A Brief Interview with John Thompson, Microsoft’s New Chairman, Provides Some Clues as to Likely Near Term Future Priorities for this Mature ISV

On February 28, 2014, Mia Saini of Bloomberg TV briefly interviewed John Thompson, Microsoft’s new Chairman. Saini includes some questions about Mr. Thompson’s other significant current venture, Virtual Instruments. But this post will only speak to a few of the discussion topics specific to Microsoft.

John Thompson did not assume a Defensive Posture as He Handled Some Challenging Questions

Anyone watching Thompson’s video on the Satya Nadella web page on Microsoft’s web site will note his objective, in his new role as Chairman, to improve the quality of Microsoft’s dialogue with the investor community.

Saini opened the interview with the following statement: ” . . . Many say, and it’s a widely held view that innovation is not happening on Microsoft’s base products. What do you say to that?” (quoted from a video interview with John Thompson, Microsoft’s new Chairman. The interview was led by Mia Saini of Bloomberg TV. A link to the entire interview is provided above).

Thompson’s reply began with reference to Microsoft ” . . . as a company with an enormous amount of resources . . .” (ibid) and then turned the conversation into his preferred direction: ” . . . The issue, quite frankly, for us is about focus”.

Readers may want to watch the video interview with Satya Nadella on the Satya Nadella page of the Microsoft Site. Nadella spends time in this video discussing the need for innovation at Microsoft. But this new perspective, as presented by Thompson, adds another dimension to the conversation — the need for focus, running parallel.

Thompson goes on to note one of the main reasons Nadella was selected for the CEO role: ” . . . he understands exactly what needs to happen to move Microsoft forward . . .” (ibid) So the viewer is left with a picture of Nadella as a new leader capable of marshaling “enormous resources” in a focused manner to build new base products, etc.

A Couple of Other Points Worth Noting

  1. When Saini noted the importance of Cloud products and services, Thompson interrupted her with a “for sure”. So clearly he gets the cloud imperative. He also made a big claim Microsoft naysayers may want to note ” . . . Office 365 is a very, very successful cloud based application” (ibid). It will be interesting to follow the performance of this product in Microsoft’s coming earnings reports.
  2. It doesn’t look like the consumer products effort will be wound down any time soon. Thompson noted ” . . . another focus of Microsoft’s strategy is how we become even more relevant to consumers, and the Devices and Services strategy that was launched about a year ago, is very much a part of that” (ibid)

Disclaimer: I’m long Microsoft

Ira Michael Blonder

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2014 All Rights Reserved

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