Microsoft has just announced a radical overhaul of its whole organization structure and there is one huge takeaway that we’d like to emphasize. Describing its vision of one family of devices, Microsoft hints that it could make phones in the future.
First, Microsoft makes it clear that its future ‘family’ will consist of “both partner and first-party devices” and then it clarifies that the family would include not just tablets and PCs, but phones as well.
While this is not clearly saying that a Microsoft-made (‘first-party’) is coming, but we definitely take this is a hint in that direction.
Not just that, later on the Redmond company says its family will include “other devices to be imagined and developed,” and if we think hard about devices yet to be developed we can definitely envision smartwatches, glasses and other wearables.
If Microsoft does indeed decide to make a phone, it definitely sounds strange announcing this on the same day as its most important partner Nokia is launching its long-anticipated flagship, the Nokia Lumia 1020. Is that how you interpret the words of Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer right below?
Our Family of Devices
No technology company has as yet delivered a definitive family of devices useful all day for work and for play, connected with every bit of a person’s information available through one cloud. We see tremendous room for innovation in software, services and hardware to bring the consumer this new, more complete and enveloping experience.
Our family will include a full spectrum of both partner and first-party devices. We believe we need all of these categories to drive innovation, fulfill market desire for diversity of experience, and achieve volume.
Our family will include phones, tablets, PCs, 2-in-1s, TV-attached devices and other devices to be imagined and developed. No other company has such strength across so many categories today, and yet this strength is essential to being relevant and personal throughout people’s lives. Our devices must share a common user-interface approach tailored to each hardware form factor. They must deliver experiences based on a common set of services such as the same account login or a common understanding of people and their relationships. They need to share the same services infrastructure so that the information an individual has shared on one device can be available and carry across all the devices in the family. Our devices must support the same high-value activities in ways that are meaningful across different device types. Developers must be able to target all our devices with a common programming model that makes it easy to target more than one device.
We will continue to reinvent the core “shell” of our family of devices and build upon what we have started with Windows 8. We will keep evolving our new modern look, expanding the shell so that it allows people and their devices to capture, store and organize their “stuff” in new ways. Our UI will be deeply personalized, based on the advanced, almost magical, intelligence in our cloud that learns more and more over time about people and the world. Our shell will natively support all of our essential services, and will be great at responding seamlessly to what people ask for, and even anticipating what they need before they ask for it.
The experience we will deliver across all our devices centers on the idea of better connecting people with the things they care about most. This includes their files, documents, photos, videos, notes, websites, snippets, digital history, schedules, tasks, and mail and other messages, combined with real-time information from our devices and services. It is more than what we think of as the shell today, and no current label really fits where we are headed. Neither the desktop nor the social graph describes this new experience, and neither does the search box, the pin board or the file system. The shell will support the experiences layer and broker information among our services to bring them together on our devices in ways that will enable richer and deeper app experiences.With these innovations in software, hardware and services, we will develop the only ecosystem that promotes variety in hardware but coherence in the user experience. Other companies do one without the other. Only we can bring it all together to create one experience for everything that’s important in people’s lives.
(emphasis ours everywhere)