Faster change. That is the issue that appears to be at the heart of Steve Ballmer’s exit from Microsoft. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, he admitted, “The best way for Microsoft to enter a new era is a new leader who will accelerate change.”
Throughout his 33-year trajectory with the company and as Bill Gates’ right-hand man, Ballmer’s line of command created the conditions necessary for the complete domination of the software segment. Where his work fell short, however, was in consumer products and B2C – areas where Apple and Google have excelled. The social media phenomenon, search engines, online advertising and the mobile transition are business facets that Microsoft largely overlooked. Today, the company is undergoing major changings in both strategy and positioning.
What seems to be the main approach moving forward of the company is homogenous. The computer market fluctuates, meaning that it’s necessary, without losing its principal focus on software, to reorganize its structure and target mobile and services.
Gabriel Gordon, Director of the Windows Business Unit at Microsoft for Argentina and Uruguay, discussed the company’s strategic shift in a recent interview with PulsoSocial.
Clarisa Herrera: Are these the years of a big renewal for the company?
Gabriel Gordon: Microsoft is undergoing a renewal that has to do with a realignment of the company behind a unified strategy with a focus on the creation on a family of devices and services for users and businesses that allow people from all over the world at home, at work or on the go to engage in their activities freely. That’s why we had such an interesting year, full of launches and structural modifications to help us adopt this new path.
CH: What shape will the change in business strategy towards devices and services take?
GG: The technology industry is advancing, driven by the exponential growth in devices used by consumers at work and at home. In the face of this need to integrate user experience across different devices and with the capacities brought about by the cloud, we want to be wherever users are, so that they can play, work, and study from anywhere with complete liberty and with the same integrated experience across devices. That is why, in this new era, our star product is the multi-screen experience of Microsoft, whether on a PC, tablet or smartphone, personal or work-related.
CH: Is there a shift in focus from corporate to B2C?
GG: It is essential that users interact intuitively with technology, connected to a unique experience of communication, productivity and entertainment from a perfectly-synchronized, multi-screen environment. Our strategy is based on facilitating that connection between both worlds – the corporate and the consumer – that before seemed separate. The keys are familiarity with our products and integration and mobility as important pillars, based on the possibilities of the cloud. Our differentiator is providing users with the same experience not only across devices but also in the workplace and at home. They’re getting the same efficiency for their daily routines and their business activities, meaning continuity in both spaces, thanks to the cloud.
CH: Mobile seems to be a major pillar in your strategy. How is it being integrated?
GG: With our OEM partners, our focus is on offering all options: tablets, ultrabooks, notebooks, all-in-one and desktop PCs with Windows 8.1, and smartphones with Nokia Lumia. Thanks to this range and the integration that allows us to maintain corporate security standards and administration, users can incorporate their devices to work-related activities, and Windows 8.1 contributes to the BYOD trend.
CH: Another pivot is happening from the online to the cloud. Why this refocus?
GG: The most recent launches have taken place in the context of this reconfiguration – the presentation of Windows 8.1 and Internet Explorer 11 are along those lines, as are the launch of search possibilities with Bing and the availability of integrated applications. But with Windows Stores and cloud connectivity via Skydrive, we’re introducing a wave of launches of our business solutions in the cloud that complement Office 365 and other services and continue with Microsoft’s corporate cloud strategy. With Windows 8.1, we’re expanding formats and opening up new possibilities for users to have a unique experience on any device, from desktop computers to tablets.