Microsoft headquarters in Redmond Washington is home to 42 thousand staff. It’s the engine of innovation for the world’s largest software manufacturer. Reuters TV has been offered a rare glimpse into the company’s vision of the future…a far cry from where it all started back 36 years ago.
The early vision of Microsoft was to see a PC on every desk and in every home – a wild ambition back in 1975. But by building programming language that helped turn computers into consumer devices, this company has played a significant role in bringing that vision closer to reality.
However in 2011, there is a growing belief that we’re moving into a post PC era, and questions about what that shift means for Microsoft.
As Charles Arthur, The Guardian Technology Editor says:
“Microsoft is seeing very serious disruption to its business model. The really worrying thing is the general growth in smartphones. Smartphones now outsell PCs. They have been doing that for about 2 quarters and there’s no sign there ever going to stop.”
Frank Shaw is the head of communications at Microsoft, and says the discussion about the future of computing is nothing new.
“You know, some people called it the Post PC era, we called it the PC plus era but what we all agreed on is that we were going to see an explosion of rich devices connected via software and services that would enable people to do more than they ever could with technology, and we believed that the PC would remain incredibly important in this mix and we continue to believe that today.”
David Cearley is the lead Microsoft analyst at Gartner Research. He says:
“Post PC does not mean no PC. It means we’re having a shifting design point. So rather than the design point which has been since 1981 this personal computer and client server and things that have grown around it. The design point is shifting off the traditional computer.”
The next version of the Windows operating system, dubbed Windows 8 will work on traditional desktops, but it is optimized for touchscreen tablets. Earlier this year, the company entered into a strategic partnership with the world’s largest handset manufacturer Nokia and it’s agreed to buy the internet calling company Skype for 8 and a half billion dollars.
Frank Shaw, Microsoft VP of Communications says:
“Whether its for fun, for productivity, for collaboration we’re not finished yet. There’s a ton of cool things coming. Absolutely, technology is going to shift and change and we are going to be right there with it.”
The bets are down. Familiar franchises are being radically reworked. And Microsoft – once the dominant player in the world of technology – is now vying for a meaningful chunk of what’s next.
Bottom line: With its stock stuck in neutral, its CEO facing unprecedented scrutiny and a key competitor suggesting it’s not keeping up in the battle of the platforms, Microsoft opens its doors of its Redmond campus to Reuters TV to highlight its latest innovations.