Microsoft Focuses on Mobile at Developer Conference

Image: Satya Nadella Named CEO of Microsoft
Microsoft CEO Satya NadellaMicrosoft via Getty Images

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Microsoft's Satya Nadella is only the third CEO in the company's history, and he'll make clear this week how he plans to haul Microsoft into the mobile-focused present day.

Nadella will detail his plans at Microsoft's annual Build conference, which is aimed at developer attendees but also includes several consumer product announcements. Build runs from this Wednesday through Friday in San Francisco.

It's Nadella's first large-scale event since he took the CEO role on February 4, and he is expected to give a "state of Microsoft" keynote speech on Wednesday to kick off the conference.

Microsoft CEO Satya NadellaMicrosoft via Getty Images

Since day one as CEO, Nadella has been both quick and clear to establish his plans for a new Microsoft -- one that embraces current technology and can tie users, developers and IT managers together.

"Our job is to ensure that Microsoft thrives in a mobile and cloud-first world," Nadella wrote in a memo on the day of his CEO appointment. To that point, Nadella has launched new mobile products including Office for iPad and a Mac version of Microsoft's cloud-based note-taking app OneNote.

That "cloud-first, mobile-first" strategy may not sound revolutionary for modern tech companies. But products like Office for iPad represent a major shift for Microsoft.

Under Nadella predecessor Steve Ballmer, Microsoft had been resistant to putting its product on competitors' mobile platforms -- and slow to adjust as devices like smartphones and tablets overtook the PC. For example, Microsoft didn't launch Office Mobile for the iPhone until June 2013.

By contrast, Nadella has used his public commentary to make clear he will flip Microsoft's point of view for mobile.

“We’re not bound ... to one device, one place and one time,” Nadella said during last Thursday's Office for iPad event.

In addition to details on Nadella's vision for Microsoft, the company is also expected to unveil a Windows 8 update -- and perhaps a preview of Windows 9 -- and a new version of Windows Phone. Other Build rumors include two new Nokia phones and a Siri voice-assistant rival called "Cortana."

Nadella called Windows "a massive agenda for us" during the Office for iPad event.

“Today is just one aspect of our strategy," he added.