Microsoft’s third and current CEO Satya Nadella has been on a press tour in bringing up his new book, Hit Refresh: The Quest to Rediscover Microsoft’s Soul and Imagine a Better Future for Everyone. The nearly three-decade company veteran has had a lot to learn throughout his career from the base empathy needed to understand why human needs the technology his employees produce to knowing when to pass on something he’s already missed.
One pertinent example that’s been excerpted is Windows 10 Mobile as the mobile sector’s “third ecosystem” and the big push to make it competitive, the acquisition of Nokia’s devices and services division. Despite having to carry the torch, Nadella has always been against it.
I voted no. I did not get why the world needed the third ecosystem in phones unless we changed the rules […] But it was too late to regain the ground we had lost. We were chasing our competitors’ taillights.
Many inside Microsoft, including then-CEO Steve Ballmer, thought that housing a very enthusiastic hardware unit would help Windows Mobile-turned-Windows Phone catch up to Android and iOS. Nokia might have had a diminished position with stiffening competition, but it was still a decent number 3 at the time with stalwart European support.
The hope was that combining the engineering and design teams at Nokia with software development at Microsoft would accelerate our growth with Windows Phone and strengthen our overall devices ecosystem […]
From the outside though, fans didn’t like the fact that not only low- and mid-level devices took the place of regular flagship releases, but that there was little coordination and misguided evolution in the hardware line. Nadella made conflicting statements about the important of market share: it was not important then and more important in hindsight.
A $7.5 billion deal made in 2013 ended up being an impairment in 2015 and, with it, over 7,000 jobs were dismissed.
Nadella doesn’t hint at a future in phones for his company — he’d prefer we focus on Office products and Continuum. But that doesn’t keep things like Andromeda OS from stirring around.