Microsoft Bets On Its Digital Platform And Sheds An Outdated Industry Focus On Operating Systems

Microsoft's new CEO Satya Nadella just finished his first event, announcing Office for iPad, the Enterprise Mobility Suite, and a renewed commitment to Windows. Finally Microsoft has realized two key things:

- Office should be on any device or web site that customers are using to get work done. See my colleague Phillip Karcher's take on Office for iPad.

- the cloud service platform (OneDrive, Office 365, and Azure), not the operating system (Windows), is now the focus of the platforms wars. 

I'd like to elaborate on the second point. The measure of a person's commitment to a particular platform or ecosystems should be the user accounts that they have, the content they store in those cloud service, and whom they trust with stored credit cards. So you can't tell if someone is an Apple customer just because they use an iPhone - you have to look inside the device to see who's apps they use most, and what cloud services they use. Many iOS customers are in fact more involved with the Google digital platform than they are with Apple's and many Android customers have little to no engagement with Google because they use the apps and services that the device maker or service provider put on their home screen. Microsoft's challenge is to get more customers engaged on their digital platform - using Outlook.com email, OneDrive for file storage, and Office 365 for productivity. So Microsoft can win in the digital platform, regardless of who's operating system is on the device. 

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