Just two years ago, Microsoft was competing directly with Apple and Google in the mobile platform market. In some ways, it was a legacy from former CEO Steve Ballmer's ill-fated desire to make the company a hardware brand. Since then we have seen the demise of Windows Phone, and this week Microsoft all but officially conceded the platform market to Android and iOS.
Microsoft's chief market office Chris Capossela put a formal stamp on the company's platform surrender. Speaking with Cheddar, he said:
“We've moved away from that competitive focus that I think we've had in the past,” he said.
“We need to bring our products on the platforms that our customers are using,” he continued. By implication, Windows 10 on PC is included as that market has continued to decline. “So Office on the iPad or iPhone, Minecraft on every platform, that's just a natural thing for us to do,” he noted.
Essentially, Capossela is saying it not worth pursuing enticing customers to one single platform. Instead, Microsoft will focus on making its solutions available on all platforms. Additionally, Capossela is also suggesting traditional platform rivalries don't exist anymore.
While Google might agree with that, a fellow company that makes its solutions cross-platform available, exclusive and closed Apple may disagree.
As mentioned, the concession has been inevitable for a few years. Current CEO Satya Nadella has steered Microsoft towards the cloud, mobile spread, AI development, and other avenues. The importance of Windows has decreased and Windows Phone is gone.
While we would love to see Microsoft continue with a mobile platform and devices, the success of Nadella's vision means it is unlikely. Caposella says Nadella's restructure allowed the company to get back to serving long-time fans who see Microsoft as a productivity software company.
“Millennials tell us that when they think of ‘adulting,' they think of Microsoft and we love that,” said Capossela. “When it's time to get a job … they think of Microsoft. And that's a wonderful position for us to be in.”