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Microsoft Is Worth as Much as Apple. How Did That Happen?
Nov. 29, 2018 | The New York Times | By Steve Lohr.

Just a few years ago, Microsoft was seen as a lumbering has-been of the technology world.....the company had lost its luster, failing or trailing in the markets of the future like mobile, search, online advertising and cloud computing.....It’s a very different story today. Microsoft is running neck and neck with Apple for the title of the world’s most valuable company, both worth more than $850 billion, thanks to a stock price that has climbed 30 % over the past 12 mths.

So what happened?

* The company built on its strengths

There is a short-term explanation for Microsoft’s market rise, and there is a longer-term one.

The near-term, stock-trading answer is that Microsoft has held up better than others during the recent sell-off of tech company shares. The more enduring and important answer is that Microsoft has become a case study of how a once-dominant company can build on its strengths and avoid being a prisoner of its past. It has fully embraced cloud computing, abandoned an errant foray into smartphones and returned to its roots as mainly a supplier of technology to business customers.

* It bet big on the cloud and won …
Microsoft’s path to cloud computing — processing, storage and software delivered as a service over the internet from remote data centers — was lengthy and sometimes halting.... it did not have an offering comparable to Amazon’s until 2013. Even then, Microsoft’s cloud service was a side business. The corporate center of gravity remained its Windows operating system, the linchpin of the company’s wealth and power during the personal computer era. That changed after Mr. Nadella replaced Steven A. Ballmer, who had been chief executive for 14 years. Mr. Nadella made the cloud service a top priority, and the company is now a strong No. 2 to Amazon.....Microsoft has also retooled its popular Office apps like Word, Excel and PowerPoint in a cloud version, Office 365......“The essence of what Satya Nadella did was the dramatic shift to the cloud,” said David B. Yoffie, a professor at the HBS. “He put Microsoft back into a high-growth business.”

* … while walking away from losing bets
When Microsoft acquired Nokia’s mobile phone business in 2013, Mr. Ballmer hailed the move as a “bold step into the future.” Two years later, Mr. Nadella walked away from that future, taking a $7.6 billion charge, nearly the entire value of the purchase, and shedding 7,800 workers.

Microsoft would not try to compete with the smartphone technology leaders, Apple, Google and Samsung. Instead, Microsoft focused on its developing apps and other software for business customers. Microsoft products, in the main, are about utility — productivity tools, whether people use them at work or at home. And its Azure cloud technology is a service for businesses and a platform for software developers to build applications, a kind of cloud operating system.

Mr. Nadella’s big acquisitions have been intended to add to its offerings for business users and developers. In 2016, Microsoft bought LinkedIn, the social network for professionals, for $26.2 billion.

“It’s really the coming together of the professional cloud and the professional network,” Mr. Nadella explained at the time.

This year, Microsoft paid $7.5 billion for GitHub, an open software platform used by 28 million programmers.

* It has opened up its technology and culture
Under Mr. Nadella, Microsoft has loosened up. Windows would no longer be its center of gravity — or its anchor. Microsoft apps would run not only on Apple’s Macintosh software but on other operating systems as well. Open source and free software, once anathema to Microsoft, was embraced as a vital tool of modern software development.

Mr. Nadella preached an outward-looking mind-set. “We need to be insatiable in our desire to learn from the outside and bring that learning into Microsoft,” ......“The old, Windows-centric view of the world stifled innovation,” .....“The company has changed culturally.
cloud_computing  kill_rates  Microsoft  outward_looking  Satya_Nadella  Steve_Lohr  strengths  turnarounds  big_bets  walking_away 
november 2018 by jerryking
Business Book of the Year 2017 — the longlist
AUGUST 13, 2017 by: Andrew Hill.

One question for the judges is how durable they think the authors’ analyses of 2017’s shifting technological landscape will prove to be. The jury is expected to give preference to those books “whose insights and influence are most likely to stand the test of time”.

