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Why it's important to understand Microsoft and its rivals have different missions

Microsoft Logo at Ignite
Microsoft Logo at Ignite (Image credit: Windows Central)

But that's a bit extreme. Though they are rivals, it's more nuanced than that. Consumers can become emotionally invested in products and platforms, but to the companies, it's often "just business".

The intense personal allegiance to companies and their products has a name: fandom. Every company wants fans. The problem that Microsoft faces is the enormous breadth of its business — most fans are limited to a single product or category and few grasp the wide array of other products in Microsoft's portfolio. They see the company as ignoring what is best (from their perspective) without regard for what it means to the rest of the business.

A fan's fallacy

Fans with a distorted view may expect a company to compete and invest in areas that are contrary to its mission just because another company is doing so. Additionally, just because companies may compete in certain industries doesn't mean they have the same mission. Thus, a company is going to be guided by its mission rather than competitors actions.

Like sports fans, tech enthusiasts passionately learn the "players" (CEOs, engineers and division leaders) of the "teams" (corporations) they embrace. They read article after article, contemplate strategies and look for evidence that their team is "winning." Armed with this knowledge, they engage in and sometimes initiate (troll) online squabbles with opposing fans.

The limited category upon which they base their arguments and expectations of success or failure represents just a small portion of what the company does, however. And therein lies the problem.

Shared space, different missions

Like the overlapping segments of a Venn diagram, fans contend where companies' missions overlap. Sadly, they begin to see this sliver of commonality as the totality of these companies' missions.

Consequently, their view of what the company is doing and should do revolves around that "sliver" rather than an understanding of the core mission that governs it.

Thus, they become easily frustrated when the company's direction conflicts with the limited perception they've allowed themselves to develop. Or when someone offers a perspective that places their area of focus into a broader context. Fans must understand there's often a broader mission governing a company beyond the product that interests them. That said, choices consistent with a company's broader mission can sometimes be harmful to product categories that deserve greater attention.

Microsoft's tools provision mission

Microsoft defines itself as a "do more" company. It provides platforms and tools to help people create content and technologies that serve industries and individuals.

Microsoft's CEO Satya Nadella said:

Even if it's a consumer product it is a tool … I don't want to take away from whatever success Apple or Google are having. We are very different companies … We are a tool creator, we are not a luxury good manufacturer … We are about creating technologies so that others can build. [With] Surface, we created a premium product ... every OEM should create a lower-priced model. We want to democratize things.

Though this statement encapsulates Microsoft's mission, it may also frustrate some users. Microsoft's history is littered with consumer products that fans have embraced, and Microsoft has forsaken. Nadella's "luxury goods" reference could have been a hint of snark or perhaps "sour grapes" in the wake of Microsoft's failed consumer products.

Microsoft's CEO admits abandoning consumers was a mistake

Microsoft vs. Apple and Google mission

logo

logo (Image credit: Microsoft)

Though Microsoft may delve into consumer products, its goal as a toolmaker is to democratize those tools. Simply put, it sets a standard and expects OEMs to produce diversity, price points, and volume. Unlike Apple, Microsoft's aspirational first-party products are not luxury products. Thus they don't garner the marketing dollars and consumer push Apple's do.

Apple's mission includes:

Macs, the best personal computers in the world... [it] leads the digital music revolution with its iPods .... reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone ... and is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices with iPad.

Apple's mission is to create premiere consumer products. Microsoft's is to provide a "toolbox" for the creation of technologies and to help others do more.

Google's mission is "to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful."

Google is executing this mission via an AI-first objective. Google describes Assistant, its AI digital assistant, as every user's personal Google. As the provider of the world's premier search engine and the company with the most prolific mobile platform, Android, Google is connecting to billions of users and them to information.

A matter of perspective ...

Fans of any platform should remember these differences when contemplating why these companies do what they do. Microsoft will be driven by a goal to provide tools, Apple will strive to create premiere consumer products, and Google will pursue ways to access and connect users to information.

Next time you get upset about Microsoft's lack of focus on consumer products, for better or worse, consider its mission.

Will Microsoft's lack of consumer focus hurt its future?

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!

