Last week Microsoft released a company-wide memo from their new CEO Satya Nadella. Most of the news sites have been talking about how this memo outlines Microsoft's desire to change from a "Devices and Services" company to a "Productivity and Platform" company. (Specifically, a "productivity and platform company for the mobile-first and cloud-first world.") But I was interested in it from the perspective of an enterprise IT guy who spends his time thinking about how we get traditional Windows desktop applications out to our users.
Taking into consideration everything we talk about on BrianMadden.com (and that we will talk about at BriForum in a few weeks), here's what stood out to me:
Nadella wrote, "We will think of every user as a potential 'dual user'—people who will use technology for their work or school and also deeply use it in their personal digital life." This is right in-line with what we've been saying for years (via what Jack calls "dual persona"), so it's great to see it featured prominently in Microsoft's memo. What's interesting about this is the dual persona is easy for mobile devices, but when it comes to Windows-based desktops and laptops, it doesn't seem that people have quite figured it out. Actually, that might be a good article for the future: "How are you bringing dual-persona to your laptops?" At TechTarget, most employees do not have admin rights on their own laptops, and just about everyone has a personal laptop (usually a Mac) in addition to their work laptops. I wonder if Microsoft is doing anything to address that in Windows? Does Workplace Join count?
Nadella also wrote, "We will transform the return on IT investment by enabling enterprises to combine their existing datacenters and our public cloud into one cohesive infrastructure backplane." This isn't new (and isn't unique to Microsoft) but I'm including it here since I think it's awesome. I love the idea that future versions of Windows Server will essentially be individual nodes of the Azure platform that you run on-premises, and that you can combine and re-combine on- and off-premises services as needed. (In essence, Azure is the new OS, and Windows is the new HAL.)
Another interesting thing Nadella wrote was that, "our cloud will also enable richer employee experiences. For example, with our new Enterprise Mobility Suite, we now enable IT organizations to manage and secure the Windows, iOS and Android devices that their employees use, while keeping their companies secure." It's interesting that he called out mobile management as a core focus of the company, because according to Jack's article about Microsoft's Enterprise Mobility Suite from a few months ago, it seems that Microsoft has a lot of catch-up to do when compared to other offerings.
One thing missing was a discussion about Windows desktop apps (which, like I said already, has been the essence of my 19-year career in IT). Nadella did write that "Windows will create a broad developer opportunity by enabling Universal Windows Applications to run across all device targets." This is nice, but it's about the new-style touch-based apps that can run on phones, tablets, and Windows 8 touch-based laptops. But what about the existing Windows desktop apps that enterprises rely on today?
Dunno. (I guess we're still on our own?)
Nadella didn't mention anything about Remote Desktop, RemoteApp, VDI, or any of the other "desktop" technologies. And whenever the word "Windows" was mentioned, it was either in the context of "Windows Phone" or talking about how the Windows OS would be so flexible and capable that it could run new apps on new types of devices. (So, essentially these mentions had nothing to do with the traditional Windows desktop applications.)
Nadella closed with a few paragraphs about Xbox, including a mention of "Azure cloud enhancements for GPU simulation." I chuckled when I read this as I recalled what Benny Tritsch said back in 2010, ""RemoteFX is not about Hyper-V, it's about Azure!"
So if we need GPU-based Xbox games in the cloud to pull along our traditional desktop-based Windows applications, I guess we'll take it!