the most sense or ask you to clarify.  I should hear four different responses from Cortana.  Cortana isn't the only one with this problem.  NONE of them get it.
  • THIS^^^^ ALL of my friends are either Alexa or Home users. All of my colegues are also Alexa or Home. I do not hear from anyone using any of Microsoft AI products... Nadella missed the boat again...
  • I agree I was a big cortana user until Microsoft decided to drop wp and I am now on android. I received all Google apps from my LG g5 and then xperia xx premium and used cortana as my default but as time has gone by groove pass being dropped forced me to use Google services more and I have now got a home and use Google now on my phone with Google music to. Microsoft have missed the boat again and they always seem to do that with the customer market.
  • btw, about AI research and market reach... Kotana isn't the AI, it's just a front face.
    Story Remix is based on MS's AI tech but we don't do "hey, Cortana".
    I remember watching a vid talking about... AI API for developers, and MS has business partners using the API.
    Users do talk to the system but it's not called Cortana... their customer prob won't even know they are using MS's AI research / tech.
    And if they integrate AI into Windows or Office... it might not be called Cortana but it's still an AI tech from MS...
  • It's been wonderful of Satya to acknowledge that he is a serial failure when it comes to the consumer side.  Just wonderful. Otherwise we might not have known and therefore been perplexed when the Microsoft consumer products we invested in went dark in our hands, or crawled along clinging to life while the rest of the world moved forward.  So thanks for that, Satya.  Part of my irritation with Microsoft leadership in general and Satya in particular is their use of language.   Satya speaks of abandoning consumers so that Microsoft could instead pursue the next shiny new thing, when it was Microsoft's refusal to keep up in the race for the next shiny new thing for consumers which led them to feel they were being abandoned in the first place, and which made consumer growth impossible.  We were supposed to say to our friends, families and co-workers, "Sure, try a Windows Mobile device (or a Band)! You'll really love the way the manufacturer doesn't support its own products!  It' s like one of those adventures where you're dropped on an uninhabited island with no food or clothes and only a teaspoon to survive with!  The tech sector really is all about scratching out a sub-subsistence.  The best revenge is just living to see another day."    And when Satya says "We are a company that's centered around users who both have a professional role as well as happen to be consumers. That's where our strength lies." I'm starting to think he's trolling us.  Happen to be consumers?  Like in, users happen to be human beings?  This crew is worse than tone deaf.  They can't hear themselves sing; they can't hear the music their rivals sing that puts them so far ahead.  But someone tone deaf can understand some of the concepts of musicality, even if they themselves can not feel and appreciate it an artistic sense themselves.  These guys are consumer technology tone deaf and conceptually blind.  So much so that it almost doesn't matter whether their prospective products are good or bad.  Either way, we can be sure until there's change at the top, Microsoft will not be able to communicate effectively with customers.  The shame of it is that there have been some very interesting devices (on both an aesthetic and functional level) that have been neglected and wasted.    
  • How wonderfully eloquent and what a great metaphor. And I really have to agree, we continue to hear all about Microsoft's roadmaps and their plans, but it always seem like they end up abandoning one road for another, more so recently than ever before. They need to be making some damned leaps and bounds with Cortana or they need to hurry up and merge her with Alexa. But regardless, I really liked your comment.
  • Well...
    WinPhone was not a Win10, and it makes no point coding/QA for a 3rd mobile OS (which, has small user base).
    But Win10ARM is part of Win10, it make sense to code for it cause UWP rus on IOT, xboxes, AR, MR, Win10PC, S, ARM and they share 1 store. Win10 has huge user base and we human (esp creators) still cannot abandon Windows.
    It make no sense not to drop WinPhone for ARM. WinPhone is a mistake right from the beginning. Kotana isn't the AI, it's just a front face.
    Story Remix is based on MS's AI tech but we don't do "hey, Cortana".
    I remember watching a vid talking about... AI API for developers, and MS has business partners using the API.
    Users do talk to the system but it's not called Cortana... their customer prob won't even know they are using MS's AI research / tech.
    And if they integrate AI into Windows or Office... Cortana or not, we are still using MS's AI, no?
