Microsoft: chasing profits not trust?

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Jason Ward hits the nail on the head over at WC when he says that "Microsoft is now the world's most valuable company — and it's less trustworthy than ever". He's referring, of course, to Microsoft's new market cap, exceeding even Apple's. And to the way the pushing of cloud services at the expense of a first party mobile strategy hasn't pleased an awful lot of grass roots enthusiasts.

From Jason's editorial:

The road to Microsoft's current industry-esteemed position is littered with the collateral damage of betrayed consumers, abandoned products, multiple shifts in direction, botched updates, overly aggressive update practices, and notoriously poor communication. Microsoft enthusiasts bore the brunt of what seems to be the company's inability to commit to a given course for the long-term as products and services are slashed from Microsoft's roadmap.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has been accused of catering to Wall Street at the expense of advancing strategies that would benefit the company if they were given the opportunity to grow roots. Of course, armchair CEOs and analysts have little knowledge of the true inner workings and variables that a CEO of a multibillion-dollar company must contend with in a highly competitive, fast-paced and dynamic global market. Still, the impact of burned bridges and betrayed trust is not a trivial matter. And Microsoft's road to becoming the world's most valuable company has left a lot of broken trust in its wake.

1020 and Surface pro

My Surface Pro 2017 sits beside my Lumia 1020, which I still use.

A consumer's ecosystem choice is a financial, emotional, time and psychological investment. Though the alliances we forge with companies and the lines we draw between our positions and the boundaries of other ecosystems may seem ridiculous in the grand scheme of things, they are real nonetheless. So when consumers chose Microsoft's ecosystem and embraced its take on wearables with the Microsoft Band, phone with Windows phones, music with Groove and much more, the impact of Microsoft throwing in numerous towels on these and other consumer products hurt on many levels.

The implicit trust relationship demanded that Microsoft, from the perspective of consumers, owed it to them to fight for the products and services they took a chance on (for Microsoft) when there were other proven options. If a user could invest a few hundred dollars in a range of products and champion them, then the feeling of many (valid or not) was that a multibillion-dollar company could fight for its own products and for those who embraced them. The harsh reality, however, is that the feelings of a minority representation of consumers didn't factor into the company's strategy or balance sheet goals.

Those feelings were, to an extent, acknowledged as valid. Nadella admitted regret for abandoning users to chase the "next shiny thing" but the damage had been done. His promise to make phones if no one else did amounted to hollow words that paralleled the abandoned investments in Zune, Groove and other projects. Though dropping those products burned some users it did move Microsoft closer to its most valuable company position. So there's that.

Well said, this is a feeling that I've had for quite a while, i.e. that in 'following the money' Microsoft has abandoned both hardware and software products that enthusiasts liked. I too have a Lumia 1020, just as with Jason, though it just can't handle all the duties needed in 2018. And remember that Microsoft hasn't even tried to produce new first party phone hardware since the end of 2015. Three years is an eternity in the mobile world.

In other words, if Microsoft had ignored the money aspect and bankrolled Windows Phone and then Windows 10 Mobile through to the current day, even at a financial loss, they might only have gained 10% market share but surely they'd be trusted more by the grass roots of their ecosystem?

Source / Credit: WC