It may seem like Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is talking big sky when he makes bold statements, claiming his company will “reinvent productivity for a new generation,” a generation whose professional and personal lives are spent primarily in mobile apps and in the Cloud.
But if you look at what he’s been able to accomplish since last summer, it’s kind of daunting. Now you can not only access Office and many of its individual components via almost any mobile device, but your experiences with Microsoft’s apps are also on par with the best of what can be found in the App Store or on Google Play.
And if there’s a place where the Redmond, Wash. tech giant falls short, it doesn’t stay that way for very long. Not on Nadella’s watch.
Buying Better Mousetraps
A perfect case in point is the email component of the official Outlook app for iOS and Android. It worked, but the experience was a drag. It certainly wasn’t anything you’d choose if you weren’t forced to use Outlook. And it certainly didn’t look like Microsoft had put any effort into it beyond taking what was available on the desktop and pushing it out to mobile and cloud.
That was, of course, unacceptable over the long term, given that very little was reimagined. And while Microsoft could have tried to build something better on its own, it bought Accompli instead. It is now the extremely well received e-mail component of the Outlook app for iOS and Android.
Something similar will likely hold true for Sunrise, a new calendaring app whose acquisition Microsoft announced yesterday. It promises to accelerate efficiency for Microsoft and non-Microsoft customers alike.
Here’s what the CEOs of Accompli and Sunrise say about reinventing productivity.
Rajesh Jha, corporate vice president, Outlook and Office 365 said that by connecting calendars with a range of services users will get “a far better view of your day, week or month ahead,” in other words, a better view of your life in a digital world.
The Sunrise acquisition will also be key in delivering on Nadella’s vision of a productivity experience that integrates your professional and personal lives. At the company’s Partners’ Conference last summer, he cited the example of a father who was reminded to leave a meeting so that he didn’t miss his daughter’s ballet recital, a service that most busy parents would appreciate.
A Life of Its Own
It’s worth noting that the Sunrise app, which already has at least a million users, will remain in market and free after the acquisition, according to Jha. It will also continue to support a wide range of third-party apps and calendar services.
This is a smart play by Microsoft, which said it wants its products and services to be the ones that workers choose from among all others. In other words, it wants to own your productivity experience and, at this point, it aims for engagement with its apps over earning revenues from them.
The company is also hedging its bets so that if the Windows phone never takes off, it will still have a leading mobile and cloud play.
Title image by Asa Aarons Smith/all rights reserved.