  • Well said.
  • Microsoft must start aggressively, think difference with foldable mobile PC campaigns. What are they waiting???? People like us to do it for them????
  • Though not related, I demand Band 3 to return!!!!!
  • Nah...terrible design having the huge goiter on the flimsy crappy strap.  They needed to design the sensors, etc into the device.  The rest was ok,  but having that huge lump on the bottom was a no go for me and others I know.
  • Microsoft lost all credibility with consumers and they will have to move mountains to even get a second look from so many they have screwed over in the past 3+ years of broken promisses pulled support and broken products. If you look over my comment history from the start of this website with WPC, you will see how Microsoft can turn a hardened fan and supported into a sceptic and hardened critic, through their stupid decisions, switch alegiences (privacy issues), broken promisses and blatant lies over the course of several years.  
  • I was so die hard. It was like a joke. Ppl knew I'd be toting or promoting some Microsoft device. Now they see me with a Samsung and no new Microsoft gizmo and they ask me why I don't promote em anymore. I got over the embarrassment. I look at it more as growth. I dont think I was wrong per say for rooting for the under dog, or promoting what I saw as a vision with a lot of potential. I've more so learned that having loyalty in a company is kind of a dumb concept.
  • You can still get 950 and 950XLdevices so why would you need a Samsung as a MS fan?
  • Microsoft's Achilles heel is its lack of a smartphone, which puts competing assistants in consumers hands. Its strength, according to Nadella is that Cortana isn't bound to a device or software. Its cloud-based nature and integration with Office 365 and Microsoft Graph makes it "transient" and gives Cortana a comprehensive view of the professional side of a user when at work. Combined with Office 365's unified authentication which connects a user's personal and professional identities, it also gives Cortana a comprehensive view of a user's personal side when using Windows 10 at home. #### Agreed, but Cortana on Android (and no doubt iPhones) are a mere shadow of Cortana on W10M. Maybe it will develop over time but I'm not convinced. Let's just wait & see how any new mobile device MS deems fit to release can deliver for professionals AND consumers. I'm not giving up. Just yet anyway.
  • I think a folding device will be completely niche and will ultimately fail.  Apple and Google have already captivated the prosumer market, in my opinion.  And because Microsoft has completely buried themselves in iPhone and Android now, they give absolutely NO reason for prosumers to leave their current devices nor do they provide any compelling reason for new prosumers to choose anything other than those two.  Windows RT failed (although the modest successes independent devs are having in getting it to work on Lumias is interesting).  If anyone is pinning future "phone" hopes on a folding contraption, I think that's a mistake. At best, it will be a jack of all trades, master of none.  It will suck as a tablet because it has a crease down the middle and still be too small of a screen.  It will suck at being a smartphone because it will be hobbled by being thick (remember how many people whined about the Lumias being to thick and heavy?) and, UWP or not, will STILL be lacking the app selection that so many appear to need (not me, I've been fine with the Lumia 1020 all this time).  The technology to truly do something new and unique that could make a dent in the Android/iPhone world just doesn't exist yet.  Believe me, I wish it did.  
  • I don't think it will fail if they have modest expectations like with the Studio, but if they think that it will disrupt markets... I'm skeptical and it could very well be called a failure. More importantly, I think they need to get on the ball with getting "Works with Cortana" on as many packages as possible this year, else that will be a loss.
  • Smartphone's been around for a while now... and what new apps do we need beside games? Are we still trying out new no-brand email client or new news reader every few days? Both Android and iOS is in a very boring space now. What if you can run indie or low specs XPA game on those mini ARMs?
    How about PC version Edge so I can sync my scripts to do my automation, hide things I don't wanna see, feature enhancements, stop vid auto-play and such?
    Quick inkling / sketching? OneDrive on Demand? Light programming and compiler on these ARMs?
    Hnnn... I'd drop Android.
  • In 2007 BB and MS said exactly the same about a smartphone without a keyboard.!
    bottom line the Apple Android fans think current as- is is eternal. If tomorrow a new disruptive technology emerges that gets traction in the market place, it can eradicate the current players  (Apple, Samsun, Android) in a few years indifferent how many apps have been sold / installed on the smartphones.
