In his first direct address to partners since taking on the top role in February, Microsoft’s Chief Executive Satya Nadella outlined his new vision for productivity at the company’s Worldwide Partner Conference(WPC) 2014, pledging to make the Microsoft ecosystem as pervasive as possible.
“We are the company and the ecosystem that will build productivity experiences and platforms for the mobile-first, cloud first-world,” he said at the WPC in Washington, D.C. “We will reinvent productivity for the new generation. We will empower every individual and organization to achieve more. That is our singular mission.”
Microsoft is in a unique position because it can harmonize the needs of organizations, individuals and developers through its services and software. Microsoft will continue to refine its software and services, but look for ways they can be combined to offer more value and used across multiple devices, whatever their operating system, he said.
“We are going to have our experiences on all platforms. On every home screen out there, our aim is to have one or more Microsoft icons. Anyone can enter from any device into our ecosystem,” Nadella added.
Addressing the bring-your-own-device trend, Nadella stated that the notion of buying a device for personal use and then trading in that product for one that’s used for business won’t work anymore. He added, “Simply saying BYOD is not enough. We have to harmonize this dual usage.” He mentioned products and services such as Skype and Lync for messaging, OneDrive for Business for cloud storage, and Outlook and Exchange for email as examples of that kind of dual use commitment. He said, “Microsoft will harmonize dual usage to drive productivity in all walks of an individual’s life.”
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.” Microsoft’s products are being rearchitected for this new reality.
Nadella also demonstrated a few Microsoft technologies now being developed, including a new service for Office 365 called Delve. It collects any information that a user may find valuable and summarizes that material on a Facebook-like dashboard. Using machine learning, it can scour the Web for news items as well as investigate local networks for internal information of interest to the user. It keeps track of what meetings a user has attended and the person’s most frequent contacts, folding this information into the selection process it runs to find more data of potential interest. Like Facebook, Delve will be able to work on mobile devices and desktop computers.
He also demonstrated a translation service for Skype combining voice recognition, language translation and speech synthesis. In a call between two people who speak different languages, Skype will be able to translate the language of one speaker to the language of another as they are talking. 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.