On March 27, 2014, Microsoft® General Manager Julia White demonstrated Office applications running on her iPad, and InTune, Mobile Device Management running on a Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1. A lot of market commentary was published in advance of this presentation. Much of it had to do with a “new direction”, or a “sober realization” on Microsoft’s part. Microsoft tablets, smart phones, and even XBOX consoles simply weren’t going to magnetize the critical mass of consumers required. The software ports included in the demonstration would represent its capitulation to the BYOD market dominance of iOS and Android competitive devices.
But back on June 3, 2013, in a presentation titled “Enabling People-Centric IT”, Andrew Conway, Director of Product Marketing for Microsoft’s Window Server System Center referred to a 2012 presentation of Microsoft’s App Side Loading Service for iOS. Conway noted the broad surprise the audience expressed, back then, as they watched Microsoft software running on an iOS powered device.
Evidently, Microsoft recognized markets had forgotten these earlier presentations. So White’s demonstrations of Office running on the iPad and InTune Mobile Device Management running on an Android tablet were, in my opinion, added onto Satya Nadella’s presentation of “ubiquitous computing”, and “ambient intelligence” as a method of recapturing earlier surprise.
To further debunk the notion these positions are, in fact, anything really new for Microsoft, anyone reviewing the recording of Conway’s 2013 presentation will note the amount of time he spends on a screen titled “Waves of Innovation”. Apparently the need to direct markets to associate Microsoft with the notion of computing innovation was a prominent objective of marketing communications efforts more than 6 months prior to the public announcement of Satya Nadella as the new CEO for this mature ISV. Once again, anyone watching the personal cameo video introduction of Satya Nadella on the Investors web site will note the emphasis he places on innovation. But keep in mind the theme is not a new one for the company.
Finally, anyone following Microsoft should be familiar with their long standing objective to deliver one uniform computing experience across the complete range of devices and settings experienced by their consumers. This objective powers the Windows, and Windows Phone Operating Systems, and the Surface RT port of Windows 8.0 and, most recently, 8.1. This objective is by no means a new emphasis for the business.
What markets may miss by erroneously categorizing the March 27, 2014 presentations as evidence of a new direction for the business, is an important point of the Office port to iOS. This port is written for the iPad iOS device. The subscription to Office 365 is an optional method of obtaining Office for the iPad. By creating a version of Office compatible with the iPad, Microsoft opened an important opportunity to convert some portion of the enormous iOS app developer realm into customers for the Active Directory services included in this demonstration. In my opinion this latter opportunity is substantial. These developments should be very welcome news for enterprise IT organizations in need of AD support for their iOS devices. iOS App developers targeting an enterprise computing market will likely jump all over it.
Disclaimer: I’m long Microsoft.
© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2014 All Rights Reserved