Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella gave a keynote address at the Future Decoded event in London on how partners use Microsoft products everyday. Other headline speakers include the CEO of Virgin Atlantic, the CEO of Lastminute.com, and the Ministry of Defence.
During his 40-minute speech Nadella laid down the products, and services, he uses everyday, all of which (unsurprisingly) revolve around Microsoft’s offerings. As the head of a company with over 100,000 employees, Nadella is continuously busy and having good tools helps him stay on top of his workload is of paramount importance.
The first thing Nadella demoed was an “iPhone Pro,” a regular iPhone packed with Microsoft services. Before Nadella became CEO, Microsoft had no meaningful presence on iOS but it now has more than 15 apps on the platform, which includes Word, Skype, Wunderlist, and Sunrise.
Nadella made a big show of OneNote for iOS, an app that can take and distribute notes. He also showed off Office which has recently been updated to include the functionality of Sunrise, a buzzy app that Microsoft acquired earlier in 2015.
The iPhone is not Nadella’s main device, but in workplaces that increasingly encourage Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Microsoft realises it’s important to take your services to other platforms or get left behind.
Nadella’s main device is the new Lumia 950XL, announced in early October. He demoed Wunderlist, a to-do app that allows for multiple accounts and cloud-based syncing. Microsoft aquired 6Wunderkinder, the company behind Wunderlist, for around $US150 million (£100 million) in June and it’s clear that this kind of hip productivity app is key to Microsoft’s strategy going forward.
One of the headline features of the Lumia 950 is its tight integration with Windows 10. This has resulted in Continuum, a feature that lets customers use their phone in a “desktop mode” — i.e. with a mouse, keyboard, and large monitor — simply by connecting it to a $US99 (£65) dock.
The motivation behind Continuum comes from the requirements of developing markets: Desktop computers are expensive and unwieldy while smartphones are cheap and can be taken anywhere. Building a smartphone that is powerful enough to run a full Windows 10 experience solves this problem.
Nadella demoed Windows Hello, the security features that are baked into Windows 10 that use biometrics — visuals and fingerprints — over a simple password. “Remembering your password is one of the places where the security breaches happen,” he said on stage.
Beyond hardware, Nadella also showed off his favourite Microsoft services which include the newly updated Outlook. In Office 2016, Outlook became far more powerful, harnessing machine learning and collaborative tools to chart how you work, how your team works, and other important details. Office now “surfaces the things that are important,” hiding away things that are of less relevance, according to Nadella.
Towards the end of the keynote, Nadella made frequent references to HoloLens, the augmented reality headset that the company is deploying in early 2016. “If you change the way you see the world, you change the world that you see,” he said onstage, pointing to the “augmented” aspect of the headset. It’s clear to see that HoloLens will be a big part of Microsoft’s future offerings to businesses.
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