Steve Ballmer thinks Windows phones should run Android apps

3 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Ballmer: Microsoft’s cloud revenue numbers are “bullshit”.

Last month The Verge reported that Project Astoria, Microsoft’s plan to bring Android apps to its Windows 10 Mobile platform, has been put on hold, but it seems one notable figure from the company’s recent history would disagree with that decision. SAN FRANCISCO — While Microsoft’s annual shareholder meeting Wednesday was largely a platform for executives to repeat the company’s mobile- and cloud-first mantra, the lengthy question and answer session that followed dove into the thorny topics of racism and ageism.Microsoft’s shareholders voted Wednesday to elect the company’s 11 nominated board members and said “yes” on an advisory vote on the company’s executive pay packages.At Microsoft’s annual shareholding conference today, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella cited diversity progress in relation to the executive team and board of directors.

Johnson & Johnson executive Sandra Peterson and former Cisco executive Padmasree Warrior join the company’s governing council, replacing Harvey Mudd College President Maria Klawe, who stepped down after six years. The audience member was asking Nadella about what Microsoft plans to do about its lack of support for important mobile apps like Starbucks, according to Bloomberg. With the addition of the two new directors and the reelection of Dick’s Sporting Goods executive Terri List-Stoll, Microsoft’s board now has three women, The shifts are the latest in a major revamp of the Redmond company’s board. Ballmer says that revenue is a “key metric” and that if these businesses are important then the company “should report it.” Rather than reporting these figures, Microsoft has reported its annualized revenue run rate—a hypothetical value that describes what the company’s revenue would be if the current level of sales were sustained over the full year.

Nadella cited the company’s effort to get developers to create universal apps across PC, mobile, and Xbox, but Ballmer said “That won’t work.” Instead, Windows phones need to be able to “run Android apps,” he reportedly said. He and Nadella met privately with Jackson on Tuesday. “It’s not just about words, it’s robust action and having a rich dialog about having a culture of inclusiveness,” agreed Nadella during the meeting, which was webcast. Jesse Jackson, a tireless advocate of diversity and inclusion in tech, agrees that Microsoft could do a lot better. “We now urge Microsoft to actively seek out qualified Blacks and Latinos for your next appointments, and want to work with you to identify Board leaders for the future,” Jackson said at the shareholders meeting.

This all may seem a little rich coming from the man who presided over Microsoft’s mobile foundering with an extreme reluctance to embrace other platforms — it’s certainly easier for him to take this position now. Last year, across the tech industry, there were only three black people and one Hispanic person sitting on the boards of directors at 20 major tech companies, according to a survey by the Rainbow PUSH Coalition. But with more and more high-profile apps actually leaving the Windows Store altogether, it’s clear that Microsoft needs a credible app strategy if its latest mobile initiative is to gain any ground at all.

Referring to the private conversation he had with the civil rights leader earlier, Nadella said he would look into new areas suggested by Jackson, specifically ethnic representation in advertising as well as allocation of more corporate resources to reach those in the inner city. Jesse Jackson, who planned to speak at the meeting for a second consecutive year, this time to ask the company to commit to targets for adding more diversity to the company’s workforce, among other initiatives. In September, Nadella announced Microsoft would spend $75 million over the next three years to get kids interested in technology through the TEALS program, Technology Education and Literacy in Schools.

We will continue the PUSH for real change, and insist that companies set measurable goals, targets and timetables to move the needle.” Nadella responded saying that Microsoft is “very focused” on diversity, and cited the unconscious bias training it has deployed to over 100,000 employees, the diversity of Microsoft’s supplier programs, and accelerator programs to reach minority entrepreneurs. Microsoft’s stock (MSFT) has made progress over the calendar year as well, starting at $48, dropping a few times to a low of $40 and currently flirting with $55, giving the company a market cap of $438 billion, third among public tech companies behind Alphabet (formerly Google, $527 billion) and top-seed Apple ($654 billion). The shareholders who followed Jackson touched on a range of topics, from why Microsoft had cut a particular program that compensated college students for being product-advocates on campus to borderline tech-help questions about how to use a smartphone to access television content. And in a nod to shareholder concerns, the board emphasized a shift in its pay practices to award executives based on their own and the company’s performance. One particularly tense exchange was between a Chinese-American shareholder who started by asking why there weren’t any Chinese board members but concluded by called Smith a “hoodlum” for allegedly asking Microsoft campus police to ban her from the premises after she tried to visit the company’s executives.

Are there any games for people 50-plus (age group)?” Nadella’s response: “Well, I’m close to 50 (he’s 48), and I love (the video game) Halo.” The questioner immediately countered: “You gotta appeal to us longer-livers.” Nadella allowed then that “this is a very important topic, we have people of all ages at Microsoft. But when I look at product design, the most important thing is that it’s universal, and not geared to one population or another.” The beginning of the meeting featured presentations by key leadership members. Thompson noted that Microsoft’s three-fold mission is to “reinvent business productivity, grow the intelligent cloud and encourage more personal computing.” Hood reiterated the company’s goal of having its new Windows 10 operating system on 1 billion devices by 2018, and reaching $20 billion for its annualized cloud revenue run rate by the same year (it was $8.2 billion this year).

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