As Microsoft enters its 15th fiscal year, CEO Satya Nadella blasted out a 3,100-word treatise to the company’s entire workforce entitled “Bold Ambition & Our Core,” laying out his vision for the tech dynasty’s future.
While the rambling essay primarily consists of broad non-assertions and raises more questions than answers, Nadella did hint at a few key changes that might be afoot at Microsoft, including “fundamental cultural changes” that some have speculated may spell widespread layoffs.
We dug through the longwinded reflections to unearth five key takeaways from Nadella’s manifesto:
1. July will be a pivotal month for Microsoft. On July 22, when the company announces its second-quarter earnings, Nadella will divulge more about “what we are doing in FY15 to focus on our core” as well as the “engineering and organization changes” the company’s senior leadership team believes are necessary.
2. Focus on mobile and cloud. In a world where roughly 3 billion people are hooked on their Internet-connected devices, Nadella says it is Microsoft’s responsibility to channel this proliferation of sensors, screens, devices and data “to create intelligent, personal experiences, while maintaining security and privacy.”
At the core of the experiences that it wants to create, Microsoft must hone in on its roots as a purveyor of “productivity,” Nadella says.
3. Opportunities still abound on mobile. While Windows has fallen markedly behind mobile competitors like Apple and Google, Nadella insists “we’re in the infant stages” of a mobile industry that incorrectly prizes devices rather than experiences. He believes that Microsoft still has room to flourish with “a variety of devices of all screen sizes” that particularly address “needs across work and life.”
4. The importance of Xbox. “The single biggest digital life category, measured in both time and money spent, in a mobile-first world is gaming,” he says. Though Xbox may not be a part of its core business, Nadella vows to “vigorously innovate and delight gamers” with new tech that pulls from its other ventures, including core graphics from Windows and speech recognition from Skype.
5. Huge changes are coming. But what kinds of changes, precisely, are anybody’s guess. Nadella says that Microsoft must take action “to flatten the organization and develop leaner business processes.” While he does throw out dreamy notions -- “Job responsibilities will evolve. New partnerships will be formed. Tired traditions will be questioned.” -- all must ultimately be in service, he concludes, of obsessing over its customers and deriving personal meaning for all its employees.
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