Microsoft has a new mission statement, and it’s basically the same as its old one | Tech News
In the run-up to Microsoft’s new financial year (the current one ends when the month does), Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella sent a companywide e-mail to lay out the company’s direction for the next year and beyond.
The e-mail, exclusively reproduced by GeekWire sets out a new mission statement for the company: “[T]o empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.” Nadella elaborates further, saying that Microsoft has a “unique capability in harmonizing the needs of both individuals and organizations” and that its employees “deeply care about taking things global and making a difference in lives and organizations in all corners of the planet.”
The new mission statement doesn’t seem to be a million miles away from the mission described by Nadella’s predecessor, Steve Ballmer. In 2013 Ballmer wrote that Microsoft was to “create a family of devices and services for individuals and businesses that empower people around the globe at home, at work and on the go, for the activities they value most.”
The central thrust—empowering both people and organizations to do things—is a common theme. Ballmer’s formulation seems a little more concrete, however, both in terms of how Microsoft empowers people (with devices and services), and where they might be empowered (work, home, “on the go”).
Both are a far cry from the Bill Gates era. “A computer on every desk and in every home” was clearer in intent and actually measurable; it was a mission statement that allowed Microsoft to more or less say “Mission accomplished.”
The e-mail restates things that Nadella has said on a number of occasions over the last year: Microsoft is still living in a “mobile first, cloud-first” world, and its understanding of mobility is not merely that devices are mobile but that experiences are mobile, using the cloud to orchestrate and synchronize.
Nadella provides a little more detail of how he expects the company to fulfil this new mission later in the e-mail. The plan is three-pronged: “reinvent productivity and business processes,” “build the intelligent cloud platform,”, and “create more personal computing.”
These are each explained in more detail, and in truth, they all look very familiar given what we’ve seen from Microsoft over the last year. Office remains the core of Microsoft’s productivity platform, and over the last 18 months we’ve seen Office spread to more platforms, Office promoted as a platform, new tools such as Delve and Sway, the Surface Hub collaborative hardware, and of course, Office 365, both at home and at work.
Microsoft’s cloud platform, Azure, is becoming more and more compelling, with more services, more customers, and most recently, new data analytics and machine learning facilities. Microsoft’s cloud is only growing in significance, both in its own right, with customers directly using and deploying cloud services, and as a piece of background infrastructure, powering things like Cortana, OneDrive, and Xbox Live.
The third prong is perhaps the most contentious. Nadella says that Microsoft “will build the best instantiation of this vision through [its] Windows device platform and our devices.” The e-mail makes clear that Windows and devices remain a key part of the plan. This takes on significance in the context of the final paragraph, where Nadella says that Microsoft will need to “make some tough choices in areas where things are not working.”
There’s a widespread feeling among industry observers that Nadella wants or plans to get rid of the phone division bought from Nokia last year. Ditching the division could well be the kind of “tough choice” that the e-mail alludes to.
However, the continued importance placed on devices and the assertion that the best experience will be the Windows one suggest that Windows phones won’t be discarded just yet. Without Windows phones, those mobile experiences won’t be best on the Windows device platform, because there won’t be a Windows device platform for them to be best on. Killing off Windows on the phone would also greatly undermine the development message that Microsoft has been shouting for the last couple of years. The company has been promoting universal apps and the ability to share code across form factors. That message is only meaningful if Windows is available on the most common form factors, and that in turn means that Windows must be on phones.
The full text of the e-mail is included below.
I believe that we can do magical things when we come together with a shared mission, clear strategy, and a culture that brings out the best in us individually and collectively. Last week I shared how we are aligning our structure to our strategy. Today, I want to share more on the overall context and connective tissue between our mission, worldview, strategy and culture. It is critical that we start the new fiscal year with this shared vision on what we can do and who we want to become.
Mission. Every great company has an enduring mission. Our mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. I’m proud to share that this is our new official mission statement. This mission is ambitious and at the core of what our customers deeply care about. We have unique capability in harmonizing the needs of both individuals and organizations. This is in our DNA. We also deeply care about taking things global and making a difference in lives and organizations in all corners of the planet.
Worldview. We must always ground our mission in both the world in which we live and the future we strive to create. Today, we live in a mobile-first, cloud-first world, and the transformation we are driving across our businesses is designed to enable Microsoft and our customers to thrive in this world. It’s important to note that our worldview for mobile-first is not just about the mobility of devices; it’s centered on the mobility of experiences that, in turn, are orchestrated by the cloud. That is why we think of these two trends together. What we do with our products and business models has to account for this fundamental transformation.
Strategy and ambitions. Our strategy is to build best-in-class platforms and productivity services for a mobile-first, cloud-first world. Our platforms will harmonize the interests of end users, developers and IT better than any competing ecosystem or platform. We will realize our mission and strategy by investing in three interconnected and bold ambitions.
