Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella launched on Thursday what’s expected to be a series of regular updates from the company as it looks to boost its bottom line, but also give it an image makeover to increase demand for its products.
Casually dressed in jeans and a brown polo shirt, Nadella announced during his first public presentation as CEO the availability of Microsoft’s Office software designed specifically for Apple’s iPad tablets.
Microsoft has long avoided providing customers with an iPad version of Office, saying the popular software package should only be exclusive to Microsoft Windows. That was always going to be a problem in the mobile market, considering Windows only powers 15% of smartphones and tablets.
As a result, Nadella told the small gathering of press in San Francisco that Microsoft must embrace the “magical coming together of the cloud and mobile,” which includes making its products available on all platforms, especially the subscription based Office 365, an online version of Office.
With product launches like Office for iPad, the focus is on “what we as a company can uniquely do to serve our customers better,” Nadella said during the press event webcast to millions. His first major public appearance was a more zen-like approach to promoting Microsoft than his predecessor Steve Ballmer, who preferred to loudly hype new launches.
“Everything we do going forward is grounded in this world view of ubiquitous computing,” Nadella said. “The future is not dictated by the form factors we know today. Everything we do will be digitized. Every interaction we have with other humans … and machines (will be digital).”
But Nadella’s move to break distribution windows could put $1 billion into Microsoft’s coffers, analysts say. According to Microsoft, Office already has 1 billion users.
Office is an important piece of Microsoft’s overall business, with the software generating higher profits than Windows, and 60% of the company’s overall profits last year, with corporate customers making up around 85% of the sales.