CEO Satya Nadella: Excel is a symbol of what Microsoft is all about

Kareem Anderson

Satya Nadella

While Microsoft may be many things to many people, some of which are critical where others are mere niceties, there is no denying that the company has its core focus and that focus has traditionally been associated with productivity in the form of Windows and Office.

As many businesses can attest to, the best form of marketing is presence. Sometimes, the success of a person, product or service isn’t measured in how many units it has sold, ROI (return on investment), or even how original or expensive its advertising budget is; but where it’s at and how it’s engaged with.

Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella believes that while the company may be associated with stand-out products such as the Xbox, Microsoft Office, and Windows, it’s Excel in particular that most people should recognize it for.

Yes, Excel.

Think about a world without Excel. That’s just impossible for me.

As Business Insider reports, when speaking at the Aspen Ideas Festival this week, Nadella went into a thoughtful discussion about the ubiquitous and paradigm shifting power of Excel.

People couldn’t make sense of numbers before, and now everybody can.”

While some may debate the personal preferences of Google Sheets, Apple’s Numbers or Excel, the discussion of Microsoft’s consumerism of spreadsheet workflows should remain unquestioned as the company has managed to create a multi-billion dollar business spanning decades-long on Excel’s very existence in Office.

Tell Me in Excel 2016.
Tell Me in Excel 2016.

However, more to Nadella’s observation, he is arguably attempting to formulate a new narrative once again around Microsoft. For the past two years, Nadella has been ringing the bell of productivity being the core focus of Microsoft, perhaps to dissuade advantageous investors while massaging public expectations around what it is the company should be good at.

After a string of botched consumer-facing endeavours, it seems not only reasonable but downright necessary for Nadella and Microsoft to re-establish its brand and highlighting the now ubiquitous nature of Excel, is a fine way to do so.