Figure 1: Microsoft CEO Nadera
"We are ultimately a Windows company," Nadella told me.
Just a week before the Microsoft Build Developers Conference, I came to Microsoft's Raymond Park. I would like to know what happened to the Microsoft Windows business after it was reorganized into other departments. Is Microsoft really ready to welcome a world without Windows? Nadella is ready to tell me that the Windows business is still - Windows business is still - but he is also ready to explain his latest vision for Microsoft's future: AI, smart cloud and smart edge computing. The so-called edge calculation refers to the computing operation mode that deals with big data. The data does not need to be transmitted to the distant cloud and can be resolved on the edge. It is more suitable for real-time data analysis and intelligent processing.
The Windows business may still be there, but after talking with Nadella, I do feel that Windows is no longer at the heart of Microsoft's future plans. Nadella no longer tries to make everything run on the Windows platform (this is what his predecessor Ballmer has been trying to do), but wants to make sure everything works with Windows.
Figure 2: Microsoft Bat Cave Lab
This is a major change since Nadella’s promotion to Microsoft’s CEO in 2014. Nadella's Microsoft needs to deal with the few losses, the company is trying to become a little more open. Windows 10's new features, such as the cross-device timeline, the “Your Phone” system that allows users to send text messages from the PC and access mobile data, all show some degree of pragmatism. Of course, there are limitations to opening up: Microsoft still strongly promotes its "Xiao Na" assistant and Edge browser in Windows.
Compared to a few years ago, Microsoft under Nadella has become a different company. Microsoft now wants its software to run on drones and other IoT devices.cloud serviceProvide support for businesses and improve enterprise software. Although consumers in the retail industry have not been left behind, Microsoft is beginning to look more like IBM than Apple.
What Microsoft will demonstrate at this year's Build Conference is a good example of this change. I saw in advance at Microsoft's "Batcave" lab some of the products Microsoft is going to show. The bat hole is full of cables, laptops, drones and expensive.SurfaceHub Display, which is located in an office building with Nadra and other companies. New technologies are tested in this laboratory, polished into what may be displayed on stage, and eventually sold to businesses and consumers.
This is a different Microsoft from our past imagination. It is less flashy but it is more likely to succeed.
The following is an edited interview:
Q: I just reread your new book, "Refreshing: Rediscovering Business and the Future," and I'm curious how you reinvent Microsoft culture. As you said, C in the CEO stands for culture. I want to know how you did it.
A: For any company, including Microsoft, I think the point is that you really need to determine the sense of mission and identity. This culture allows you to use the ever-changing technology to convey a sense of mission and identity.
In fact, the build Conference is a good place to start, because our identity is all about our self-creation. We started out as a tools company, Bill Gatesand Paul Allen, who developed the BASIC compiler for Altair computers. So, since the company was founded, we've been developing technology, so that other people can develop it as well.
Figure 3: There are various devices in the Bat Cave laboratory
The idea of empowering people and institutions is deeply rooted in our mission. This topic is best started with the discussion of developers, and then the cultural level. You need a culture that allows you to learn and accept new ideas. Otherwise, the company will suffer a fatal blow. If you consider technology and technology transitions, then you must have "growth thinking." You have to break the fixed mindset.
The cyclical feedback that developers provide to platform companies may be a good place for us to continually update our culture.
Q: So, what kind of fixed thinking is to help you break through bad feedback?
A: We have been developing the operating system since its creation, but what is the operating system? In a world where everyone is using multiple devices in their lives, they need to collaborate with multiple people at home and in the company.
So what does it mean to build a platform? Now we need to re-conceive and develop services for our users, not for devices. As a result, Microsoft 365 was born and it provides a cross-device experience for anyone.
We are ultimately a Windows company. Windows and cross-device experience do not conflict. In fact, "letting every Windows application become a cross-device application" will be the focus of our discussions at the Build conference.
Similarly, our Azure business is growing strongly. Azure has already gone online in 50 locations.
Q: You just restructured the Windows business. You stand in the middle of a Microsoft memo to explain the significance of the restructuring. I think at this point, you explain clearly to your employees and team. But can you explain to the average user briefly the next development of Windows, for example, to the Microsoft store to buy Surface users.
