Following the naming of Microsoft insider Satya Nadella as Microsoft’s CEO, there’s been an absolute deluge of suggestions as to what he should do. Here’s an article that’s typical of the genre—it recommends that Microsoft adopt Android as its operating system platform for smartphones and, presumably, phablets:
I’ve just had an interesting idea (which is pretty rare at the end of a long, hard week). What if Microsoft’s new CEO, Satya Nadella, drops Windows Phone in favor of Android? This might seem crazy, given the amount of time and money that Microsoft has put into Windows Phone — but desperate times call for desperate measures, right? Adding credence to this idea is the Nokia X (codenamed Normandy) — a Lumia-style phone that runs Android. This mid-range phone, despite Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia, still looks like it’s going to come to market this spring. Is it possible that Microsoft is waiting to see how the Nokia X does, before making a decision on the continuation of Windows Phone?
What most of these pieces ignore and the one cited above is a prime offender is Microsoft’s fundamental business strategy.
During the California Gold Rush of 1849 those made the most money weren’t the miners but the merchants who sold equipment, food, and so on to miners. Similarly, there’s a lot more money to be made selling tools to software developers. Microsoft’s strategy for more than 30 years has been to control all computer software development and IMO Windows 8 must be viewed in that light. If Microsoft loses control of the software development environment on smartphones, tablets, and so on and most future software development is done for smartphones, tablets, and so on, Microsoft loses control of software development.
So, don’t expect a Microsoft insider to propose abandoning Microsoft’s core strategy of the last several decades. You can’t maintain a $78 billion software company on office productivity software.