93 Comments
  • Nice, clear and to the point. Thank you Jason. I'm a fan and use the MS Windows 10 products as a small business person, therefore I do appreciate their mission. As a fan I'm still hanging onto my Lumia 950XL. Works well for me. My husband has had to move to a Android phone. Glad to see MS presence there.
  • You got Google's Mission incorrect. It is to gather as much information as possible so they may serve their ads as efficiently as possible for maximum profit. /Sarcasm (but not really)
  • True and he also got apple's mission wrong. The real one is " to build an operated brand and subsequently sell extremely overpriced products while locking their users into their ecosystem and keeping them buying the same crap every year"
  • Whereas Microsoft’s Mission is to announce new products with great fanfare and then quietly abandon them 3 years later.  Or announce new technologies and do nothing with them.  
  • Good one and follows Satya's mission to the T. Microsoft previous CEO's didn't cancel products like Satya, Terry, and Joe!
  • You beat me to it. Thanks Nutella.
  • Yeah,I remember the Zune player that was the most coolest and innovative  MP3 ever was the key for windows phone  and was  forgotten and killed forever
  • Quite right. I'm on the record as pointing out that MS would announce a product and only release it 4-6 months later when the momentum had been lost. Just dopey! Toss in the statements that I would be able to upgrade my Lumia 820 to WM10 only to later find that was a bald-faced lie and MS just seems to be like a Kamikaze pilot on a mission to self-destruction.I have even moved to buy a new Nokia phone and Chromebook. Maybe I'll get "caught" but if I stay with MS I KNOW that I'll be let down.  Nadella simply MUST go.
  • Haha
  • "Help others do more" lol!
    Until Microsoft has shown proper commitment towards ultramobile productivity for their own ecosystem, I'll believe them then but until that tag line is hollow words.
    The issues is that if they want to create a "toolbox" to "help others to do more" then they have to be every single sector not just the enterprise. In my opinion It's a hypocritical and moronic statement. Because if you extrapolate it over a long period to derive a growth pathway without any transitional focus, it just fails on every aspect and only serves to highlight wide spread failings when it comes to their own ecosystem caused by emphasis on short term growth through monetisation of their competitors user base. Microsoft has to focus on the transitional phase in their own ecosystem if they are going to leverage any sort of advantage they have and as it stands that is dwindling day by day. When I see silly decisions occuring time and time again, I am not going to mince my words. I admit, I was one of the few that lambasted Microsoft through the feedback programme due to the glaringly obvious bugs when it comes to ultramobile productivity. Such as when you want to attach a document to an email, you couldn't as you were locked to the photohub. Now if they were using the device on a day to day basis they would have spotted this mistake but it persisted through the GDR updates and until Microsoft relented and gave us a file manager along with a proper notification centre. For 6 years I worked as a property manager and I had to find countless work around to make the product work (then Wp8.x L920) so I am acutely aware of the pros and cons of their previous vision of ultramobile productivity. I hang in there because I saw the potential like many and only to be kicked in the groin time and time again. The Lumia 950 and 950XL where the direct result of short term money grabbing through over firing engineers and the programmatic testers. Here is another blindingly obvious bug, in one note the copy / paste bar constantly used to hover above the cursor and that was the case for several months. If they are using the product then it would not have ever shipped in that state to customers.
    The only reason I still use Windows Mobile 10 is because it is the only o/s that has the perfect balance between a walled garden (ios) and a free for all (android). As If I wanted to I could interop unlock my phone and tinker with the o/s but those days are long past, I just want a product that works without having to resort to work arounds. Personally I do not tolerate false platitudes, when there is a factual track record of these falsehoods and glorified technobabble.
    So yeah, "Help others do more" is a hypocritical and a moronic statement.
  • Spot on. Jason goes to extents to somehow paint MS as the good guy n in doing so keeps pointing out that fans lack the vision to understand the breadth of business of MS but very conveniently ignores tbe actual stes of MS that defy the same argument. Like how Wharton brooks were kicked in the nuts. How HP had to cancel an entire product line. 
  • Hi Techiez. Perhaps you didn't read the entire piece here are excerpts that directly contradict your claims: "That said, choices consistent with a company's BROADER MISSION CAN SOMETIMES BE HARMFUL TO PRODUCT CATEGORIES THAT DESERVE GREATER ATTENTION." "Though this statement encapsulates Microsoft's mission, it may also frustrate some users. MICROSOFT'S HISTORY IS LITTERED WITH CONSUMER PRODUCTS THAT FANS HAVE EMBRACED, AND MICROSOFT HAS FORSAKEN. " "Nadella's "luxury goods" reference could have been a hint of snark or PERHAPS "SOUR GRAPES" IN THE WAKE OF MICROSOFT'S FAILED CONSUMER PRODUCTS."
    (Techiez I'm sure your familiar with the sour grapes reference) I followed that excerpt with a link to the article I wrote about Nadella abandoning consumers: Microsoft's CEO admits abandoning consumers was a mistake Now those are direct references in the text of this piece which clearly state to every reader what you claim I don't state. I have plenty of articles which do the same here a re a few references: 1. "Will Microsoft's lack of consumer focus hurt its future and many others", in my column such as
    2. "Microsoft's lack of cool factor hurt consumer success" 3. Others that highlight its failure in mobile hurting its AR efforts against Apple and Google 4. And many more: www.windowscentral.com/author/jason-ward I'm not sure if you're just skimming or not reading at all but you're definitely missing what's clearly and indisputably there in the text of this piece and in my portfolio of articles. 😉
  • Read it. Mission is to help others do more, to provide companies with the tools to create products. If only, but destroying Nokia (or trying hard to) and undermining HP kinda indicates otherwise. HP and Nokia certainly think so. Road to success? Hmm...
  • Exactly, seems destrying Nokia, undermining other OEMs such as HP, wharton brooks and others is the definition of democratization as per this article.
  • They didn't buy Nokia, just their phone manufacturing capabilities. Nokia is doing just fine and has even started releasing phones again!