A: Take the latest Windows update you just pushed as an example. You must realize that every Windows user happens to have a cell phone. This means that they own multiple devices and they have a Windows device or a non-Windows device. How do we ensure that the two devices work together to help users make the most of their computers? For example, the timeline feature is an excellent feature for ensuring continuity between devices.
Therefore, from the perspective of a Windows user, we hope to continue to innovate in such independent devices as Surface Book notebooks, Surface tablets or HoloLens glasses, and provide them with new features such as My Phone or timeline. On this basis, we also need to ensure that the company is aware of the fact that users have multiple devices to ensure the continuity and completeness of tasks between users.
Q: This adjustment sounds like you don't plan to use Windows as the core platform for Microsoft's future development. We just discussed what the operating system should look like. Well, I have reason to ask: what kind of system is Windows in the end? What happens to the Windows system after a year or two? Is it still not what I imagined?
A: If you look at the capabilities we already have, whether it is the innovation of the chip itself, the natural user interface implemented by relying on chip innovation, and then cloud computing, we are now capable of more than ever before.
We need to ensure that things are the same as in the cloud. We did not say that we only developed Azure for Windows Server, but also welcomed Linux as our important business. We welcome Java as our important business.
When it comes to users, we need to realize that the only thing that is important to Microsoft is to serve our users well on all devices.
So, this is not to say what we took from Windows. Even if there is, it is also the ability to add more devices compatible with Windows. This is why we discuss Microsoft 365, so our goal is clear: Users with multiple devices for the service.
Q: You wrote in the book that the world is moving from the Windows operating environment to web pages and AI running environments. People will build applications on this kind of operating environment. But what does this mean in the end, what kind of things can this kind of operating environment create?
A: For example, Xiaomi, the company used our cognitive functions to develop a device that includes speech recognition and machine translation. Chinese tourists are the most in the world. Imagine if they have a far-field speech device in their pockets, they can use it as a translation device, and we can communicate with each other. One speaks Mandarin and the other speaks English and translates in real time. This is a practical application of AI.
Dajiang now has a drone that can leap over oil pipelines. We have developed a machine learning model that can find any break point in the pipeline and can be downloaded to run on a drone. This means that the edge computing service Azure Edge is being used in Dajiang drones.
Q: For many companies, the application of AI will also be unexpected. We all know how much negative it affected Facebook in the last election. Uber's history in dealing with customers is not glorious. So, what kind of responsibilities do you have when you are building protection mechanisms for AI functions that are provided to developers to prevent them from causing unintended effects of a total loss of control?
A: I would like to say that we should assume a very wide range of responsibilities, especially technology companies and technology platform companies. I think that in this issue, you must adhere to three principles: First, privacy. Fundamentally, no matter how the world develops, you must realize that privacy is a human right and you should treat it like human rights.
Second, you must pay attention to everyone's safety and cyber security. Third, you can't just ask: "What can a computer do?" Instead, it should ask: "What should computers do?" This is the three principles.
For example, take privacy as an example. We welcome some new regulatory requirements, like the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). We need to ensure that we do everything we can to ensure that we comply with the GDPR regulations. We are only on the road to comply with the new privacy laws, but we must take it seriously.
Similarly, on the issue of security or network integrity, some of the efforts we have taken to lead, such as the Cyber Security Technology Agreement, are to ensure that technology companies are united to ensure that no one will attack other people, especially civilians and minors. Business will not be affected.
From an ethical point of view, I think we still need to do a lot of things, but we can choose. Before the new regulations were introduced, we as designers of companies and AIs should develop a set of ethical principles. Therefore, we have even established an ethics committee within the company.
Q: When you begin to allow people to develop applications on the AI platform, how much responsibility do you have in restricting their capabilities? How much do you think it can urge people to do evil?
A: Microsoft has been engaged in platform business for so many years. I think the key is to guide people to make design choices.
What I mean by this is that choosing a good user interface is right? In designing a good user interface, there has been a set of guidelines that guide us. Now we must begin to figure out how to develop a good AI platform. Good AI is not just a technical framework. It is also a ethical principle for guiding good AI. I think we must start here. (Compile / Rain)