What ‘Tough Choices’ Does Microsoft Face?

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Late last week, GeekWire published an internal memo sent by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, detailing Microsoft’s new mission statement.

But the actual mission statement (“Empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more”) isn’t what most people have focused on. Rather, it’s the passage where Nadella admits some “tough choices” are ahead “in areas where things are not working.” Those problems will need to be solved, he added, “in ways that drive customer value.”

For those who work at Microsoft—as well as those vendors and developers who depend on the company’s ecosystem in some fashion—the CEO’s allusion to tough choices is maybe cause for alarm. Does Nadella plan to slice away whole divisions, or simply cut some products? Are there more layoffs ahead?

Although Microsoft views mobile as a key part of its mission—as well it should, considering this is 2015 and any tech company without a strong focus on mobile is either dead or close to it—those within the company express considerable angst over Windows Phone, which never managed to gain traction in a market dominated by Google Android and Apple’s iOS. In the wake of the memo, pundits are wondering whether Nadella plans to shut down Windows Phone, and focus more attention on Microsoft’s smartphone and tablet apps.

It’s hard to determine what else might be on the chopping block. Nadella has made the cloud a focus, so it’s unlikely that any “tough decisions” will weaken that part of the company. After a recent executive shuffling, it also seems that Nadella has its Windows, Xbox, and enterprise divisions where he wants them.

In fact, it’s just as likely that most of those tough choices will be internal, and won’t affect outside developers and vendors. Whatever the case, Nadella’s moves are something to watch over the next few quarters.

Image Credit: Microsoft

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