Nadella's vision outlined in Microsoft staff memo

July 11, 2014 // 11:22 a.m.

Tags: #azure #lumia #microsoft #satya-nadella #steve-ballmer #surface #windows #windows-81 #windows-phone-81

Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella has proclaimed his desire to to 'hone' the direction set by his predecessor Steve Ballmer, outlining his own vision for the company's future in a six-page memo to staff.

During his tenure as chief executive, Ballmer - the company's first business-oriented employee, having known founders Bill Gates and Paul Allen at university - talked much about making the company's focus 'devices and services,' but largely retained an interest on the Windows ecosystem as its heart. Nadella, by contrast, has declared that the new Microsoft will be looking to win customers on any front possible - from productivity software to search engine traffic.

'Our passion is to enable people to thrive in this mobile-first and cloud-first world,' Nadella wrote in an all-staff memo released yesterday. 'We have described ourselves as a "devices and services" company. While the devices and services description was helpful in starting our transformation, we now need to hone in on our unique strategy.' That strategy, he explained, looks to move the company into the centre of users' 'digital work and life experiences,' using the power of the company's Azure cloud platform.

The memo echoes recent moves by Microsoft to support customers on non-Windows operating systems. It recently launched an impressively-featured port of its Office productivity suite for arch-nemesis Apple's iPad tablet, and is working on another port for Android tablets. Nevertheless, Nadella is clear that first-party hardware - namely the Surface and Lumia product lines - and the Windows platform will continue to be a major focus for the company's developments. 'Our Windows device OS and first-party hardware will set the bar for productivity experiences,' he wrote. 'Windows will deliver the most rich and consistent user experience for digital work and life scenarios on screens of all sizes – from phones, tablets and laptops to TVs and giant 82 inch PPI boards.'

Nadella also addressed recent rumours that the company was looking to sell its Xbox gaming division. 'The single biggest digital life category, measured in both time and money spent, in a mobile-first world is gaming. We are fortunate to have Xbox in our family to go after this opportunity with unique and bold innovation,' Nadella claimed in the memo. 'Microsoft will continue to vigorously innovate and delight gamers with Xbox. Xbox is one of the most-revered consumer brands, with a growing online community and service, and a raving fan base. We also benefit from many technologies flowing from our gaming efforts into our productivity efforts – core graphics and NUI in Windows, speech recognition in Skype, camera technology in Kinect for Windows, Azure cloud enhancements for GPU simulation and many more. Bottom line, we will continue to innovate and grow our fan base with Xbox while also creating additive business value for Microsoft.'

One section of the memo which may cause Nadella's staff alarm details his commitment to 'making Microsoft the best place for smart, curious, ambitious people to do their best work,' in which he admits that 'every team across Microsoft must find ways to simplify and move faster, more efficiently' - seemingly confirming rumours that the company is to lay off up to 10 per cent of its staff in the near future.

The full text of the memo is available on Microsoft's official website.

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