Where will Satya Nadella take Windows Phone?

Mobile & tablets

by Ben Sullivan| 18 February 2014

New CEO “lacks direct experience in the mobile market,” says analyst.

Merv Adrian, a research VP and analyst firm Gartner, has said that new Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella does not have enough experience in the mobile market, and that he must demonstrate as soon as possible that he is "not backing a 'business as usual' strategy."

The comments come as Nadella goes through his second week as Microsoft's CEO, after previous boss Steve Ballmer announced his retirement last year.

Adrian said: "He lacks direct experience in the mobile market. His insider status raises the risk of his being overly respectful of existing businesses, and hanging back from tough decisions that potentially threaten them but are critical to generating innovation. He will also need to shake up what is widely viewed as a culturally dysfunctional management structure.

"Nadella must quickly demonstrate that he is not backing a business as usual strategy, and that he recognises that design is front and center in client computing for both consumers and enterprise users and that a mobilised environment has replaced the desktop. The next six months will show how well Nadella and Gates collaborate to determine Microsoft's technical direction."

It has been argued that Microsoft's Windows Phone platform came too late for the firm, as markets had already been saturated with rival platforms such as Apple's iOS and Android by October 2010.

93% of the installed base of smartphones make in the US is made up of iOS and Android, with Windows only taking a 3.1% slither. One analyst estimated that the number of end users running a Windows Phone worldwide is only 50 million, which is dwarfed by Apple's 500 million iPhone users.

windows phone

Source: Netmarketshare.com

"We expect Microsoft's trajectory will be clear by year-end 2014. Do not expect radical changes in the company's overall 'devices and services' strategy; instead watch for organisational shifts, product design changes and updated product road maps to address a mobile- and cloud-dominant world," said Adrian.

"Nadella's main challenge consists of evolving Microsoft's existing businesses (including its enterprise offerings, which represent half of its current revenue) while reinventing Microsoft to make it relevant in mobile and cloud-centric markets."

The integration between PCs and handsets that Microsoft had hoped for has not sprouted, or arguably even found any roots. With Nokia set to announce the Normandy Android phone imminently, Microsoft has fallen yet again behind the times. Perhaps Bill Gates, in his role as 'technical advisor', can provide some backseat driving for the Microsoft board and help steer Nadella in the right direction.

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