* Tom Friedman, whose bestseller on globalisation was the first Business Book of the Year in 2005. Thank You For Being Late, his latest, extends the thesis, linking personal stories to an analysis of the state of business, innovation, economics and world politics.
* Satya Nadella’s Hit Refresh (written with Greg Shaw and Jill Tracie Nichols) is an upbeat, first-hand account of his effort to devise a successful second act for Microsoft — almost unprecedented in the world of big technology — after the software company missed the mobile revolution.
* Brian Merchant’s The One Device dives deep into the making of Apple’s iPhone, on its 10th anniversary.
* Brad Stone’s The Upstarts, about Airbnb and Uber, narrowly missed this year’s longlist.
* Wild Ride, Adam Lashinsky’s lively analysis of Uber’s rise.
* Self-driving cars — one of the technologies being explored by Uber — feature in Vivek Wadhwa’s The Driver in the Driverless Car (written with Alex Salkever).
* Ellen Pao’s Reset (out next month) tackles the red-hot topic of diversity in Silicon Valley — or lack of it — recounting her experience as venture capitalist and chief executive of Reddit, the social platform.
* Jonathan Taplin’s Move Fast and Break Things, which examines the “monopoly platforms” built by Facebook, Google, Amazon and others and how they have “cornered culture”.
* Near-misses for the longlist included: Franklin Foer’s soon to be published critique of the tech sector World Without Mind; Machine, Platform, Crowd (the latest from 2014 shortlisted authors Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee); and The Fuzzy and the Techie by Scott Hartley. Mr Hartley’s book on the relevance of the liberal arts in a tech-led world was born from a proposal that made the final of last year’s Bracken Bower Prize for budding younger authors.
* The Wisdom of Finance by Mihir Desai, which uses literature, history, movies and philosophy to shed light on dry financial theories.
* A Man for All Markets, by Edward Thorp, a mathematician who applied his skills, from Las Vegas to Wall Street, from the blackjack tables to the world of hedge funds.
* Andrew Lo’s Adaptive Markets, a critique of the “efficient markets hypothesis”
* Sheelah Kolhatkar’s Black Edgedescribes how Steven Cohen’s former hedge fund, SAC Capital, built its Wall Street dominance before facing insider trading charges.
* David Enrich’s The Spider Network offers a comprehensive account of the Libor rate-rigging scandal.
* Janesville, by journalist Amy Goldstein, which explores the deeper social — and political — impact of business decisions on ordinary working people. She digs into what happened to people in a small Wisconsin city when General Motors stopped producing cars, overturning the residents’ lives.
* With the exception of Nadella’s Hit Refresh, books about management and leadership fared poorly this year, though Fast/Forward by Julian Birkinshaw and Jonas Ridderstrale, and Freek Vermeulen’s forthcoming Breaking Bad Habits, about what happens when best practice goes bad, came close.
* Economics for the Common Good, by French winner of the Nobel economics prize Jean Tirole, due out in October in English. It makes the case for economics as a positive force on the everyday existence of people and businesses.
* Stephen King’s Grave New World underlines that globalisation is under unprecedented threat.
* Kate Raworth, in Doughnut Economics, makes the case for a new economic model that pays more attention to human and environmental pressures.
* Walter Scheidel’s The Great Leveler, is a sobering history of inequality. Scheidel emphasizes the unavoidable importance of violent events — from plague to revolution — in redressing the economic balance. “All of us who prize greater economic equality would do well to remember that with the rarest of exceptions, it was only ever brought forth in sorrow,” he warns in his conclusion. “Be careful what you wish for.”
best_of  books  booklists  Edward_Thorp  FT  gambling  Las_Vegas  mathematics  Mihir_Desai  Satya_Nadella  Sheelah_Kolhatkar  Tom_Friedman 
august 2017 by jerryking
Microsoft banks on bots to restore company’s mobile relevance - The Globe and Mail
SHANE DINGMAN - TECHNOLOGY REPORTER
The Globe and Mail
Published Wednesday, Mar. 30, 2016

Mr. Nadella to describe how bots and machine learning tools are going to create a new “distributed computing fabric” that will vault Microsoft back into relevance on mobile platforms that are built and owned by rivals at Apple and Google. The theory is that if the App Store is owned by the phone makers, you go around the store with bots that live inside other popular mobile services....Everyone from Facebook and Slack to Amazon and Google are already vying to build the best hosts for these new bot services. Canadian messaging company Kik is among those making major investments in this bot-driven future that foresees commands to semi-artificially intelligent interactive chatbots expanding into everything from physical commerce (buying stuff at a shop with your phone, essentially) to controlling Internet of Things devices (texting your coffee machine to make an espresso). Microsoft showed off similar concepts on Wednesday, including a cupcake shopbot and a Domino’s Pizza bot that can deliver food to your location.
bots  Microsoft  platforms  Kik  CEOs  Satya_Nadella  distributed_computing  machine_learning  Azure  cloud_computing  software  intelligent_agents  chatbots 
march 2016 by jerryking
Advice to Microsoft's Satya Nadella: Be More Brave - WSJ
By CHRISTOPHER MIMS CONNECT
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Updated June 2, 2014
advice  Microsoft  Satya_Nadella  strategy  cloud_computing  Christopher_Mims 
june 2014 by jerryking
Microsoft Prescription: More Bill Gates - WSJ.com
By
Shira Ovide,
Joann S. Lublin and
Monica Langley
connect
Updated Feb. 5, 2014
Microsoft  appointments  CEOs  Satya_Nadella 
february 2014 by jerryking

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