Let’s start with the most spectacular piece of news—Microsoft has announced a smartphone that doesn't run Windows 10 or Windows mobile, but Android instead. This is an unbelievable and unpredictable development. Why? Because this spells the end of the Windows Phone platform. Microsoft today is focussing on where the applications, users, and developers are. Attempts to bring developers to their own platform are things of the past. Most developers program for Android or iOS. The decision, therefore, to release a smartphone that runs on the Android operating system is therefore well-founded. Even if it leaves a bitter taste in some hardcore fans’ mouths.
But in my opinion that is just the beginning. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella even went one (big) step further on the sidelines of the Surface event. He said that operating systems are no longer the most important platforms for the company (=Microsoft) and that the focus now is on offering users an experience independent of systems. If you think about which product made Microsoft rich, that is a bold statement.
Productivity – Everywhere, all the time.
We have to read between the lines here, however, if we look at Azure, Office 365, EMS, Windows 10 or Microsoft 365 as a whole, Microsoft is primarily concerned with boosting productivity. In order to achieve this goal, modern, secure, flexible, and mobile workplaces need to be created downstream. It is therefore first necessary to offer quality own-brand software on all available systems so that users on all platforms have virtually an identical user experience.
Because one of the largest issues is limits—in this case limits of devices and varying software. Only if these disruptive factors are addressed, can employees work freely. In the office on a desktop PC that runs Windows 10, on-the-go with a smartphone running the Teams app, and at home on a private tablet running Windows 10 X. I can finish what I didn’t manage in the office wherever I want.
This is where productivity is boosted. It only succeeds when work steps are saves and processes simplified. When employees are no longer bound to rigid working hours, strict hierarchies, and in-office presence.
With the new devices, this is now possible. Microsoft firmly believes that the future belongs to dual-screen devices and ultra-mobile devices with ARM chipsets and that these devices can combat the disruptive factors mentioned above—together with the Cloud services Microsoft offers. Otherwise the company would have kept its cards close to its chest.
And there’s more...
And these devices will in all probability bring new capital to multi-platform app development. We could see the beginnings of this at the event. Phone ringing but not sure where in your bag it is? Not a problem—with the right app you can take your call on your tablet. Taking part in a conference and someone’s holding a presentation? Great, simply watch their content on the right-hand half of the screen while handwriting notes on the left in OneNote. I’m sure that we will hear more about this development at the fast-approaching Microsoft Build developer conference.
So in summary: Windows used to be the foundation for Microsoft. Today, Cloud services like Azure and Microsoft 365 have taken its place. The operating system is now just a necessary intermediary level that can be swapped out at will. What counts is that the user experience extends beyond all limits—this is Microsoft’s new vision. And for this perfect user experience, Microsoft want to provide the best devices: Surface X as an ultra-mobile 2-in-1. Both dual-display devices, Surface Neo and Surface Duo, are manifestations of the new Microsoft vision and even Earbuds that allow voice input rather than typing. Just add a little AI and productivity will know no limits. To be continued …