Microsoft's CEO Satya Nadella is known for making bold claims, and the WSJD Live Conference on Monday was no different. During an interview, Nadella admitted outright that Microsoft had failed in the mobile phone business.
“We clearly missed the mobile phone, there's no question,” he said, “Our goal now is to make sure we grow new categories.”
A major part of that is increased focus on augmented reality. According to Nadella, Microsoft is always “in the hunt for the next high volume category,” and HoloLens is a big part of that.
“We have devices which are phones today but the place where we are focused on, given where the market is, is what is the unique thing that our phone can do,” he said, “We have a phone that in fact can replace your PC, the same way we have a tablet that can replace your laptop. Those are the categories that we want to go create.”
Nadella sees HoloLens as the natural extension of those devices, and believes it could be the beginning of the “ultimate computer.” The CEO describes a world where your field of view becomes an infinite display.
“If anything, the lesson learned for us, was thinking of PC as the hub for all things for all time to come,” he said. “It was perhaps one of the bigger mistakes we made.”
His hope is that the HoloLens will end Microsoft's dependence on the PC, and bring new innovation.
A big part of this is taking Microsoft back to its roots. He believes that Microsoft was foremost a tools company.
“We were a company built for hackers of the world, for the makers of the world, for the builders of the world. We want to push to be more of a learn-it-all culture than a know-it-all culture”
Part of this change is Microsoft's investment in AI, but in cars, its role is more of a supporting pillar than a manufacturer. Nadella believes companies are looking for a trusted partner that won't compete with them.
“I'm very thrilled about all the car companies using Azure today,” he said. “It's the best thing that has happened to us, quite honestly. That's our strategy.”
The investment will continue to expand Microsoft's AI capabilities and help make Nadella's company culture shift a reality.