Satya Nadella confirms culture shift is coming to Microsoft

Rebecca Lambert
Rebecca Lambert
By Rebecca Lambert on 17 July 2014
Satya Nadella confirms culture shift is coming to Microsoft

Bold changes are coming to Microsoft to help it build productivity experiences and platforms for the mobile-first, cloud-first world, according to the company’s CEO Satya Nadella. 

This was the message delivered to the Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) audience in Washington DC just the day before Microsoft announced that it will be cutting 18,000 jobs over the next few months as part of a strategy to simplify the way it works to drive “greater accountability, become more agile and move faster.”

Building on the message he delivered in his e-mail to employees last week, and which was further emphasised by COO Kevin Turner in his keynote address on Monday, Nadella explained in his WPC speech that Microsoft’s goal is to be “the company and the ecosystem that is going to reinvent productivity for this new generation.”

“We're going to get very focused on building on digital work and life experiences, this next generation of productivity broadly defined,” he said. “We will build platforms in the cloud for it, we'll build platforms on the device for it. We will make sure our experiences are pervasive and ubiquitous.”

To achieve this, Nadella’s message was clear: Microsoft will now focus on being a platform and productivity company, and it will change its culture to support this.

“Any opportunity which requires us to build new skills, which requires us to fundamentally change our approach, business model, or otherwise, is only going to happen if we are successful in renewing our culture,” he said.

Product demonstrations of Azure Machine Learning Service, Siena – a new app development tool, Office 365, Delve, Office Graph and Cortana helped to show the direction in which Microsoft is heading. But it was Skype Translate that really got the audience’s attention. The new product, which Nadella said will be available in preview by the end of this year, brings together “three distinct streams of research” – machine translation, speech recognition and speech synthesis. This allows users to speak to each other in two different languages and have their conversation translated in almost real time.

“We can change individual lives and organisations,” explained Nadella. “Because think about Skype Translate applied to customer service. Think about Skype Translate applied in so many other contexts where human communication can be fundamentally transformed.”

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