Microsoft Devices East Africa Boss Mariam Abdullahi Speaks On Microsoft’s New Ways

Mariam Abdullahi
GM Mariam MAbdullahi and Kingori Gitahi, Microsoft Mobile Devices Operative Product and Devices Manager at Lumia 730/830 launch

Microsoft is a changed company. A change that not many had foreseen. Of course it’s for the better, that is if you forget for a minute about the layoff spree to go lean ever since the Redmond company acquired Nokia. Before we discuss the changes, I will take you back to what Microsoft was changing from.

For the longest time, though a market leader, Microsoft looked quite rigid compared to the more versatile Nokia that is known for loads of announcements from both their research and development team and product team. They’d have announcements back to back ranging from products that weren’t going to see the light of day to others that were ground-breaking. They still hold that name of innovative.

Now Microsoft on the other hand, though a market leader has been a bit rigid, with a yearly and perennial product cycle around Office and Windows. And that was mostly it. But the new Microsoft under CEO Satya Nadella is a changed one, and to put it in Ms Abdullahi’s words, a hungry Microsoft. If you have noticed, Microsoft has been in the news virtually every day. That’s usually a preserve of Nokia, Samsung, Google and probably Apple.

Mariam Abdullahi
GM Mariam Abdullahi and Kingori Gitahi, Microsoft Mobile Devices Operative Product and Devices Manager at Lumia 730/830 launch

Microsoft product focus has changed, according to Mariam. “Microsoft is a new company and you should expect more interesting announcements, more new devices are going to be announced”, she said this after the announcement of Lumia 730 selfie phone and Lumia 830 for Kenya. “New CEO means new ways of doing things, Satya Nadella has made it clear, you got to be hungry to get more and more things done to be around at Microsoft. “The product development too is more focused on developing the ecosystem of Microsoft services and we at the devices group do not have an advantage whatsoever.” She was responding to my question regarding new announcements around Microsoft Office.

Mariam added that ecosystems development like when Microsoft announced support of a rival cloud service, Dropbox, goes to state the case here that Microsoft is no longer about pulling people towards it but to go where users are. So we should expect Microsoft to support more and more platforms with it’s services. Mariam made it clear that Microsoft has it that the devices group will compete in an open space like the rest, not just guarantees because they are a division within Microsoft, they will compete with other players with similar resources available to them.

Microsoft devices group has over 90% Windows Phone marketshare and this represents less than 3% of mobile OS marketshare. “This does not mean the Windows experience be limited to Windows Phone, and that’s why you saw Microsoft announce Office apps for Android tablets alongside apps for iPhone and iPad.” “Of course the best experience will remain on Windows phone because of the seamless integration of the services within Windows environment, but we as Microsoft devices need to stay innovative and fast paced as all these services are available across platforms.”

In line with that, Microsoft has made numerous and quite interesting announcements, like integrating Office apps within Dropbox, announcing Office apps for Android tablets, iPad, iPhone and also availing .Net outside of the Windows environment. This doesn’t look like the Microsoft of old that used to ensure that things only worked best within Windows. What is coming out here is that the company realized that it’s main rival Google grew so much by providing services across devices and platforms and being all round. This will be a space to watch.