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Which came first? Mobility or the cloud?

Mon 31 Mar 2014
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Satya Nadella’s first words as Microsoft’s new CEO were simple - “mobile-first cloud-first.”

A matter of weeks since becoming the company’s top dog, Nadella has now made significant strides in turning such baby steps into concrete strategies around camp Redmond.

Fresh from introducing a raft of new and updated applications including Microsoft Office for iPad and free Office Mobile apps for iPhone and Android phones, the new man at the helm insists great feedback has been received from customers, employees and partners alike.

But while backing for Microsoft’s new direction remains strong, Nadella admits the wording of his plans have caused slight confusion.

“A common one is actually the simplest and most important to answer: How can two things be first?” he wrote, on Microsoft’s Official Blog.

“My honest answer is that I don’t think of the cloud and mobile as two things. They are two facets of one thing. The cloud was created to enable mobility. And mobile devices are really uninteresting without the cloud.”

That’s why Nadella talks about them together. “Mobile without cloud is limiting,” he was quick to add.

“The cloud without mobile is mostly latent potential. But the place where they meet is magic. And in the full arc of time, we will get to a world of ubiquitous computing and ambient intelligence that powers all our daily experiences.”

Hence the focus of Nadella’s blog post, entitled ‘A cloud for everyone, on every device’.

“Not everything that Microsoft does but specifically how Microsoft’s cloud is enabling a world where mobile devices can do more and help people be more productive starting today,” he wrote.

In the eyes of Nadella, only the third man in Microsoft history tasked with leading the company, we live in a world where device types, shapes, sizes and form factors are exploding and will continue to do so

“Devices extend our abilities in ways that are uniquely suited to task, context and occasion,” he wrote.

“As long as human curiosity and ambition drive us to create new things, capture moments and collaborate to get things done, we should expect the world of devices to follow suit.”

In fact, that’s what drives Microsoft’s ongoing evolution of Windows, he added. “The desire to maximize the capabilities of these diverse device types while fitting perfectly into those unique moments and environments.

“But just because human activity will continue to be multidevice doesn’t mean we must tolerate islands of isolated capability. Instead, device diversification dramatically increases the importance of creating a more seamless experience. And the way we get there is through the cloud.”

The evolving cloud…

Most will agree when Nadella states his belief that the cloud is how a phone, a tablet, a computer and a TV all get on the same page and enable movement between them without extra effort.

“The cloud is how a device becomes your device,” he wrote. “And the cloud is how your device becomes part of your life, by connecting to all the people, information and experiences that matter to you.

“And for us, the cloud is also how a tablet becomes a useful and powerful tool.”

A company which has offered Office on the Mac for more than 20 years, Microsoft is fully committed to offering market-leading productivity solutions across all popular platforms and devices.

Word, Excel and PowerPoint for iPad join other cross-platform apps including Skype, Dynamics, Xbox Music, Bing, Lync, Yammer, OneNote, Office Mobile for iPhone and Android phones, Mac Office, and Office Online.

“Our goal continues to be to delight users wherever they are and on whatever device they are using by giving them the full power of native Office apps,” Nadella added.

Cutting to the crux of Nadella’s message, the cloud is enabling a world where you can walk up to any supported device, sign in, collaborate, communicate and share your creations with the world.

“Doesn’t matter what you make, where you make it or what device you use,” wrote Nadella. “The cloud is there to help.

“That’s where we’re headed together. Into a world where the devices you love work with the services you love in a way that IT and developers love. For work, play and everything in between.”

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