Satya Nadella is angry. He’s angry because it has taken years for his teams to come up with a standard-bearing suite of productivity apps for the mobile Windows platform and the iOS and Android market leaders.
At least, I would think he is angry. I sure am. After toiling away for years with apps that are missing that little something and seeing startups infuse productivity with new concepts and even, surprisingly, fun, I was beginning to wonder if Microsoft would ever get it. Thankfully, there’s no need to wonder anymore.
The acquisition of Accompli several months ago signaled a momentous shift of priorities at the tech giant. Nadella was not going to tolerate the firms’ slow mobile progress any further, and signaled that Accompli would be at the forefront of Office development efforts.
He wasn’t kidding. The new Outlook app for iOS and Android IS Accompli. You only need to look at the UI similarities and neglected terms and conditions to know how quickly Microsoft turned it around.
At first glance, the strategy is working. Outlook has quickly become the top productivity app on the App Store and reviewers have rallied around the amusing idea of it being the “best Gmail app.” All it took was a paltry portion of Microsoft’s mountain of cash.
The next step is Sunrise, for another $100 million. Although it doesn’t integrate as nicely with Microsoft services as Accompli did, it is widely regarded as the best third party calendar app available by many bloggers and consumers. The app exhibits pleasant design and some innovative thinking to help calendar use be more effective and engaging.
The acquivelop approach is gaining steam at Microsoft. Purchasing a product and hiring a team that is already impressing in the verticals that Microsoft is looking towards could be a shrewd approach, as long as these practices build on Accompli’s success.
This should benefit all parties involved, whether it be Windows, iOS, or Android users, and Microsoft itself. The company just has to be careful to not rely on such a strategy as a crutch, because existing teams would feel threatened and reignite old feudal sensibilities that the current CEO has worked so hard to eradicate. Hopefully, these new teams’ innovative methods and thinking spread across Microsoft.
Perhaps Nadella isn’t so angry anymore…