  • With Nokia  windows phone begin to sell well but remember when M$ said that will change the name Nokia for Microsoft  i see lots of people angry for that on facebook site.
  • Windows phones never sold well. The sales numbers were always terrible. Nokia and Microsoft abandoned it for a reason.
  • Nokia is doing fine despite Microsoft's attempts, not because of them.
  • As I say always u pick out snippets to support your cause, but as a whole your articles are pro MS and you keep mentioning that fans dont get it. now the conclusion from your own article:
    Fans of any platform should remember these differences when contemplating why these companies do what they do. Microsoft will be driven by a goal to provide tools, Apple will strive to create premiere consumer products, and Google will pursue ways to access and connect users to information. Next time you get upset about Microsoft's lack of focus on consumer products, for better or worse, consider its mission.  
    If MS was driven by goal to provide tools then whartonbrooks or HP wouldnt have suffered. the bridges and uwp apis wouldnt be half hearted. Seems like the goal posts keep shifting as it suits WC.  Because whatever Ms did can never be termed as consistent with any particular strategy. I'm not asking for first party hardware but when u talk abt democratizing toolsm there are too many inconsistencies in Ms actions, so for the last time STOP defending MS and "it would be a good thing". You've been advocating that MS has a strategy all along, but it seems like they are just throwing balls of clay to fall and hoping 1 of them stick, that is their mobile strategy.
  • Perhaps your missing the point techiez. You can't say I'm not saying what is clearly stated in the text: :😉
    "That said, choices consistent with a company's broader mission CAN SOMETIMES BE HARMFUL TO PRODUCT CATEGORIES THAT DESERVE GREATER ATTENTION."
    I'm not making excuses, I'm pointing out thier failures.
    Here's more:
    "Though this statement encapsulates Microsoft's mission, it may also frustrate some users. MICROSOFT'S HISTORY IS LITTERED WITH CONSUMER PRODUCTS THAT FANS HAVE EMBRACED, AND MICROSOFT HAS FORSAKEN. Nadella's "luxury goods" reference could have been a hint of snark or perhaps "sour grapes" in the wake of Microsoft's failed consumer products."
    ----------------
    Now, of course the sour grapes reference references the fable where I believe a fox 🦊 wanted grapes 🍇 that were out if reach. But because he couldn't reach them, he claimed they were sour.
    My reference to Nadella's "luxury goods" statement was saying that he may be calling the other companies consumer success "sour" because of Microsoft's repeated consumer failures.
    I even include my story about Nadella's admission about abandoning consumers being a mistake.
    You seem to want to flatten this multi-dimensional piece (and my other work) to one dimension claiming its a mere defense of Microsoft.
    Clearly, I address multiple angles, I condemn Microsoft, but also encourage readers to take a broader look as well.
    It's not as black and white as you seem to want to make it.
    The reality is Microsoft made some major blunders. I acknowledge them, and call them out on them. Look I'm a disappointed consumer too!😉
    It's equally real that a company's mission and investments are bigger than a single product category that interests us fans. And to that point I encourage fans to take a broader look.
    This and other pieces address both sides. And my closing statement: "Next time you get upset about Microsoft's lack of focus on consumer products, FOR BETTER OR WORSE, consider its mission." I intentionally included the phrase "for better or worse" (note the sentence reads fine, but suggest something different without it.) I wanted to make sure I closed with a reference that Microsoft's lack of consumer efforts, though consistent with its mission could be "for better or worse." That's why THE VERY LAST TEXT In the piece is a link, directly following that closing statement, to an article that addresses Microsoft's lack of consumer focus and its,affect in its future. "WILL MICROSOFT'S LACK OF CONSUMER FOCUS HURT ITS FUTURE?" Also note the inline link 🔗 in the closing sentence to an article referencing Microsoft's lack of cool factor and its affect on consumer relations. Again, its not as one dimensional as you're asserting techiez.😉
  • I'm just not convinced the choices made ARE consistent with their stated mission. Clearly neither are HP or Nokia. I suspect their mission is not clear even to Microsoft, which is not impressive.
  • Hi Andy the statement: "That said, choices consistent with a company's broader mission can sometimes be harmful to product categories that deserve greater attention." Whatever motivations Nadella and the senior leadership team deemed more important to invest in, fro thier perspective, at the timely likely seemed more consistent with Microsoft's broader mission than continuing to invest in smartphones. I think my piece, "Microsoft's CEO admits repeatedly abandoning consumers was a mistake" reveals Nadella likely saw the choice to follow the companies mission in relation to chasing the next shiny thing (as he put it) Mixed Reality at the expense of mobile consumers was a mistake. So, HP and the abandonment of smartphone investments related to the Nokia phone division purchase, suffered from that choice to follow a mission to democratize Mixed reality and be the platform for what's presumed to be the next evolution of computing. holographic computing.
  • if mixed reality was MS's focus over mobile, still doesnt explain the lack of focus on uwp and hence calling it out as inconsistent strategy.
  • You still dont get it, and you keep blaming your readers that either they dont see the bigger picture or that their view is not broader enough. now lets first decouple this with the consumer focus of MS. Its not about the hardware when we talk about consistency, so with this I think i can exclude rest of your argument as I do not consider their lack of mbile phones or mobile OS as -ves that you are tryig to defend.   You are trying to portray MS efforts as being consistent with what you think of what MS is doing. The reason I call out your pieces as trying to defend MS is because, despite all your points you still assert that MS strategy is consistent, now keeping aside the hardwarem I think we all can agree that Ms is a software company, and when I say MS strategy is not coherent and they seems confused it refers to the software side of things, now as you may recall from your previous pieces, you portrayed UWP as having a potential due to its outreach of billion devices, now if you were a developer you would know that progress in MS efforts towards UWP is happening at a pace slower than a tortoise sprint, Developers have mostly given up on it noone no longer cares about apps on W10 desktop, and gimmicky foldable device is not going to change it,  There a reason y HP a trusted MS partner openly rebuked MS mobile efforts, if indeed MS efforts were seriouss then atleast behing closed enterprise doors HP and MS would have talked and agreed to move along in mobile space.   Now irrespective of MS's consumer focus or the lack of it, their software strategy to move to UWP is in shambles, so even if MS was all in for enterprise still the lack of focus of UWP is a glaring example of inconsistency.   now stop seeing fans reaction as being due to lack of mobile, we have moved on, but things dont look promising on other fronts as well. and hence we pick out on these articles which ignore this.   Sorry If I sound rude, but a genuine suggestion, why dont you interview a couple of windows app developers about what they think of MS software strategy, it would give you some more insights and perhaps a different perspective to the topics that you write abt currently.