  • Many critics strongly believed that the Microsoft Surface product line will be a disaster /colossal failure. Yet here we are today, Surface products selling and doing very well generally. Moreover, many other companies are now copying the new category design. If Microsoft is planning to create a new product category - just like it did with Surface - I believe it will be a success. And later other OEM will copy and make the category extremely affordable. Notwithstanding, I respect your comment and opinions. Thanks. 
  • Wait....exactly when did Satya Nadella admit it was a mistake to abandon consumers?
  • I wrote about it last year😉: Microsoft CEO admits repeatedly abandoning consumers was a mistake
  • It was a huge mistake and one that is sinking the company further into the a bias each day. So why w/o are they hanging on to this idiotic dud? He honestly is clueless when it comes to what he should be an expert at. If he had any integrity, he would resign.
  • Maybe he has some amazing device coming. I think he would be strengthening the ecosystem if that were true, but I say wait a bit longer and see what happens with Andromeda. If is a flop then you can really blame it on him. You can't blame him for Balmer's flops though.
  • Of course it's gonna be a flop. With such a record of broken promises and abandonment of entire product lines that they have, I would have to be foolish to buy anything else Microsoft than Windows and Office which I need to have on my production machines. I certainly wouldn't buy product in the $$$$ price range only to learn it would be abandoned a year later. If they want me back as I client, they will have to show some consistency over several years. Also, they will have to stop confusing the words "committed" and "condemned".
  • Exactly. The only chance i come back is if someone else is at the helm. I'm not buying any device with this clowns finger on the discontinue button.
  • If (I repeat if)  they would introdcue a disruptive, cool, sexy device that is the hype (flavor of the day) you will be back on your knees screeming to take your money: that's how it works in the consumer market with fast moving consumer goods  :-)
  • No, I wouldn't. Maybe that's how it works for you, but I'm a freelancer and the stuff I use I need for both personal and business purposes. And that's why I'm in for "it-just-works" things. I did my part of debugging and using workarounds in the past, but today I use what I need, not necessarily what I like. That's the reason why I'm still on Windows and Office on my PCs: the software I use doesn't exist on other platforms, it's Win32-only. I have no special affection to Windows, but I need it although it's unreliable, and hell I'd rather backup my data every day because you can never know when the next BSOD comes.
  • I am running about  10 PC's here at home ((3 of them workstations running 24/7) and I cannot recollect any BSOD the last 5 years......
  • Lucky you. My working laptop had one in July last year. God bless Linux that saved my buttocks back then.
  • It's gonna take many years for MS to prove they are commited. After their massive number of failures, broken promises, lies and mediocre quality products, I would have to be a complete idiot to ever buy another thing from them.Xbox is the only MS device I have at home. I am no longer using any other services from them, mail, no onedrive, no office...nothing. I do not need services from a company that has no clue on commitment and cannot be trusted.
  • Do the Ceo really mean it? I don't think so. He's a wrecker and he also back flip on what he said.
  • He made some half assed attempt just before axing windows 10 mobile.
  • Nadella is an Azure man.
  • And maybe one day Lucy will let Charlie Brown kick the football.
  • "Cortana's on 600 million Windows 10 PCs" a) There are 600 million Windows 10 *devices* out there, not PCs.
    b) Cortana is only available on a subset of those 600 million devices.
  • And actually used and/or enabled on an even smaller subset.
  • Usually by version 2, Microsoft either continues to invest or cancel so I guess we will see after they release a second foldable.
  • I have been in opposition of Nadulla since day one: layoffs, shuffling, discontinuing great products that could’ve be expanded upon, etc. I do applaud his promoting Phil spencer and purchasing of Minecraft. Other than that he has nothing much offer. His Short term and enterprise strategy is slowly making MS more and more irrelevant.  Lets analyze: Cortana- who would use it at work! Why place on IOS or Android when these platforms have their own equal or better assistant?  Swiftkey: great swipe keyboard better than other offerings now replaced with the abysmal swiftkey!  Hololens: where is it? windows RT: another great product! But only needed windows taken out.  PC: a stagnant breed where the enterprise is too slow to adopt, The tablet mode should be taken out, needs a tablet and phone companion.  Mobile: resurrect WP, not windows mobile, in a big way. Get the excitement going again. No mini PC hybrid.  Wordflow: bring it back!  Anything else?  
