Great post by Ben Thompson:
It was only a little over a year ago that Ballmer declared, “Nothing is more important at Microsoft than Windows.”
Last week, Nadella said “No.”
Enough virtual ink has been spilled on that memo from Satya Nadella so I don’t want to rehash the argument. Suffice it to say, I see what Thompson is saying but I still think Nadella would have made a better case if he had said it more directly.
As for Thompson’s suggestion that Microsoft be broken up between services and devices and operating system, it’s interesting and makes a lot of sense and I don’t think there’s a chance in hell it’ll happen. The reason is hedging. Now, you could also call that a lack of conviction in your beliefs and you would not be wrong. But businesses call that hedging. Look at Google: they’re an advertising company and they make not one but two operating systems. Admittedly, Google is kookie, but their whole raison d’être for Android was making sure they were not beholden to other companies in mobile.
I don’t know how well that’s really worked out for them in practice. They’re no longer the default maps provider and are on the way out as the default search provider on the mobile platform with the most web usage in the U.S., largely because they developed Android. For a services company, I always think your job is just to make the best damn service you can so that devices companies have to put you on their platform. That may be an overly naïve take on how the world works, however.