Microsoft CEO candidate Elop said to mull focus company on Office, not Windows

“Stephen Elop, a candidate to replace Steve Ballmer as Microsoft Corp.’s chief executive officer, would consider breaking with decades of tradition by focusing the company’s strategy around making the popular Office software programs like Word, Excel and PowerPoint available on a broad variety of smartphones and tablets, including those made by Apple Inc. and Google Inc., said three people with knowledge of his thinking,” Peter Burrows and Dina Bass report for Bloomberg. “Elop would probably move away from Microsoft’s strategy of using these programs to drive demand for its flagship Windows operating system on personal computers and mobile devices, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the 49-year-old executive hasn’t finalized or publicly discussed his analysis of the business.”

“Its refusal to adapt Office for Apple and devices based on Google’s Android operating system hasn’t helped its software usage,” Burrows and Bass report. “As he formulates some broad strategic outlines for Microsoft, Elop is drawing on his years as CEO of Nokia Oyj, where he showed he wasn’t wedded to homegrown software by canceling the company’s then-dominant Symbian phone software in 2010, said the people. He is also leaning on his previous experience as a Microsoft executive, where as head of the Office division he pushed the company to enhance and find new ways to sell the software, said the people.”

Burrows and Bass report, “Elop’s assumption is that Microsoft could create more value by maximizing sales of Office rather than by using it to prop up sales of Windows-based devices, said two of the people with knowledge of his thinking… Besides emphasizing Office, Elop would be prepared to sell or shut down major businesses to sharpen the company’s focus, the people said. He would consider ending Microsoft’s costly effort to take on Google with its Bing search engine, and would also consider selling healthy businesses such as the Xbox game console if he determined they weren’t critical to the company’s strategy, the people said… At Nokia, Elop cut 40,000 jobs and reduced operating expenses by 50 percent. While Microsoft doesn’t face the same cost constraints, Elop would probably impose job cuts and belt-tightening to create smaller teams, said the people.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: A belated welcome to MacDailyNews reader Stephen Elop.

iPad and iPhone are already firmly ensconced into the Fortune 500 and SMB without Microsoft’s bloated morass of insecure spaghetti-code. The world is rapidly learning that it can live without Office and, by failing to pollute iOS devices with their crapware, Microsoft is spreading the news better than anyone.MacDailyNews, January 30, 2013

The more people who learn the fact that they do not need Office and the quicker they learn it, the better. For all we care (being 100% Microsoft free for as long as we can remember) wait until you’re dead, Microsoft. The world would be a better place without you and your ilk.MacDailyNews, March 1, 2013

The longer Microsoft dithers, the more people wake up to the fact that Office is not necessary. iPad is taking the enterprise by storm. No Microsoft Office needed. Take your time, dummies.MacDailyNews, April 10, 2013

Microsoft had a chance to preserve one of their cash cows by making Office for iOS and Android. That window of opportunity is closing, if it hasn’t already.

The world has or soon will realize that, no, actually you do not need Microsoft Office to word process or create spreadsheets and presentations.

The failure to create Office for iOS and Android in a misguided push to sell tablets and phones running Microsoft OSes will be looked at as one of, if not the, biggest mistake Microsoft made during their ill-fated attempt to recover after being repeatedly, unmercifully steamrolled by Apple’s Steve Jobs with the iPhone, iPad, iCloud, App Store and the rest of the formidable iOS ecosystem.MacDailyNews, July 12, 2013


  1. His master plan is to concentrate on the product that has the most alternatives. There are plenty of alternatives for word processing, but not so many alternatives for an operating system.

    He would need to offer a version of Word that can compete with free, otherwise Apple’s Pages and Google will gain further inroads. There’s clearly no way that Microsoft can continue to charge a large amount for Office. How will lower future revenues affect Microsoft’s ongoing business ?

    I like his strategy, I like it a lot.

    1. Elop would be exactly correct in that approach. Each leg should stand on it’s own and shouldn’t be used to prop up another. If windows isn’t strong, then fix it, don’t try to over play your hand and extort your customers to buy other products. Bundle pricing makes sense, but extortion, no so much.

    2. “not so many alternatives for an operating system.”

      Only need one OS: Microsoft could effectively gain market share by adopting & supporting Linux.

      If MSOffice runs on Linux, do you really need to keep Windows around forever? I think not. OS’s are not a long range strategy, whereas productivity Apps are HUGE.

    1. That’s what people used to say about WordPerfect, but it still got superseded by an alternative. More recently we were told that businesses need Blackberry phones and they will always be the phone of choice for ‘real work’.

  2. Microsoft is in a bad situation of their own doing. Focusing on what works for them may be successful. But, they will no longer be a monolithic software giant, pushing everyone around with proprietary technologies.

    One thing I can guess; the next CEO will lead a company that must compete with someone else’s rules in place. That will be the interest ing story

  3. Not sure office will be a focal point for MS since there are too many free options, now esp from Apple. I think that would doom Ms for sure with that strategy.

    1. I think the free iWork is directed at Google principally. Google doc’s are free and available to chrome books. Apple need to up their game and intrinsic value and offer similar free capabilities.

      Has little or nothing to do with Microsoft, of course, other than a swift kick between the legs of it’s other cash cow.

  4. A wonderful way to kill a company. For Microsoft to survive, they need to open-source windows, stop selling windows. Break up into pieces so that the Xbox division may flourish as xbox corporation.
    Elop is saying that Windows should be minimized (pun inteneded) I could not agree more. Basing the entire company on something that is already available for free in the form free products which are indistinguishably similar such as open office is going to drive the nail into Microsoft’s coffin.

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