This slide is starting to appear in more and more Microsoft public presentations from our executives. It was in Steve Ballmer’s Financial Analyst Meeting slides and also used at a number of recent Microsoft internal events. I like the slide a lot as it demonstrates both where Microsoft has been and is going.
- We started as a PC company – on every desk and in every home and it’s fair to say that has been pretty successful
- About 20 years ago we started to get in to enterprise computing with server software and despite what people said, we’ve been pretty successful there too
- About 13 years ago we started to get in to the Internet space and our late entry to that game is well documented. The Internet tidal wave memo was the sea change the company needed. Obviously there are some areas we hope to be more successful in such as search and advertising and there are some significant competitors with great products such as Google. Like many though, I think it’s early days on the Internet and there are some big changes ahead for Microsoft with the work Ray Ozzie and many others are doing.
- At a similar time, we started to invest in devices beyond the PC – be that set top boxes, gaming devices, mobile devices and more recently music players. We’ve had some success here but like the Internet, it’s early days in a long game ahead.
Back to the slide though. The reasons I like the slide a lot are these
- It’s a simple message – internally and externally. I mean I can even remember this one off the top of my head 🙂
- It’s clear, free from cheesy clipart, bullets, animations and other such distractions.
- It gives hooks to tell the story of Microsoft. People like stories in presentations and I think the Microsoft story is fascinating and seems to intrigue people.
- It helps demonstrate that these eras are not defined in a few years. They often take 10, 15 or more years to shake out and for our investments to succeed (or fail). Microsoft is nothing if not tenacious.
- It includes the words magic – I think it was Bill Gates who coined “the magic of software” phrase and it’s something we need to get back to our roots on. Right now I feel Apple does magic better than us at times – though Photosynth, WW Telescope and DeepZoom are pure magic to me….and Scoble and we need to make more people aware of these amazing innovations.
- It includes “power of the Internet” which will be much more fun to talk about at the end of October. Sorry, can’t tell you more there. Yet.
In summary, I think you can expect to see this slide a lot at Microsoft events over the coming weeks and months. As a vision slide I think it’s as good as I have seen in my 10+ years at Microsoft. I hope people take the time to present it well and I hope they take the time to tell the stories it holds and actually tell their own stories. You can rest assured I will 🙂