Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has said that the operating system is “no longer the most important layer for us”.
“What is most important for us is the app model and the experience,” revealed Nadella, indicating that Windows has slipped down the importance list of Microsoft. He was talking to the tech magazine Wired ahead of the October 2 Surface event in New York.
Although Windows is a significant part of Microsoft’s business, it’s certainly not the future of it – something Microsoft has been signalling from long. Microsoft has forged a partnership with Google but the company did not disclose much about its partnership during the Surface event.
If Microsoft-Google partnership works well, we may get to see better Google apps on Windows, or Microsoft allowing Windows 10 users to search Google from Windows search.
In the annual Surface event, Microsoft unveiled Surface Duo and Surface Neo that are coming next year. The Surface Duo phone runs on Android, a popular operating system by Google. This marks a significant shift from Microsoft’s previous strategy, and a return to smartphones just without Windows this time. With Surface Duo, Microsoft is now an official Android phone maker. Although, Microsoft did try dipping its toes into the Android world when it launched the Nokia X smartphone back in 2014.
According to The Verge, Nadella is signalling that the company is focusing on the Microsoft Graph – a collection of APIs that connects devices to Microsoft’s cloud services and acts as an important gateway into Windows, Office 365, and Azure. It looks like Microsoft is partnering with Google to connect this Graph deeper into Android.
He wants the app developers to focus on coding for Duo and Neo rather than thinking about the OS. “How people are going to write apps for Duo and Neo will have a lot more to do with each other than just writing a Windows app or an Android app, because it’s going to be about the Microsoft Graph,” Nadella said.
Microsoft has now turned to Google to get access to the Play Store, which contains a far greater number of apps than Microsoft can offer on a Windows Phone. The tech giant also hinted at working directly with Google on dual-screen devices for Android to improve the user experience. Integration of Microsoft’s Edge browser with iOS or Android devices is another instance of what Nadella describes as “an app model that spans experiences across devices.”
Microsoft’s shift to Android OS speaks volumes of the company’s focus on chosing the right OS for the form factor. “In case of mobile devices, Android is the obvious choice. But for anything bigger, Windows is everything,” said company’s chief product officer, Panos Panay in response to the possibility of Android being the future for Microsoft.