  • Hi techiez thanks for the discussion, but I, like you and others, am also aware of Microsoft's failed attempts on the software side. I've actually written several pieces on that topic. Here are four of those pieces:
    1.Developers don't love Windows. Can Microsoft mend the relationship? - published April 27, 2017
    https://m.windowscentral.com/how-can-microsoft-woo-developers-falling-lo...
    The premise here is obvious from the title.
    2.Microsoft already has the tools it needs to address the Windows (not Windows phone) 'app gap' - published Sept 27, 2017
    https://m.windowscentral.com/microsoft-can-address-app-gap-these-tools-i...
    Here I address that Microsoft has, but isn't using the tools at its disposal to address its Windows (not just phone) app issues.
    3.If Microsoft doesn't kill at Build 2017 the Surface phone is dead on arrival - published Feb 2, 2017
    https://m.windowscentral.com/if-microsoft-doest-kill-build-2017-surface-...
    Here I address Microsoft's need to get developers on board by Build 2017 if a 2018 "what was being call Surface phone" was in view.
    4.Is early 2018 to soon for a Surface phone - published Jan 29, 2017
    https://m.windowscentral.com/game-changer-part-i-2017-or-even-early-2018...
    Here I challenge Microsoft's lack of ecosystem preparedness for a 2018 Surface phone due to poor developer support.
    As I said, a company's mission is one thing, but particular decisions made can be made at the expense of other areas and be harmful to those areas. I thought it was clear in the piece that the mission does not make Microsoft infallible. I clearly identified failures, and not just failures in mobile.
    What I do share is that the mission (like Google's and Apple's) is the guiding parameter directing the core directive of the company - Microsoft seeks to produce tools others use to do more.
    The core of this piece was to set the tone of a missions role and then to contrast Apple's, Google's and Microsoft's core directives.
    Apple produces high-end hardware, Google connects users to information and Microsoft, again creates tools for other to create content and technology.
    An understanding of that broader context gives a framework from which to assess any company's actions WHILE also understanding that not every decision a company makes will be a great decision as I concede and identify (more broadly than mobile. So I don't ignore other issues.) in the piece. So your statement:
    "now stop seeing fans reaction as lack of mobile, we've moved on..." is without basis, I never stated any type of reference limited to fans response to Microsoft's mobile failings. If you can find that statement please paste it here. As the excerpts I've already shared reflect, I was INTENTIONALLY more broad than that knowing the reality that fans have grasped on to and been disappointed by more than phone.
  • Amen to that!
  • "What's important to understand" is that MS's mission is now defined by its failures in the consumer market, not its vision.
  • Notice Apples simply says "Macs are the best personal computers in the world" and then immediately jumps to everything iOS. I would argue MS and the big three OEM (Dell, HP, and Lenovo) have stripped Apple of a lot of their innovator "cache" in PC, they hit their nadir when MS introduced the Studio and they gave the MacBook a touchbar. Even Apple knows it is hard to sell a mac now, look at how little of their stores are put aside for them.
  • Also Apple makes the bulk of their profits through phone sales, hence every single decision that Apple has made in terms of hardware in the ultramobile space has been to derive increased profits. They need to show they can still monetise, hence the idiotically expensive iphone x, which has a rumoured BOM of $250s or so. Exclusivity agreements with hardware manufacturers for guaranteeed custom at a very low price point and acquisitions as it's cheaper than licensing the technology. Otherwise if they do not show growth, investor confidence will be lost and their share prices will tank. So therefore the next logical step is code unification to reduce the wage bill.
  • Where is Dell, HP and Lenovo's innovation? I haven't seen anything impressive as from them in a long time. They certainly have nothing as nice as a MacBook Pro.
  • Xbox is not a tool!!
  • Well Xbox 360 made it easy for anyone to create game for it. Xbox one has same capabilities.
  • You can create games on it as a dev box and create streams on it in which a user gathers people to watch them play...
  • And notice how the focus is currently not on selling Xboxes, but in making UWP games the premier platform so that it doesn't matter whether you choose an Xbox or a PC. Fits right into the mission as Jason has outlined.
  • If their mission is selling the least amount of hardest possible.
  • Thanks for that excellent point noirsoft.😉
  • The problem is, MS is failing even on this "help others do more" mission. They basically pioneered the car infotainment business together with Ford, 10 years ago with the Sync platform, and yet they managed to lost this business to BlackBerry just when this business started to be a thing, with all this talk about autonomous cars and stuff. They managed to lose the partnership with Apple to provide the search results for Siri et al, to Google. Another thing they had a huge head-start and simply walked away from, was their IPTV technology...  
  • Good note on sync. Still have Microsoft version in my Ford. They pioneer a lot of thing just fails to capitalize on it success.
  • Wasn't Sync universally hated?
  • No. Now grow up please.
  • I mean only a a fool could take any statement said by Mr "Hit Refresh" seriously after all those statements regarding Windows Mobile that came from his mouth since 2015.
  • Yet wc keeps spinning stories around the same statements
  • And we keep reading them.  So what is your point if you continually read them and complain?
