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May 28, 2014

Microsoft’s Nadella outlines vision in ‘post-post-PC era’

Tech giant CEO appears eager to move past ‘missed opportunities’.

By Vinod

Whilst talking about his vision for Microsoft at Re/code’s inaugural Code Conference, CEO Satya Nadella says that as the world moves into the "post-post-PC era," the future of the tech giant lies in building at least one major new product to retain competitive edge.

Microsoft has been a gamechanger in the past for pioneering new technologies such as Windows for personal computers, Windows Server, and the Office suite of applications. But over the years it has lost ground to competitors such as Apple and Google.

Participating in an hour-long interview during the conference, Nadella stressed on Microsoft’s capability to develop a new technology on par with its three largest businesses.

"It’s time for us to build the next big thing. If along the way we have to buy things that’s fine, but we have to build something big."

He said that several new programs and services are already under various stages of development at Microsoft, ranging from new search technologies to a live translation service for Skype calls.

The Skype service was also demonstrated at the event where a live call was translated instantly between an employee who spoke English and the other who spoke German. The service can currently handle 40 languages, and will be available by the end of the year.

He spoke about building software platforms and software applications that will span devices as computing moves beyond desktop computers.

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Under his stint, Microsoft has already started offering a version of its Office software for Apple Inc.’s iPad, departing from the company’s usual practice of making Office an exclusive for tablets powered by Microsoft’s Windows operating system.

Nadella categorically ruled out plans to spin off the Xbox business as well as sell Bing search technology to partner Yahoo. The tech giant only has 18% of the market share in search.

He unveiled plans of a ‘smart’ search under development that could predict what tasks users would like to perform, from watching movies to listening to music.

The technology is on the lines of the one adopted by Netflix and Pandora for movies and music, but applied to a broader range of activities and interests, reports Wall Street Journal.

"Instead of you having to find information, information finds you," he said.

Nadella is facing various challenges since he took over the reins of Microsoft four months back, such as dependence of company’s profits on its dominance of PCs and the computer servers that power them; challenge to prove itself in new computing areas, including smartphones and tablets; and the integration of its purchase of Nokia’s smartphone business and managing products like Surface.

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