  • I guess, If You Can't Beat Then, Join Them.
    He's just another dude.
  • What went wrong? They completely fudged the transition stage. Satya Nadella left the smartphone market far too early and that has hurt many things - Cortana's growth and mindshare and a slow number of UWP apps. In regards to Cortana by exiting the smartphone market to early they removed all leverage points for future ecosystem growth surrounding IOT, Home automation and an ecosystem of products with Cortana at the fore. We saw the result of this at CES, OEM's pushing Alexa instead of Cortana. By stagnating the growth of uwp apps, they hurt the very foundation for Andromeda and Polaris as both rely heavily on UWP. These are just two examples. Now Microsoft has to play catch up, they were years ahead of the game and now they are years behind when it comes to Cortana and a mobile play. The andromeda device is the next evolution of Windows Phones but they fudged up that transition completely. Now they have to expend hell of a lot more resources. The either that do that or just fold as OEMs are now doing their own things - Microsoft burnt all their bridges in the pursuit of the "next shiny object". There are great things happening in the background at Microsoft but in the foreground? It's a barren waste land and Microsoft has no one to blame but themselves. So to regain that lush green meadow, they have to work twice as hard and expend three times the amount of resources as they cannot afford to play the slow game.  
  • You mean consumers are driving the business and enterprise sectors? Just like I've been yelling for years. You only have one dumb a#$ to blame for this.
  • Consumers do not drive the entreprise sector. If you think otherwise  dream-on.
  • Indeed
  • Microsoft may feel consumers are important but in the wider canvas, their consumer offering is poor. It was poor before. One example was Groove. It was a service that was never available globally, Microsoft deliberately removed their desktop music application with a Fisher Price low functionality app with Windows 8 when hardly any customers used Windows 8. The branding of Xbox Music suggested it was a gamers service. There was no advertising for the service. For years fans of the service said please give us a family plan so it can compete with everyone else. It never happened. I could have picked any Microsoft service. Mis-steps everywhere. The one brand Apple and Google don't have to fear in the consumer space is Microsoft. It's a devastating trail of damage. Who can forget the launch of the Xbox One as a room based TV companion with $100 of cost added with a Kinect sensor? As a room TV device, it was only 12 times more expensive than a Chromecast and much more expensive than PlayStation 4 as a games console. They managed to mess up in two consumer products in just one launch. Genius. IT Pros in the enterprise are using a lot of Microsoft software. Business is still using the PC for productivity. Everywhere else is Google/Apple and Amazon.  I think the game is over for Microsoft in the consumer space. They have neither the product range nor the inclination to be involved in the consumer market. Xbox and gaming seem the only exception.  
  • Hi, the relative unsuccess of Microsoft in consumer is not a fatality
    The consumer, the family, and the entertainement are for me a little entreprise, but Microsoft doesn't have develop tools for this after Window Essential (live mail, movie maker)
    Microsoft must to do cool services for ecosytem where the people are very different (father, students ...)
    We need interactivity in their life
    Lucidity, ludicity for Microsoft in this work as pleasure to give at people to use and appreciate Microsoft for life
  • MS Problem is MS Culture, the current leadership is ineffective.  
  • Jason, where does WMR for into your vision and this new device category?
  • I believe that the category will support WMR.
  • In the next few years I Nadella promise you'll never see anything more about Windows Stuff.
  • Agreed Jason, for at least a decade already, Msft has the better portfolio, they have and are moving forward, have integrated, cut redundancies, but still, will they recatch a significant consumer share, don't know, but looking forward to what is coming. It always reminds me of Philips, first and or best in many things, but poor in time to market and consumer marketing.
