Microsoft appears to be recruiting for a new team that will patch up its consumer-facing image. According to Business Insider, the company is advertising roles within the Modern Life and Devices team, which was announced under Yusuf Mehedi last year but has gone largely unnoticed.
“The Modern Life team defines the consumer vision, product management, business plans and go-to-market strategy for Microsoft Consumer products,” explains a September job posting. “As one of the company's largest multi-billion-dollar revenue businesses, we are looking for experienced product marketing managers who know how to build products that consumers love.”
It was looking for a senior product marketing manager to develop best-in-class subscription programs for consumers by tying in Windows, Office, One Drive, Outlook, Bing, Skype, Edge, and more. It describes the role as being in “a new team that represents one of Microsoft biggest bets and will redefine its future”. A search on LinkedIn reveals 43 users with Modern Life and Devices job titles.
Microsoft 365 Life and Smartphones
The description immediately draws the mind to reports that a Microsoft 365 Life subscription is in the works. According to ZDNet, this bundle will replace Office 365 and contain additional consumer-focused features such as a password manager.
All of this seems to coincide with a general shift in Microsoft's consumer strategy. In a previous blog post, Mehedi said his company was looking to connect the dots between consumer and enterprise. After all, you're the same person at work and at home. However, it wants to do so in a way that doesn't make users feel like they're always switched on to work.
The effort follows several upsets in the Microsoft's consumer products, with success in the Surface and Xbox lineup, but closures in other areas. It stopped producing Windows 10 Mobile devices a few years back and will end all support this month. It also shuttered Groove Music in late 2017 and killed off its Band 2 wearable in 2016.
All of this has given some consumers the impression that Microsoft is willing to drop its products with little resistance as it focuses on Azure and the cloud. In recent times, though it's been winning back some favor, with plans to re-enter the smartphone market with the Android-based Surface Duo and the purchases of several high profile game studios for Xbox.
Of course, though Microsoft is planning to provide more value to its consumers, the proof will be in action, not words. To see exactly what form that takes, we may have to wait a little while longer.