  • If you don't like something about your community, it is often better to speak up and try to improve it than to simply walk away. Walking away is Ol' Nads' approach when things don't go his way. Not everyone is as shallow and disengaged.
  • We need a commitment.  Not just empty promises.  Give us some sort of positive signals.
  • Excellent piece Jason
  • And he address pathetic trolls..
  • Thanks minhin!
  • Regarding phones, "Fans" didn't make MS jump on the Mobil wagon. MS did that all by themselves. Then they jumped off the bus while throwing the "Fans" under the bus at the same time. I think MS does a terrible job communicating to consumers in my opinion.
  • Thank you.  And Windows Central keeps trying to excuse their behavior as MS Apologists over the last few years.  While others were saying Windows Phone was dead, this place wrote a 6-piece series last year on why Windows Phone wasn't dead.  Now when Windows Central posts andrioid phone reviews, and subscribers rightly ask why Windows Central (formerly Windows Phone Central) is doing this video, the channel itself will respond and scoff at their own fans as "triggered Windows Phone users."  I've used this site for years now, and I can't emphasize how disappointed I've been in how seemingly dishonest and, in the case of whomever manages their Youtube channel, outright MEAN, this website has become.
  • Actually, Michael, those pieces were and are accurate. At the time of writing Windows phone was not dead, and even now, until support ends its still not dead.
    Now a deeper look at what those pieces communicated is Microsoft's Windows-on-mobile mission. Most outlets when communicating Windows phone is dead were not referencing just an iteration of Microsoft's mobile OS, but the totality of thier mobile mission on a mobile form factor running Windows. My assertion in that series and various other pieces is that Microsoft's mission for mobile (though definitely not a consumer success) was not limited to the success or failure of a PARTICULAR iteration of a mobile OS. Each of them failed: Pocket PC, Windows Mobile, Windows Phone and Windows 10 Mobile, as Microsoft pursued (unsuccessfully to date) it's Windows-on-mobile vision. Now as I've stressed MANY times the communication of the pursuit of that vision is not an assertion that it WILL succeed. It's simply an acknowledgment that the reality of what Microsoft is trying to do is not as one dimensional as other outlets that you referenced have reported - the failure of a particular iteration of Microsoft's mobile OS is not an end to its Windows-on-Mobile strategy. For instance... As more information about Project Andromeda, Core OS and Microsoft's folding device patents emerge, we're seeing more clearly the continuation of Microsoft's Windows-on-Mobile vision. In fact, running full Windows (Core OS) with an inking focus, this device is consistent with the narrative I've laid out beginning in 2015. So no, it's not a consumer focused device that appeals to folks at this site. And I think that clouds some readers perception to what I'm communicating. You see because we all came here to WC as consumers and fans of Microsoft's smartphone platform, many fans want ONLY news of a vision that appeals to consumers. I understand. I am NOT saying this device will or is even meant to be a consumer success, what I AM saying and have been saying for a long time is simply THIS IS WHAT MICROSOFT IS DOING.😉(Though I do believe if it resonates in the enterprise the loooong-term😉 vision is to bring this category to consumers) Finally, as you can see at many of the outlets that said Microsoft's mobile efforts were dead, thier now talking about Project Andromeda, publishing patent images and reporting on Microsoft's CONTINUED Windows-on-mobile vision. 🤔 But thier stories shifted and changed based on short-term events and information, my story, as I have continuously and sincerely shared with you all has been long-term, and therefore consistent. Windows-on-mobile continues and as I've been saying, it's moving from Windows Mobile to full Windows on a context sensitive mobile device. There's no guarantee the device will make it to market, but like the Surface Mini and McLaren the effort is REAL. And that's the story I have consistently told. 😉
    -----------------------
    Also we're not excusing Microsoft's behavior: Read: 1. My four part series condemning Microsoft's focus of Windows Mobile on the enterprise. 2. My piece about Nadella abandoning consumers.(Linked in this piece) 3. My piece about Microsoft and developers poor relationship. 4. My piece about Microsoft having but not using the tools it has to address the app gap. 5. Microsoft's lack of consumer focus and how it may hurt its future. (Linked at end of this piece). 6. My piece on Microsoft's lack of cool factor and uts affect on consumer relationship. 7. My pieces on Microsoft's lack of marketing. 8. My piece on the long term (negative) effects of Microsoft's low-end smartphone push. 9. My pieces on Microsoft's lack of a phone and how that affects its competitive strengths in relation to Apple's and Google's AR efforts. 10. My piece on the inevitable abuse of Microsoft's AI-driven camera tech. 11 My piece on the potential abuse of its Quantum computing investments And many more all found here:
    www.windowscentral.com/author/jason-ward 😉
  • Surface needs to be MS's mission going forward.... Surface should be the face of MS... $hit, even rebrand the brick & mortar stores as Surface Stores.
  • Might sound crazy, but hey...
  • Sorry Jason, but listening to what, 'people' say, I.e. Microsoft, instead of watching what they, 'do' is a marked mistake. Actions. Actions. Anybody can spout about what they are doing and sound as if they will move the world. I'd prefer to watch a person actually move the world. I'm a fan because of products and the general thing that Microsoft products provide me, but when they take them away, solely for monetary reasons it shows they don't consider the customer, and THAT is a problem. Groove is a massive example of that. I invested in the entire MS ecosystem including all the top end phones, but now - forced to go to Spotify that DOES NOT work on my phones even after, 'transferring' my playlists. The bottom line is none if the consumers business. When a customer goes into a cafe and wants a coffee they expect, after paying, that they get their coffee, NOT that the owner comes out later and makes excuses about his bottom line, blah blah blah, and then says that the coffee will now be a tea and is delayed.
  • Microsoft is doing great in every field.
  • Microsoft: put your f_cking Windows OS into millions of phones ASAP and hold your head up high, or else go burn in Hell.
  • Lol
  • Every time I see the words "and that's a good thing" I hear Martha Stewart's voice from Futurama.
  • Good article.
  • Thanks reomw😎
