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6 things Satya Nadella should do right now

Among them: Office for iPad, explain the upside of Windows Phone

By , Network World
February 05, 2014 03:56 PM ET
Satya Nadella
Satya Nadella

Network World - Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has a long to-do-list that encompasses long-term plans that will take months and years to pan out, but there are some things he can jump on right away that will have a positive impact on the company and establish himself as a leader. Here are six.

Launch Office for iPad

Microsoft Office is one of the most popular application suites ever and there’s an enormous potential market for it among iPad users.
Yes, iPad users can get office via Office 365, but the last thing many iPad users want is paying an annual fee to Microsoft. They just want to buy the software, install it and use it.

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There’s an opportunity there for Microsoft to keep this popular suite popular among a group of people prone to walking away from Microsoft products. It’s not like they don’t have alternatives in Google Apps and Apple’s own Pages, Numbers and Keynote apps. And it’s not like Microsoft’s iPad competitor, Surface 2, is stripping away iPad customers, even though it comes standard with a version of Office.

It’s hard to know why Microsoft hasn’t done this already. Some rumors have Microsoft sitting on a completed iPad version of Office. It’s time to release it.  

Answer the question: “Why should I buy a Windows Phone?”

So far nobody has been able to do that convincingly. Last quarter, Windows Phone pulled down just 4% of sales, behind Android at 77% and iOS at 18%, according to ABI research. While that’s a 104% growth over the year before, it’s growth on a very small percentage.

Since mobility first/cloud first is Nadella’s mantra, it’s essential that customers buy these phones so they can tap into Microsoft cloud services.

With Nokia being the main purveyor of Windows Phones and Microsoft about to purchase Nokia, it’s important to get the word out that these are good hardware devices with a friendly interface. The issue is selling customers on what they can do with them, which is quite a bit if they tap into the cloud services.

This includes accessing documents, mail servers and applications in the cloud, all of which could be attractive to businesses.

The downside is that developers haven’t flocked to the platform as they have to Android and iOS. It’s a chicken and egg problem: People will buy the phones if there are apps and developers will develop the apps when there are more customers to write for. Somehow he has to break this cycle. Which brings up the next action item.

Reach out to developers

Nadella is in good shape to do this, given that he has run development teams at Microsoft for years. What he can say to them will come from technical knowledge, and be more effective, say, than Ballmer’s famous “Developers, developers, developers” rant in front of a developers’ conference. Microsoft has been wooing developers to write apps for Windows 8 since before Windows 8 became publicly available, but the effort hasn’t connected with developers in a big enough way.

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