  • Both Microsoft and Google forgot that consumers can be professionals too. If they realized this both would still offer paid custom domain support for their free services such as and Gmail. Apple knows that individuals and small businesses make up an increasing percentage of the US workforce. Paul Thurrott gave up on G Suite because he's treated like a 2nd class citizen compared to Google's free services. Microoft and Google supposedly have a lot of very smart people.
  • Ok Ill say it here. The new comment section of WC sucks *ss. Why the hell there is another article below the comments and you cannot scroll to the bottom properly?!?!
  • It's frustrating being a Microsoft fan. Based on what I'm seeing around the web these days, many, many people on the consumer side of things have given up and likely will never return for fear of being disappointed yet again. That said, I started talking about "one windows" heavily when Windows 8 was released, particularly after the Surface Pro came out. I could see it, "I run Windows" on any device. It really makes no sense to have multiple operating systems if you can design one that runs on anything. And it seems that Microsoft is still moving in that direction. The problem is that their execution (pun intended) has been horrific. Too many consumers, too many developers, and too many OEMs have been hung out to dry without so much as a thank you. Honestly, why would anyone come back no matter what Microsoft does? I don't think a reasonable person would. The devices, the platform, and the developer tools would have to be phenomenal for anyone to even take a look much less devote valuable resources to it. "We've been down that road before. Not doing it again." Microsoft has had so much fail in recent years it's really ridiculous. I don't need to re-list everything, we all know all the great products that were poorly introduced, never marketed, and ultimately abandoned as Microsoft scratched their heads. "What happened? Derp dee derp!" Even just a few years ago I was a fanboy to a fault. Today, I often find myself going out of my way to recommend against Microsoft products and find ways to stop using their products. How does a company lose such momentum and not give two ****s about it? "Plans change" I guess. Here's the deal though. And this really sucks I think. I'll never use an iPhone because I despise what Apple represents. Android, so long as I can disconnect from Google as much as possible I might be willing to try it again. The next Windows device? I don't know man. I think it would have to be such a game changer that you would be crazy not to buy into it. But I just don't see that happening. This foldable thing that's being passed around looks ridiculous to me. If that's really it, I'm out. I'm done. They'll have to do much better than that to keep me around. Now off to look at Android devices.
  • matchoo.  what does apple "represent" to you?  Iphone and MS services work together fantastic.  Iphone has pretty well any imaginable accessory available for it,  and then some.   The apps on it are more polished,  and just run better.  There is no android bloat,  or slow downs on iphone.  Toss the fanboy view of " I don't like what apple represents"....they represent the exact same thing android does.   Providing a phone and service to customers.  More importantly CONSUMERS!  I will never give up my windows computer for a mac.  However,  my surface,  and nokias both have made way for an ipad and iphone.  The ipad is a much better tablet than the surface just as the surface is a much better PC than the ipad.  There is No android phone save for the pixel and essential that would even make me consider an android phone.  My iphone 6s is faster than the galaxy S8, Has a better design, feels better since it's smaller, and gets much better battery life.  Add in all the camera, audio, etc goodies you can get.  Check out the dedicated camera grip you can get for the iphone series.  It's like the 1020 grip on sterorids.   
  • No Jason, they do not get it. Since that bold idiot took over, they don't get anything.
  • Bold idiot?  That is like a backhanded compliment! 
  • I think he meant BALD....but meh,  who knows!
  • :))) I meant bold, like text bold. He is so thick headed he sees nothing but his pocket, no vision, nothing.
  • On the Cortana in the workplace point how do people see this working in the real world?
    Probably most workers do not have their own office these days. I am in an open plan office with 30 other people - if we all start shouting "Hey Cortana" then it will be chaos not only for Cortana's getting confused everywhere but also with the reply coming from our laptop's. Eveyerone has their laptops on mute to not disturb people normally so this would need to change, some people are also listening to music from their phone. I can see how Cortana works in in a private office / home office scenario but I struggle to see long term real world usage in offices with more than 1 person.
  • Tou can use Cortana without voice.
  • This is a click-bait article for Nadella/Microsoft haters. It is sad what this site has descended to,
  • Wnen I am a consumer I have needs/ When I am a professional I have needs, There is overlap, but not a lot. I bought my Surface devices as a consumer. My large multinational enterprise employer was, typically, too slow to see the trend.