  • After 5 years of Windows, I switched to a Google Pixel 2016, bought for a good price I suppose, $399.00 for the 128 GB version..  Got it on the 19th of this month. In just about a week's time, I'm confident that I'll not be with a Windows Phone soon, no matter how much I liked that OS. There are some things you come to know you need, only when it's available.  After configuring my new phone, the first thing that I got relaxed with was the accurate prediction of the swype typing,  On my Lumia 1520, it's choice of words when I swype has taken more time out of my typing than if I would've committed myself to touch type.
  • I also sold my Windows Desktop PC and now since a month i use my Samsung Note 8 with the DEX Station so i can use Android as a desktop System. It's really great. and thanks to services like vortex.gg i can even play the most of my Steam Games (GTA V and so on) with my wireless  XBox Controller and my smartphone on my 27" Samsung Screen. It's so sad because in the deep of my heart i would love microsoft. But all the fails where to much ! i can't support MS anymore! Just take a look between OneDrive and GoogleDrive. Google Drive is 10x faster . OneDrive was never in sync with all my devices and lame as hell :-( The same with OneNote and Google Keep or Google Photos and MS Photos App and so on and so on... no thank you MS your mission is to kill yourself with Nadella :-(   RIP
  • Jason, your sentiment and perspective in each every article changes every week. Whenever Microsoft does things wrong you find new excuses and perspectives to defend the company and it's decisions. You don't seem to have a realistic view on the overall situation. It's becoming harder to believe your articles as time goes on. To make a short example based on this article: It was never their mission to fail in mobile.
  • we see these articles week after week that MS strategy has always been coherent n week after week he blames fans of misunderstanding MS
  • Crise: That makes no sense. I never said it was thier mission to fail in mobile. As a matter of fact I explicitly said: "Though this statement (Nadella's preceding statement about its mission) encapsulates Microsoft's mission, it may also frustrate some users. MICROSOFT'S HISTORY IS LITTERED WITH CONSUMER PRODUCTS THAT FANS HAVE EMBRACED, AND MICROSOFT HAS FORSAKEN. Nadella's "luxury goods" reference could have been a hint of snark or perhaps "sour grapes" in the wake of Microsoft's failed consumer products. Then I included this linked story: MICROSOFT'S CEO ADMITS ABANDONING CONSUMERS WAS A MISTAKE." I also said earlier in the piece: "That said, choices consistent with a company's broader mission can sometimes be harmful to product categories that deserve greater attention." Which is a clear reference to areas like mobile and band and other products that were neglected as Microsoft focused on other aspects of its core mission. Thanks for jumping in. But please reread this and other pieces. You'll see the consistency.😉
  • I'm guessing that Nadella has no sense of irony. His statement that MS is not into luxury goods (as Apple supposedly is) ignores that Surface is just that ... a luxury good. Did you pull Nadella up on that one Jason? It seems to me that CEO's are treated a little like politicians - too reverently when they make patently silly statements. 
  • Hi Long, I hear your point and entertained the same thought about Surface. But in that same statement He actually defines Surface as such: "[With] Surface, we created a premium product ... every OEM should create a lower-priced mode." Perhaps in anticipation of inquiries such as the one you posed, he hedged his statement with a statement defining Surface as a PREMIUM product with the PURPOSE, of inspiring OEMs to produce various 2-in-1 devices at different points. Which of course is very different than the "standalone"(not meant to inspire other devices) high-ticket items that are Apple products. That was my interpretation of his words🙂
  • Lucky for MS Goopple are moving in different directions to them, with their reactive nature they would be a well cooked and nicely stuffed Christmas turkey otherwise.
  • I don't know... from a consumer perspective I don't think a consumer cares what the mission of a company is.  Microsoft has OneDrive.  It's an alternative to Google Drive and iCloud.  They have Office, Google and Apple have alternatives.  They have Windows (an OS that is also a consumer OS).  Google and Apple have their consumer OSes. Microsoft has an app store.  The app store that we see and that is installed on most Windows devices is mainly for consumers.  They even just recently introduced Books to the store.  I think it's not ureasonable for a consumer to feel that Microsoft should compete with anything that Apple and Google (and Amazon) do when Microsoft has attempted to compete in just about everything over the years. But then we get into things like phones and certain services that failed.  Microsoft attempted to compete in phones and failed.  They attempted to introduce a wearable and discontinued it.  They attempted to compete in music streaming and gave up.  They didn't give up those things because of their "mission".  They gave up because they simply failed.  If Windows phone overtook the iPhone I doubt Microsoft would have discontinued it.  If the Band sold a bazillion units I'm sure there would have been a Band 3 and 4 by now.  If everyone used Groove isntead of Spotify I doubt Groove would be gone. Microsoft's "mission" changes to suit how they are doing in the market.  I can guarantee that if, hypothetically, they released a Surface Phone and it sold more than the iPhone XI/9 Microsoft would change their mission again.
  • Yes, it's all from consumer perspective and they don't care of MS mission.  Take OneDrive for example, it takes office integration to carry your document anywhere on any devices including iOS and android.  Can you do the same with the other 2?  Good luck having google making an app for youtube? MS tried to compete with anything Apple and Google including Book and groove like any other software developers do. Google tried to compete with Facebook with little success yet no one seem to care.  You can purchase music from Apple store but most people want music streaming so they do the next step, streaming.  Sound double standard?   Let's talk hardware,take snapchat wearable glasses, do you call that success?  Take google glass, where is it now.  Isn't that what you consider failure?  Overall, MS has something that Google and Apple don't have.... XBOX... and AAA gaming and steam.
  • Hi jm2c Their mission is to create tools to help others do more. That applies to consumer products, even those that failed as I included in the piece. Here's Nadella's excerpt from the piece:
    "EVEN IF IT'S A CONSUMER PRODUCT IT IS A TOOL … I don't want to take away from whatever success Apple or Google are having. We are very different companies … We are a tool creator, we are not a luxury good manufacturer … We are about creating technologies so that others can build. [With] Surface, we created a premium product ... every OEM should create a lower-priced model. We want to democratize things."
