Forbes recently summed up Microsoft CEO Nadella very positively:
“[he] has established himself as the anti-Ballmer, even though his press people insist that such repudiation cannot be happening. Table-pounding bravado is out; good-natured curiosity is in.”
After the many accolades that Nadella received for his first few months at the helm of Microsoft, it suddenly seems like the honeymoon is over.
The eruption of news about a Microsoft smartwatch this week based on recently released patent filings is extremely disconcerting. With the Apple World Wide Developer Conference approaching next month, there is much speculation that Apple will announce the iWatch. In response, did Nadella lose confidence? Was it a moment of Nixon-like paranoia that led to the Watergate break-in, or a moment of Clinton-Lewinski machismo that pushed Nadella into the smartwatch business?
Thankfully no! Reading the entire patent report by Patentbolt to the last paragraph is a relief for the diligent that stick it out to the end:
“Microsoft filed their patent application back in Q4 2012 and revealed by the US Patent Office last week. Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.”
The patent filing is at least 15 months old, so Nadella had nothing to do with it.
Wearables are a really important technology. It’s an exercise in hands-free computing and communications. Google Glass, the Pebble and Fitbits are just experiments at this point in time and scale. A Microsoft wearable would need to fit into the Universal Windows Apps framework, where every app can work on every Microsoft platform. Windows 8.1 won’t fit on a Fitbit’s microcontroller or the Pebble, and while it might fit on a Galaxy Gear-like platform, it would kill the battery even faster than Android.
Nadella has impressed Wall Street and industry analysts with his vision to transform Microsoft’s assets into a cloud company. And Bill Gates’s willingness to talk about the possible sale of the Xbox business in a Fox News interview makes it clear that nothing will be held back in accomplishing this cloud transformation. A smartwatch would occlude the clarity of vision that Nadella brought to Microsoft.