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Microsoft's productivity drive could kill software as we know it

Mark Hachman | July 14, 2014
On Thursday, Satya Nadella charted a new course for Microsoft, focused on interconnectivity and productivity--one where, conceivably, the company's standard-setting Office applications and other products and services could slowly blur into different modes of working with the same data.

Put another way, Excel may run on an iPad. But Excel will run best on a Windows PC or Surface tablet — not because of any hardware limitations, but because Microsoft reserves its digital intelligence for users who choose Microsoft platforms. In a way, a Windows PC or tablet authenticates the user to allow him or her access within Microsoft's ecosystem.

From a business sense, that's the direction that Microsoft is heading. Instead of buying a Microsoft Office DVD, Office 365 asks you to treat Microsoft Office as a subscription, with additional capabilities and features added over time. You're simply buying a bundle of services.

Five years or a decade from now, Nadella suggests, we may still open Word, or Excel, or Internet Explorer. But we may increasingly look at those apps as remnants of a bygone age, much the same way we look at WhatsApp or Facebook compared to AOL chat rooms.


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