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PRODUCTIVITY

Microsoft: It's Time to Focus on Productivity

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said he wants the company to reinvent productivity.
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In a memo to employees Thursday, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said that the future for the company will largely focus on products and services that improve user productivity. In fact, he said the company will obsess over it. 

Nadella used the phrase "reinvent productivity" several times when describing Microsoft's new direction. Nadella aims to change the company's current focus on devices and services to one that's more honed in on apps and platforms that are suited for a "mobile-first and cloud-first world."

Nadella said he'd reveal more about what this means during an earnings report later in July, but his approximately 3,000-word letter previewed some of what's to come.

Microsoft's digital personal assistant Cortana is a large part of Nadella's vision. Microsoft debuted Cortana, its answer to Siri and Google Now, in April. Nadella said that Cortana will become even more predictive and useful in the future.

"Today the Cortana app on my Windows Phone merges data from highway sensors and my own calendar and simply reminds me to leave work to make it to my daughter's recital on time," he said.

"In the future, it will be even more intelligent as a personal assistant who takes notes, books meetings and understands if my question about the weather is to determine my clothes for the day or is intended to start a complex task like booking a family vacation." 

Nadella told employees to think of every user of a "dual user"--or someone who can use Microsoft's productivity tools in both their personal and professional or academic life. Therefore, Microsoft will be spending a lot of time studying the productivity pain points of users at work and in every day life.  

So what is to become of Xbox in this new direction? Well the popular gaming system isn't going anywhere, Nadella said. He acknowledged how important this device for the company. But otherwise, Nadella signaled that Microsoft will be more concentrated on developing platforms rather focusing on the devices that consumers use them on. 

Last updated: Jul 11, 2014

LAURA MONTINI | Staff Writer

Laura Montini is a reporter at Inc. She previously covered health care technology for Health 2.0 News and has served as an associate editor at The Health Care Blog. She lives in San Francisco.




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