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An Open Letter to Microsoft's New CEO

I humbly suggest you invest in tomorrow's technology—RFID—instead of continuing to bet on the innovations of yesterday.
By Mark Roberti
Feb 09, 2014

Last week, Microsoft promoted Satya Nadella to the position of CEO, replacing Steve Ballmer. Nadella has been with Microsoft for more than 20 years, and was most recently in charge of the company's enterprise computing division, where he oversaw server software and cloud-based solutions. Here is my unsolicited advice for Mr. Nadella.

Dear Satya,

I know it is a bit presumptuous of me to offer you advice as you take over one of the most important and prominent positions in the IT industry—OK, very presumptuous—but I really would like to see Microsoft get its groove back, and I think I know how. It's simple, really: Stop betting on the past and start investing in the future.

What do I mean?

Well, Microsoft has invested a ton of money chasing the last big thing instead of the next big thing. After Apple's iPod became the most coveted gadget in the world, Microsoft came out with the Zune (sorry, I have to bring these things up). After Google started printing money with search advertising, Microsoft invested a small fortune in Bing. True, Bing has fared better than the Zune, but is a powerhouse company like Microsoft satisfied with only 17 percent of the search market?

Microsoft wasn't just late to the smartphone party—it showed up when the guests were already leaving with their devices in hand. Google's Android OS has about 50 percent of the U.S. market, while Apple's iOS has around 43 percent and Microsoft's Windows Phone has a paltry 4.7 percent. The purchase of Nokia's phone business might help boost that number, but you are playing for, at best, third place.

And then there is the tablet fiasco. The Surface might be a good little device, but it has earned less than 4 percent of the market. And yes, with Microsoft's might, you could boost that number up to 10 percent or event 15 percent, but is that what Microsoft is about these days—playing chimp to Apple's gorilla? (I'm sure you've read Geoffrey Moore's books, so you should get the reference.)

USER COMMENTS

Karen Shemesh 2014-02-12 04:13:01 AM
Many interesting points made! If this could only get to the right ears...

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