- Reinvent productivity and business processes
- Build the intelligent cloud platform
- Create more personal computing
These ambitions utilize a unique set of assets that span productivity services, cloud platform, our device platform and our family of devices. There is an explicit path dependence on how we achieve the “inter-connectedness” between the various elements of our strategy to gain momentum.
· First, we will reinvent productivity services for digital work that span all devices. We will also extend our experience footprint by building more business process experiences, integrated into content authoring and consumption, communication and collaboration tools. We will drive scale and usage by appealing to “dual-use” customers, providing productivity services that enable them to accomplish more at work and in the rest of their life activities with other people.
· Second, all these experiences will be powered by our cloud platform – a cloud that provides our customers faster time to value, improved agility and cost reduction, and solutions that differentiate their business. We’ll further provide a powerful extensibility model that is attractive to third-party developers and enterprises. This in turn enables us to attract applications to our cloud platform and attach our differentiated capabilities such as identity management, rich data management, machine learning and advanced analytics.
· Finally, we will build the best instantiation of this vision through our Windows device platform and our devices, which will serve to delight our customers, increase distribution of our services, drive gross margin, enable fundamentally new product categories, and generate opportunity for the Windows ecosystem more broadly. We will pursue our gaming ambition as part of this broader vision for Windows and increase its appeal to consumers. We will bring together Xbox Live and our first-party gaming efforts across PC, console, mobile and new categories like HoloLens into one integrated play.
Strength across all the ambitions enables us to deliver high value to our customers while providing us with the ability to differentiate ourselves from our competitors.
Culture. Perhaps the most important driver of success is culture. Over the past year, we’ve challenged ourselves to think about our core mission, our soul — what would be lost if we disappeared. That work resulted in the mission, strategy and ambitions articulated above. However, we also asked ourselves, what culture do we want to foster that will enable us to achieve these goals?
We fundamentally believe that we need a culture founded in a growth mindset. It starts with a belief that everyone can grow and develop; that potential is nurtured, not predetermined; and that anyone can change their mindset. Leadership is about bringing out the best in people, where everyone is bringing their A game and finding deep meaning in their work. We need to be always learning and insatiably curious. We need to be willing to lean in to uncertainty, take risks and move quickly when we make mistakes, recognizing failure happens along the way to mastery. And we need to be open to the ideas of others, where the success of others does not diminish our own.
We have the opportunity to exercise our growth mindset every day in three distinct areas:
· Customer-obsessed. We will learn about our customers and their businesses with a beginner’s mind and then bring solutions that meet their needs. We will be insatiable in our desire to learn from the outside and bring that knowledge into Microsoft, while still innovating to surprise and delight our users.
· Diverse and inclusive. The world is diverse. We will better serve everyone on the planet by representing everyone on the planet. We will be open to learning our own biases and changing our behaviors so we can tap into the collective power of everyone at Microsoft. We don’t just value differences, we seek them out, we invite them in. And as a result, our ideas are better, our products are better and our customers are better served.
· One Microsoft. We are a family of individuals united by a single, shared mission. It’s our ability to work together that makes our dreams believable and, ultimately, achievable. We will build on the ideas of others and collaborate across boundaries to bring the best of Microsoft to our customers as one. We are proud to be part of team Microsoft.
If we do all of this, we will achieve our mission to empower every person and organization on the planet. Beyond that, we will make a difference and find deep meaning in our work. We stand in awe of what humans dare to achieve, and we are motivated every day to empower others to achieve more through our technology and innovation.
When we come together as a team, with our exceptional talent and the mindset of a learner, we will grow as individuals, we will grow as a team, we will grow with our customers and partners, we will grow our opportunity, and we will grow our business going forward. And, ultimately, we will grow the impact we have in the world.
We’ve already started this evolution with things like OneWeek and Hackathon, customer feedback loops, our focus on usage in the engineering teams, our performance review model, as well as our diversity and inclusion efforts including the new unconscious bias training. We will do more and more to support the culture we have and recognize impact when we see it.
A good example of our culture in action right now is the work around Windows. We have approached Windows 10 with a growth mindset and obsession for our customers. We have the opportunity to connect with 1.5 billion Windows customers in 190 countries around the globe. We aspire to move people from needing Windows to choosing Windows to loving Windows. … Certainly we want to upgrade as many of our current Windows 7 and 8.1 customers to Windows 10 as possible through our free upgrade offer. More than that, though, we see this as an opportunity to support and celebrate how people and communities upgrade their world every day. To that end, starting on July 29 when Windows 10 becomes available, employees are invited to volunteer some time and upgrade their communities as part of the broader movement. More details will be available in the coming weeks — our hope is that not only our employees, but customers and partners as well, will get involved and be inspired. Together, we can make a big difference in our world.
I believe that culture is not static. It evolves every day based on the behaviors of everyone in the organization. We are in an incredible position to seize new growth this year. We will need to innovate in new areas, execute against our plans, make some tough choices in areas where things are not working and solve hard problems in ways that drive customer value. I really do believe that we can achieve magical things when we come together as one team and focus. I’m looking forward to what we can achieve together in FY16.
Listing image by Microsoft