The tech company released its annual report for the fiscal year, ending 30th June, outlining that the vision and ambition of the company has changed and AI is in the top list of priority developments.
The report, released on Wednesday, said: “Our vision is to build a best-in-class platforms and productivity services for an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge infused with AI.”
In comparison, the company’s fiscal reports from the last two years clearly shows Microsoft’s vision is ‘mobile-first and cloud-first’. However, this vision has significantly changed this year.
Microsoft reported that as the way individuals and organisations use and interact with technology continues to evolve, the need to use cloud computing and AI is greater.
Microsoft outlined that it continues to transform the company to lead the new era of digital transformation, to compete with other technology companies as the use of multiple devices, data and information rapidly grows.
Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft said: “At Microsoft, we are focused on empowering both people and organizations, by democratizing access to intelligence to help solve our most pressing challenges. To do this, we are infusing AI into everything we deliver across our computing platforms and experiences.”
To show commitment to its vision, Microsoft has established a formal AI and research group. The group includes 5,000 computer scientists and engineers focusing on the company’s AI products. Harry Shum, a 20-year Microsoft veteran, leads the new group to develop products.
The purpose of the group is to build on the company’s focus on AI and quicken the delivery of new skills across apps, services and infrastructure.
Shum, said: “Today’s move [to the AI and research group] signifies Microsoft’s commitment to deploying intelligent technology and democratizing A. We will significantly expand our efforts to empower people and organizations to achieve more with our tools, our software and services, and our powerful, global-scale cloud computing capabilities.”
Microsoft’s new priority ranking, knocking mobile off the top list, doesn’t come as a surprise following the struggle the company faced with the Windows Phone. Competition from the likes of Apple, Samsung and now Google pushed the Microsoft offering out the window as it failed to develop an operating system to the same standard as its competition.
As the market isn’t mobile-first orientated anymore, the cloud is much more in demand and can be accessed from multiple devices. Microsoft outlined within the report that they are offering cross-device productivity applications, and offering services including cloud-based solutions that provide customers with software, services, platforms and content.