By Ayan Mukhopadhyay, Global MBA Student
The Microsoft Surface, encasing several path breaking features in tablet device architecture, was launched on 19th June. The launch was keenly followed by many eager GMBA students, and so the company visit to Microsoft came at the right moment, when many questions regarding the Surface were brewing. 10 students reached the Microsoft office the sunny evening of June 20th to get a better insight on Microsoft and ask whatever we had always wanted to know. The team was welcomed by Sandeep Shyamsunder who has been with Microsoft for the last 8 years.
The visit started with a tour of the Microsoft Technical Center, a place where you get to see all the newest stuff that Microsoft is working upon, both software and hardware. We got to see a futuristic version (beta) of Bing maps which can be controlled with gestures that are translated into actions (zoom in, zoom out etc) by hardware embedded on a surface.
Presentations about Microsoft were kicked off by Nicolaz Foucaud, an ESSEC alumnus, who showed us a brief history of what he has done till now and how his entrepreneurial spirit has landed him with a job with Microsoft. Nicolaz spoke primarily about Enterprise marketing and stressed how Microsoft works with its clients to optimize business for the digital economy of tomorrow in the realms of efficiency, cost reduction and innovation that differentiates.
Next speaker was Mathilde Furic who works as HR Manager supporting the Finance department. As expected, Mathilde’s presentation was more on the people aspect of business and she explained how Microsoft looks for persons with values that can make a difference, especially passion and integrity. She also clarified how Microsoft wants to leverage aspects of people management to gain a competitive advantage over its rivals by putting the right person at the right place and at the right time.
Lastly, there was a very small presentation and mostly Q&A session from Ines Kouraïchi (ESSEC alumnus) and Eric Bazin who are from the Finance department working as Controllers. The students came up with all sorts of questions mostly emanating and linked with the recent Microsoft Surface launch. One of the important points regarding Surface that came during the course of the discussion was the analogy drawn with the launch of the Nexus phone by Google. Microsoft Surface follows the same path (reference model) as it tries to show a new direction to the OEMs in terms of innovative use of hardware. As traditional PC makers like HP, Dell, Asus etc. tried their hands at making tablet devices unsuccessfully and went out of the segment, Microsoft stepped in to show what can be achieved. I am sure many of us will wait eagerly how the Surface molds the already crowded tablet market segment.
Our trek ended with a visit to the ideal smart home, a working model built inside the office building that houses almost all the latest Microsoft technologies. After spending some time playing with the Kinect and marveling at its ability to pick up gestures, it was time to return. I'm sure that in the coming days, many of us will be eagerly following the development in the tablet and OS segments that will be impacted with launch of Surface and Windows 8.[gallery columns="2"]