“Tools for the Connected Age in Every Pocket” | Thinking About Microsoft’s New Mission

July 22, 2013

in Mobility, scenarios, Storytelling, Strategic Foresight, Strategy Formulation

I once got what Microsoft was all about. They wanted to put a computer on every desk. And they did. I really believe strategy is about being single minded and making choices. If Microsoft now said we are going to put the “Tools for the Connected Age in every pocket” then I’d get their strategy. It’s far simpler and more effective than the spew that is shared below. Pocket can be a metaphor in this case, although practically it recognizes that all computing is now effectively, mobile, connected, always-on. It doesn’t define MS as a devices and services company. It defines them as a “tools” and thus an enabler. A business that can actually grow, build, enhance, excite and empower users (please not CONSUMERS!).

This was the preamble… to a microsoft memo “Transforming Our Company”

In the 37 years that Microsoft has been helping to improve people’s lives by helping them to realize their own potential with technology, we have seen exactly the kind of transformation we had hoped for when we set out to put a PC on every desk and in every home. Personal technology has developed from an idea to an everyday experience, reaching and connecting billions of people.

With the more recent growth of broadband and the mobile Internet as well as the development of newer devices such as tablets and smartphones, consumers’ experiences and use of technology have fundamentally changed again. We have entered an always-on, always-connected era that holds new promise for what technology can bring to people’s lives and to businesses everywhere on the planet. And this gives us an opportunity to help people lean in and do more in every part of their lives….


Going forward, our strategy will focus on creating a family of devices and services for individuals and businesses that empower people around the globe at home, at work and on the go, for the activities they value most.

We will do this by leveraging our strengths. We have powered devices for many years through Windows PCs and Xbox. We have delivered high-value experiences through Office and other apps. And, we have enabled enterprise value through products like Windows Server and Exchange. The form of delivery shifts to a broader set of devices and services versus packaged software. The frontier of high-value scenarios we enable will march outward, but we have strengths and proven capabilities on which we will draw.

via Transforming Our Company.

Seriously, the combination of communications experts, strategists, consultant advisors, top team. They did a bad job on these memos. The intro is ok – the bolded “strategy” summary is a lot of words.  See also “One Microsoft” which is just a different variation and not exactly a compelling read. As an outside “partner” I’d find the wording murky. What does it say to Dell, HP, Acer, Lenovo, etc.? I believe the core difference is I’m starting from a user centric experience – a connected life and that tools that requires.

Note: I said “into every pocket” although “for” may often be the case. For example MS Sync is in Ford Cars. Those cars may be communicating with a non-microsoft product. Still targeting every pocket is the right way to go, and that means enabling and empowering key MS partners. Use “tools” rather than devices and services as any decent tools today are both software and hardware and in many cases software is eating the world! I also used “age” rather than “life” as how we connect to the Internet of Things is important.This is a point in time element and it is important to see the stretch that goes beyond a Windows 9 phone in my pocket, which right now seems highly unlikely.

So is my bolded strategic intent better than what was released or not? If not why not?

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