    Here's my statement to that from the piece:
    "Though this statement encapsulates Microsoft's mission, it may also frustrate some users. Microsoft's history is littered with consumer products that fans have embraced, and Microsoft has forsaken. Nadella's "luxury goods" reference could have been a hint of snark or perhaps "sour grapes" in the wake of Microsoft's failed consumer products."
    Microsoft definitely failed as I stressed with many consumer products and I think Nadella may have been trying to downplay the importance of consumer products and Microsoft's failures over time. SO I THINK TO AN EXTENT YOUR SENSE HERE IS CORRECT. 😉 That's why I included the link about Nadella's abandoning consumers.
    Still, thier overall mission I believe would stay the same because its unaffected by the success of a consumer product. They're still a tool maker creating tools for others to do more. And thier goal would still be the democratization of those tools via a team of OEM partners.🙂
  • Indeed Jason, Nadella has abandoned consumers unless they are a business. I would say in response that the smartphone market is expected to be around 90 Billion units over the next three years and that value would seem to easily out-value business consumables. Sure teh margin might be smaller but the quantity is huuuuge. No Jason, my feeling is that Nadella has more than a hint of snark/sour grapes because he knows in his heart of hearts that he has pulled the wrong rein on the phone business. Without a phone presence he has no entry to laptops/desktops and business. Google and Apple both have that vertical business that Nadella will almost certainly rue losing and MS will become another DEC or IBM. Tools are one thing but making them available on another supplier's hardware is always going to be second best and I offer as an example firefox, safari and opera all of which have been run over by Google. Writing for someone else's hardware is a road to ruin mate. Toss in MS's position on XBox and I marvel at their double standard --- Xbox hardware is good, phone hardware is bad. Huh?
  • I have learned my lesson with Microsoft. I'll never buy a Surface no matter how nice it is since I can expect Microsoft to abandon it it eventually. It's unfortunate beacuse I really liked the ecosystem all those hardware products created. The connectivity across all platforms was nice. Hopefully, by the time I need to get a new phone, things will be a little clearer as to which platform I need to migrate to.
  • If you're taking about Surface Book or Surface Laptop, I don't see the form going away anytime soon, especially in the enterprise space. But yes, I wouldn't count on survival of any smaller mobile device from them. They are too far behind and it would take a miracle to make products and services that will make people switch.
  • The problem is that there is value to a single ecosystem across multiple platforms. That's why both Apple and Google offer it. There are far too many similarities between what Blackberry did and what Microsoft is doing...both corporations led by visionless bean counting CEOs who were overly concerned about share price from one quarter to the next without a good sense of the long term peril their decisions put their companies in.
  • Well said. 
  • The backlash in the comments only highlight further Jason’s points lol. If you want commitment go get a relationship. It’s a tech company; not your girlfriend. 
  • I agree. How dare we expect a company to release their own products for their own platform. /s
  • If memory serves me well Microsoft was about software to run computers from the beginning and everything else was developed by others to work in the Microsoft OS.  After IBM found out that Microsoft was taking the market with their Windows system they more or less bowed out of it and stuck with hardware alone since that is what IBM was about since it's beginnings.  The largest market for both IBM and MIcrosoft is business and government related.  Apple was primarily a hardware business that created it's own software to run their hardware.  There was no compatibility between theirs and Microsoft's or IBM's business models.  Apple was content to stay with their approach until they almost fell by the wayside and they finally made some changes that are still great for their business today, namely the forward thinking that lead to the iPod and iPhone. Google on the other hand their only business model was to provide the best search engine availabe at the time which drew people to it quickly.  They then decided to clone iPhone and came up with Android especially since they had one of their leaders on the board at Apple, how convenient.  They vowed to make a phone as good as iPhone with a system that was open sourced and reach more people as evidenced by their dominance in the world. No wonder that each company is actually staying with what they do best in their business models.  You do not ever leave that otherwise you will lose out.  Over the years Microsoft was ahead with many of the ideas and possibilites in computing and still do but they never fully embraced the fact of making their own products.  Their employees may have some good new idea for making products work better than you can imagine they just do not invest in the type of people to actually create those good products and bring them to market.  If you want to mail a letter overnight to someone you most likely will use the postal service for that since that is their core business and if it is a package you most likely will use UPS or FEDEX since that is their core business.  We all make choices based on what we have known the longest and that is why Apple will most likely have the newest most advanced products, Google will have the best search and information tech, and Microsoft will have the best business oriented software out there.
  • Making tools or selling to tools?  Because after buying into Zune, (Z30 brwn, thank you), Zune Pass, WM6.x, WP7 (L900), WP8 (L640), WM10 (L950), Groove Pass, Surface RT32, and Surface Pro 2 and 3, I sure feel like a tool, given MS has abandoned every single product I bought sans the Surface Pros -- yet.  The only thing I didnt get suckered into was the Band.  The writing was on the wall when MS needlessly cut SkyDrive/OneDrive storage to 5GB even for Windows Phone users (and 10 for those who opted-in later), which would have been a real selling point for WM.  Then the real product abandonments started in earnest.  I now assume MS's "mission" is solely focused on enterprise.  I wont invest in its products ever again because they drop them in short order.  Windows?  Thats the OS for those desktop and laptop things that a few people still use, right?  What a sad state of affairs.  MS has the $ and they should have stayed in phone no matter what.  Without mobile, you dont have s--t.  MS simply ceded the field to Google and Apple like they ceded the field on wearables, and tablets and music.  Buy e-books from MS now?  Are you nuts?!  In two years the email will go out from Redmond to all users:  "We want to inform you that we are making some exciting changes that will affect your Microsoft Store e-book purchases.  Please download all your purchased e-books because MS is improving the Windows Store by discontinuing its ebook service and you will no longer be able to download and read purchased books online after January 11th.  We will provide a link to Amazon.com for your future ebook needs.  Thanks again for using Windows Store."  The whole MS affair is SO SAD!  Over and over, the same thing!
