Could the move signal Microsoft’s transition deeper into enterprise tech?
Reports suggest that Microsoft is laying off its Modern Life Experiences team, a move that will impact approximately 200 employees.
Microsoft only launched the division in 2018, promising to embark upon a “journey to win back consumers with our vision.”
At the time, it had waved goodbye to Windows Phone, Groove Music, and Kinect within the past couple of years. As a result, its vision for consumer services hit a significant stumbling block.
Modern Life Experiences seemed to be a spark that would reinvigorate its vision for consumer services and win back customers it has let down. Yet, four years later, new additions to this portfolio are amiss – despite reported efforts to acquire TikTok and Pinterest.
Moreover, Microsoft seems to have lost ground in delivering a community or social media platform that offered a broader appeal. Meanwhile, Google acquired YouTube and Facebook snapped up Instagram.
Of course, it has the Xbox, and Microsoft 365 subscriptions are soaring, yet the need to align its consumer services is palpable, perhaps leaving its Modern Life Experiences team with an uphill task.
Yet, laying them off altogether signals that Microsoft may – for the immediate future – prioritize the enterprise technology space.
Indeed, Bloomberg reported in July that it planned a “structural adjustment.” Meanwhile, recent earnings calls have confirmed it’s c-suite’s to lead the CX technology realm.
Speaking last month, Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, outlined this intent by stating:
We are helping organizations digitize their customer experience, service, finance, and supply chain functions as we continue to outgrow the market in every category.
While “outgrowing” the market is a little premature in the case of the CX and customer service space, the building blocks are there to take the market by storm.
Consider the recent launch of its Microsoft Digital Contact Center. While it currently misses many fundamental CCaaS capabilities – including workforce management and quality assurance software – it includes lauded conversational AI, authentication, and RPA features.
In this way, the platform’s release mirrored that of Microsoft Teams in 2017.
Making this comparison in a recent CX Today interview, Dave Michaels, Lead Analyst at TalkingPointz.com, added: “Microsoft is going to try to build this from scratch… They did that with Teams, but Teams has taken years.”
Michaels goes on to suggest that Teams was a solution that appeared half-baked at its launch but now leads the market.
Whether this approach will work as well in the CCaaS space remains to be seen, especially as the contact center is an integral element in the foundations of many operations. As such, anaemic solutions may not cut the mustard.
However, with Microsoft promising to “aggressively” innovate in the arena, its restructure may support the objective to shake up the CX realm.