ASPEN, Colo.--Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) CEO Satya Nadella knows his company needs to change if it wants to stay competitive--and he said the key to fostering change at the company is to renew the firm's mainstream products but also to stay innovative and "incubate" new things like wearable devices.
The comments are notable in light of a new report from Bloomberg that Nadella is preparing for Microsoft's biggest round of job cuts since the company cut close to 6,000 jobs in 2009. According to the Bloomberg report, the job cuts could be announced as early as this week and will likely target Microsoft's Nokia smartphone business that it acquired earlier this year, as well as areas including marketing and product testing.
Indeed, according to Bloomberg, which cited unnamed people familiar with the matter, the pending Microsoft job cuts could end up being Microsoft's biggest corporate restructuring ever. Microsoft currently employs around 130,000 people.
To be clear though, the job cuts aren't exactly a surprise. When Microsoft acquired Nokia and its 30,000 workers in April, the company hinted at cost savings that many believed would come from job cuts as Microsoft works to integrate the Nokia operation into its own structure.
Further, Nadella last week issued a lengthy memo on Microsoft's vision and focus, potentially setting the stage for a restructuring at Microsoft. Speaking at the Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference here, Nadella reiterated much of the same vision he outlined in the memo--specifically, he talked about the need for the software giant to focus more on productivity and platforms.
In fact, Nadella spoke so often about productivity in the first few minutes of his talk that interviewer Walter Isaacson, CEO of the Aspen Institute, called him out on it. Nadella defended his emphasis on productivity by saying that it impacts all areas of life, not just work. "Productivity is the most secular category in life and work," he said.
Nadella also said that he is committed to looking at existing product lines and figuring how to move them forward. Specifically, he said Windows has to change, noting that although it's currently available on mobile phones, PCs and devices like the Xbox, that's not enough. Instead, he envisions Windows as a platform that will be on everything from wearables to large screens and more. "When we think Windows, it's a broad platform from wearables to IoT (Internet of Things) to big screens and tablets."
He also noted that Microsoft apps need to be available on every device in the world, including Android and iOS. "All Windows, iOS and Android devices should have Microsoft applications."
One core area where he admits Microsoft needs lots of work is mobile. "I would say we have a lot of work to do as we navigate the mobile-first world," he said. "We have 90 percent of the PC market share but only 14 percent of device share," Nadella said. "We get that. We are growing in tablets and phones but we are coming in from behind."
On the personal side, Nadella said he reads poetry and that it he often is inspired by it, noting that T.S. Elliott is one of his favorite American poets.
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Article updated July 15 with details from Bloomberg. Mike Dano contributed to this report.