  • I don't think consumers go in looking at the Corporate Mission statement (which is usually BS) in the first place. They see products they can use, they purchase them.  In the case of hardware - they expect it will be supported and upgraded throughout the life cycle. MS readily provided consumer products and I think people thought they would be supported.  Products fail - yes, but MS does not have great transparency.  When a giant like MS starts dropping product - abadoning consumers...they have the right to be pissed and can show this with their dollars.  If MS can make dollars from corporations, they do not need end user consumers and can thumb their nose at them. MS is not broke, not sure how much of a loss they were taking on phones, but these products seem to be dominating.  To see MS walk away does not give me faith in them.  I would not purchase a Surface because I can see them abandoning that.  Strategically I thought they would want to play in the mobile space - because that is growing.  Cloud goes hand and hand with mobiles... Anyhoo, WP is a beautiful design, and MS did a great job on it.  Their marketing SUCKS!  But it has not always been the case - remember when Win95 launched - HUGE marketing - directed at consumers!  They can do this again! I hope an area in MS that will continue this kind of work - innovative
  • Yes. The marketing dropped the ball on WP.  They did not play up the strengths of the platform.
  • Thank you! You have amplified my own observations. Yes, I use all these firms.
  • I have learned my lesson with Microsoft. I will always buy Microsoft products no matter what they do.  I have a 950XL and my GF and parents have 650's. I can certainly wait a while for Surface phone with cshell and while I dont really need a folding phone, I dont have to unfold it, if I dont want to. I'm looking forward to an XBOX with Forza for Christmas! yay! We have 5 Windows 10 pro PC's in the house, two of them able to dual boot to android for that odd app that doesnt run on Windows.
  • These three are not rivals, rivalry is "competition for the same objective or for superiority in the same field" and this article tries to desribe that this is exactly what these companies do not do, that their goals and mission are different even though they apply to the same customer base in a number of areas. The editor should really spot these major mistakes in an article and have them corrected. We are talking competitors here sure, but not rivals.
  • Nice try Jason, but reality is that both companies/developers and users are abandoning Microsoft.
    Have to thank Satya as usual, Apple employee of the year.
  • Hi venetsoft, I'm not sure how that statement relates to the premise of the piece: "Understanding companies missions"🤔
  • Well doesn't the premise also include how its a good thing? Venetasoft premise is to negate that or prove that its false. And major part of your piece talks about ms as a tools provider and here the developers are disagreeing with that. 
  • Microsoft never had apple as rival. Microsoft makes money out of apples success. Alot of them actually.
  • Actually Microsoft makes money out of both Apple and Android devices thru patents that they own.  However, nobody can deny that Microsoft haven’t find their way into the mobile market.  
  • "broader mission can sometimes be harmful to product categories..." Microsoft is a giant company, they did not need to abandon Windows Phone, scrap Nokia to ashes, abandon HP. How many people were even working on WP? Company have a broader mission to help people do more. So where is Cortana now? Have they abandoned it? Their mission is complete BS.
  • well...i m a MS fan...but i dont agree with this article...if MS' mission was not mobile business...then why they engaged in it since 1996?...why did they bought nokia?...why did they were one of the main players in mobile business for many years...despite a MS fan...i accept this brutal reality that MS actually failed in mobile business...they were too focused on other things that they let it slipped out of their control and when things went down too deep...they simply pulled the plug!...instead of remain a rival...even in worst times MS has 10% market for Windows Phone...after buying Nokia they would have gone for Meego OS in parallel with windows...so if one fails they had backup and believe me Meego was better than android and ios even at launch!
    in short...MS failed and i wasnt expecting it to quit all the way down...yes windows on phones was and is different than on Pcs...and we dont need PC experience on phones or wearables...why dont MS realized this? why they want one expereince in everything? like pcs xbox phones tablet....android or chrome OS failed as PC OS but are on top in phone business...
    i am really disappinted in this regard from MS.
  • Microsoft created Surface to lose money? Surface is not meant to be a premium product? Yeah right! Microsoft keeps Surface going because it makes money. If they thought they could make more money by selling more Surfaces at a lower price point they would. Microsoft is a profit-driven company. Its very existence is not defined by a motto like "Do no evil". While it hasn't recently engaged in blatantly illegal moves or engaged in behavior that harmed customers like it did a decade ago, the effects of those illegal moves are still felt to this day and rightly so. Microsoft is widely considered to be the harbinger of internet and security doom with Internet Explorer and Windows because it so horribly abused its monopoly position a decade ago to harm its customers and competitors alike! Anyway, back to its "mission". Its mission is to make money. So is Apple's. So is Google's. Luckily they compete in an increasingly level playing field which is good for us customers, especially for those of us not stupid enough to be loyal to any one company. Unfortunately Microsoft still has many of its monopolistic tendencies but they are slowly being dialled back. Their competitors do a better job of allow for a more vibrant operating system ecosystem (e.g. both Android and iOS allow for replacement on-screen keyboards while Microsoft has only one color and it's black (Ford and the model T)--there's no way to replace the OSK for Windows 10 :( :( :().