When Satya Nadella took the reins as Microsoft’s CEO, he set a new vision for the company. Microsoft would now be designing, developing and delivering solutions for a Mobile First, Cloud First world.
This is a world where there are multiple types of mobile devices that run on multiple operating systems. To succeed in this world, as a software provider, you have to play nicely with all of them and in all of them. Nadella knows this.
July 11 Update: Microsoft will now be adding OneNote to Android devices as well. The company launched the Android beta program today. This falls in line nicely with Nadella’s impassioned memo to employees yesterday (which was really meant to customers and stockholders) which said:
Our passion is to enable people to thrive in this mobile-first and cloud-first world. We have described ourselves as a 'devices and services' company. While the devices and services description was helpful in starting our transformation, we now need to hone in on our unique strategy."
The strategy he’s referring to is one of digital work and life experiences, which would, no doubt, be better with One Note on all your devices.
In a blog post he penned last March he noted:
We live in a world where device types, shapes, sizes and form factors are exploding and will continue to do so. Devices extend our abilities in ways that are uniquely suited to task, context and occasion. As long as human curiosity and ambition drive us to create new things, capture moments and collaborate to get things done, we should expect the world of devices to follow suit. In fact, that’s what drives our ongoing evolution of Windows: the desire to maximize the capabilities of these diverse device types while fitting perfectly into those unique moments and environments."
Two months later he articulated the vision again in a tweet.
3/7 People centered. Apps power experiences across devices. We will not be bound to one app, on one device, in one place— Satya Nadella (@satyanadella) May 28, 2014
More Than Just Pretty Words
We first saw that there was walk behind Nadella’s talk when, in his first official announcement as CEO, he introduced the Microsoft Office app for iPad.
This is something that should have been done much earlier. The business world had started using iPads for work almost immediately after its release in 2010 and the primary productivity tools that they preferred to use -- namely, Microsoft Word and Excel -- weren’t available to them.
Steve Ballmer was in charge at that time and, whether he realized it or not, he put Microsoft Office’s lock on the workplace at risk as the rapidly growing population of iPad users had no choice but to turn to iWork and Google Docs.
Had they fallen in love with these productivity apps they might have started to use them on their desktops and laptops as well.
Lucky for Microsoft that didn’t happen. Instead, when Microsoft’s iPad app was released, users rejoiced and there were 27 million downloads in the first 46 days.
The Logical Next Step
Given that kind of success, a release of the app for Android tablets seems to be a no-brainer, but Microsoft has yet to announce one.
However, market intelligence says that they will do that soon. Yesterday on Microsoft ‘s Pre-Release Program page there was a call for testers who would check out Office on Android tablets, but the page, or at least the content, was quickly taken down.
Maybe they were overwhelmed by volunteers, but it’s more likely that they didn’t realize that they had leaked their own plans.
Is that a big deal? We don’t think so. Android tablet users will likely rush to get the app as quickly as iPad users did. Though they may have a comment to share with the folks in Redmond: “What took you so long?”