Microsoft’s evolution as a ‘productivity’ company, no longer just Office or Windows

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Microsoft's evolution as a 'productivity' company -- not just Office or Windows

If you were to ask someone about Microsoft’s productivity offerings, they would probably list Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or business software such as Outlook. And traditionally, these were the pillars of the productivity offerings from Microsoft. Software to write, present, manipulate data, manage your business, and more solutions along the same lines.

 “That’s why we’re not just in the ‘productivity business.’ We’re in the business of helping people be more productive.”

However, Microsoft has been evolving, and wants you to know that so has its views on productivity. “That’s why we’re not just in the ‘productivity business.’ We’re in the business of helping people be more productive.” Microsoft defines productivity as “simply a way of thinking about how well we use our time.”

Their focus is now on three aspects: creating ‘natural tools’ that mold themselves to the user’s workflow rather than forcing the user to learn theirs, tools for social productivity/collaboration, intelligent tools which understand context to anticipate and prioritize, and mobile solutions that can turn any device into your device.

Microsoft Productivity

Historically, this was not Microsoft’s strong point. They provided complex, but very standard, software. Think back to Windows before 8, it was very static. When you buy a iOS, Android, or ChromeOS device, simply logging in transforms it by linking your data, apps, and preferences. You can see this same approach in Windows 8+, where even your desktop background is synced. This view is evident even in Office, with personal touches such as themes, and linking to OneDrive (and Dropbox) that allow you to stay connected to your data.

Microsoft has recently made Office free for iOS and Android. While some of you may believe that this takes away value from Windows Phone, we live in a world where the majority of Microsoft’s customers use other mobile operating systems to supplement their Windows desktops or laptops. Microsoft is embracing that their users work on different devices, and this will help Windows Phone in the long term.

In addition to the standard Office software, Microsoft has recently released Xim, a picture sharing application designed to enable collaboration with people that don’t even have the app installed (saving you time, enhancing productivity). Their partnership with UK Guide Dogs to help the visually impaired navigate cities through technology is part their productivity solution as well.

This is more evidence that this is not the Microsoft from a decade ago, this is a company looking firmly to the future. Unfortunately, the classic image of Windows and Word is still the one stuck in the majority of consumer’s minds.