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Microsoft Pri0

Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

November 10, 2014 at 10:04 AM

Microsoft plants the flag, again, on ‘productivity’

How should we think about Microsoft’s string of announcements (free mobile Office for iPad and Android, a Dropbox partnership) that suggest it’s playing nicer with other device and software makers?

The company says it all comes back to positioning Microsoft as a “productivity” company.

Chief Executive Satya Nadella outlined the company’s productivity mantra in July, releasing a 3,000-word memo that was his deepest discussion of strategy since taking the reins of the company. Nadella made the case that Microsoft should think of productivity beyond the mechanics of formatting emails and spreadsheets, to programs that can analyze, predict, and give people insights that help them make sense of today’s data deluge.

Microsoft communications chief Frank Shaw, in a blog post this morning, goes a step further toward defining what this separate flood of corporate speak may mean in practice for future Microsoft products. The productivity tools of the future, Shaw says, should:

  • Be user-friendly and adapt to how people work.
  • Foster collaboration, instead of individual worker bee hammering away alone at a PC.
  • Help users prioritize and analyze data.
  • Be mobile, following users and allowing them to plug in and go regardless of what device they’re on.

Microsoft hopes it’s developing those tools now. The company at a small press briefing last week highlighted work on products such as its Sway presentation tool and Skype’s translation service, according to Fast Company.

At last week’s gathering, Nadella contrasted what he sees as Microsoft’s approach with that of arguably the firm’s two fiercest competitors, according to a New York Times account.

In short, Nadella said, Google is a data and advertising firm, Apple sells devices, and Microsoft, of course, is a productivity company.

Comments | More in Apple, Branding, Google, Microsoft

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