Other than the well-publicised ‘mobile first, cloud first’ slogan Microsoft doesn’t appear to have a clue what its actually doing, with communication being vague and providing conflicting advice, actions being inconsistent and each part of the business apparently acting in isolation, with no view of what other divisions are doing.
For example, Microsoft Health, Microsoft Band and Microsoft’s aspirations for being a player in the future Healthcare provider market.
A couple of weeks ago rumours started circulating that Microsoft would no longer be manufacturing its band app. So far, so unsurprising. After all the Band only made sense for Windows Mobile users and Microsoft’s decision to abandon the consumer smartphone market would effectively kill sales anyway. Yesterday Microsoft confirmed to ZDNet’s Mary-Jo Foley that the Band 2 was being cleared and no replacement was coming.
So in the intervening time why did Microsoft feel the need to rename it’s cross platform Health app to Band? There can be no logic underpinning this move, unless it marks an unlikely end to Microsoft’s health aspirations.
It isn’t the only area where logic seems to have been thrown out of the window. Microsoft has been banging the drum for cross platform apps, UWP and the ease with which its tools allow third-parties to migrate apps to Windows 10. Yet the company continues to deliver apps which won’t work on Windows 10 (especially Mobile) or leave its own applications for Windows languishing behind versions for other platforms. Talk about undermining your own message.
Hardware? Microsoft claims that it only wants to do hardware to fill in gaps in its partners offerings. So how does the Surface Book exist, when it competes directly with the premium offerings from the likes of Dell, HP and Lenovo? Cherry picking the lucrative high end market doesn’t seem like a particularly partner friendly route.
Right now Microsoft seems to be a group of companies all pulling against each other – a state of affairs that has apparently been endemic to the organisation throughout its lifetime and doesn’t seem to be improving. Contrast this with the laser-like focus of Apple, or the targeted-scatter approach of Google and you get the feeling that Microsoft is in a worse place today than when Steve Ballmer was replaced by Satya Nadella two years ago.