  • Same experience here but now they have introduced them (about 2 years ago) and  installed based in our US HQ is about 30 % Surface Pro now. In addition the surface pro's have almost completely wiped out our installed Ipad base.
  • Actually OldMan88 it is not. One I don't hate Nadella, nor do ai hate Microsoft. And my intent with the peice is not to reach the small amount of Nadella/Microsoft haters (as you call them). That's a rather unambitious goal considering the large pool of techiez who read Microsoft news. My goal was to present a Microsoft's professed dual user core commitment, the capacity has (more than any other company to fulfil that commitment) and highlight how its failing, to date, with meeting that core strategy. The scope of that intent reaches beyond merely appealing to, Nadella/Microsoft haters. It appeals to anyone interested in what drives and doesn't drive the company's strategies and actions. Hopefully, you got more out of the peice than a desire to hate Microsoft/Nadella. From a business/industry perspective it provides a thoughtful backdrop for discussion.😉
  • Small amount of MS haters? :)) I think you should reconsider this estimation.
  • It take probably several years, with a phone, and new services
    It's others comportements
  • Teams. As a solo contractor, this thing is useless to me. I need to be able to build a team for a project where no two individuals actually share a common email domain. unfortunately, this issue appears all over their product offerings.
  • MS Poweruser is reporting that Bing Maps appears to be way out next.  How come Windows Central isn't reporting this?
  • I looked through the MSPoweruser app and so no evidence of this. Care to provide a link?
  • Check the website, not the app...
  • Because here at WC it seems many are so blinded by Nutella's crap that they don't see the real stuff.
  • Hopefully they will come with Cortana understanding all languages and something similar to payments apple and samsung got. Different home and wearable devices with which you can communicate, control and buy are most important.  With people going from offline to cloud, others AI get available along with desktop like computing, I would say its about time to not be late.
  • Nope, they'll squander yet another opportunity by telling no one but techies what it can do, no matter how cool it is. To this day, Windows phone, even as far back as 7.5+, in some cases, has features that neither iOS nor Android have ever replicated, such as pinning data and functions straight to home screen to eliminate steps launching apps and navigating, and yet most people have no idea. Why? Because Microsoft advertising is the worst in the business.
  • I think WC needs to focus more on the communication aspect of MS's recent cancellations. I understand products fail it happens but when entire Divisions are shuttered and MS won't even talk to us it is utterly ridiculous and insulting. Why do we have to find out from Joe B's Twitter that WM is dead? Recently we just found out from a MS dev's twitter that no more insider builds were coming to Windows mobile. This is an entire phone division, and they can't even get the balls to talk to us like adults and would rather hide in the corner and pretend they never made phones. I'm sick of this crap from MS, it is insulting to me and is a cowards way of dealing with your customers. The anger from consumers would have not been nearly as bad if MS could at least talk to us about these product cancellations and at least in part share their road map with us.
  • Yep.
  • I really had to chuckle when I read "Microsoft will be on the forefront of innovation"... Seriously, well maybe but then only to abandon it. Microsoft's consumer presence is walking dead. Always late or nonexistent to the party.
  • No, they do have a consumer presence in the gaming arena and other stuff. However, I see no evidence that they will continue with new stuff that is not an instantaneous hit.
  • They need a, 'Panos' of the marketing department. Passion!
  • It needs serious work because the man at the top seems to be only interested in short term profits.
  • The Lumia line was great. Look at the 640/xl and how great it still is with 1GB/8GB!!! Then, of course the 950/xl are both great devices that just needed tweeking. The HP X3 is fantastic, and with a second gen and/or a smaller device would have captured more. Take a loss, big deal, offer a phone 📱 with a Surface Book! Do something, just ******* something.
  • I think microsoft will still go on as the do now. I don't think much will change. The way things are going still reminds me of the the early windows phone days.
  • Nadella will stay MS CEO because he Keeps Microsoft's bread and butter businesses Alive The Surface Products need to priced much lower than they are now or Microsoft needs to make a cheaper line of good working products