“In a way, I don't want to take away from whatever success Apple or Google are having. We are very different companies,” he said. “We are not some middleman in the marketplace. We are a tool creator, we are not a luxury good manufacturer. That's not who we are. We are about creating technologies so that others can build.
”Whenever we have done things that come naturally to us we've been successful. Even if it's a consumer product it is a tool. I fell in love with Microsoft technology because of what it created.”
It's an interesting point, but Nadella clearly has confidence in Microsoft's hardware, regardless. Speaking to a Tech Radar reporter at the India Today Next Conclave, he said, ”You need to get a real computer, my friend.”
It's clearly a joke, but also a clear shot at Apple when it comes to productivity. The company's iPad Pro offering is locked to mobile apps, while hardware like the Surface Pro can run any Windows application. For a reporter, that doesn't really matter, but it's essential for Microsoft's audience.
Knowing When to Quit
Nadella believes Microsoft is a different type of consumer-focused company, one looking to be proud of their products but also allow freedom.
“Even with Surface, we created a premium product and premium brand and basically said ‘you know what, every OEM should create a lower-priced model',” he explained. “We want to democratize things. I want to us to be proud of what we can do.”
It's a stark contrast to Apple, who focus primarily on making one high-quality product and is very wary of competition. It may be why its the most profitable tech company in the world, but Nadella doesn't seem to care about that.
“You take a look at what we did with Groove and Spotify,” he said. “Look at the Harmon Kardon speaker. In some sense, it is a fantastic Cortana speaker but also for Spotify. The last time I checked there were a lot more Spotify people than Groove people. So let us bring the best of what Microsoft has to a Spotify user and create consumer fans. So that's the approach we want to take.”
Despite this, there's a fine line between following market signals and giving up. Ultimately, it's up to the fans to decide how much value those decisions have delivered.