Microsoft marketing chief: We'll prioritize Windows on small devices

Tami Reller (center) sits with other members of Microsoft's leadership team, including General Council Brad Smith, COO Kevin Turner (left), CFO Amy Hood, and new CEO Satya Nadella (right) Credit: Source: Microsoft

Microsoft's marketing chief said that the company is working hard to make sure that Windows can be used on new kinds of smaller devices.

"We will make a material movement forward on the footprint of the OS and what that can mean for how we run on smaller devices," said Tami Reller, executive vice president of marketing for Microsoft, speaking at the Goldman Sachs Technology Internet Conference on Thursday.

Rumors have suggested that upcoming updates to Windows 8 might include changes that allow the OS to run on smaller devices, like tablets. Prior to her current role, Reller was the CFO of the Windows division at Microsoft. 

She didn't specify what kinds of devices Microsoft may be targeting and didn't directly respond to a question about whether the company would pioneer new categories. "Our goal is to make sure across devices that customers care about, whether they are consumers or customers going from work to play who want devices that go between or whether they are enterprise grade offerings, we want a family of devices. Where there are interesting device categories, we want to play," she said.

"A high priority of our Windows development effort is to make sure Windows is, let me describe it as right-sized for those devices," she said, in a response to a question about implications for Windows as form factors shrink.

She mentioned the two-in-one category that Microsoft has been promoting since the introduction of Windows 8 but said the company is interested in other kinds of devices too. "We love the small form factors too and will make sure Windows is in those categories too," she said.

Reller also said that 200 million Windows 8 licenses have been sold. Microsoft hasn't offered a figure about licenses sold since early last year, ZDnet's Mary Jo Foley reports.

She also touched on the subject of delivering native Office products to non-Windows devices. While Microsoft does offer Office for Android and iPhone, the apps are relatively stripped down, compared to third party Office products. While Steve Ballmer has suggested that Office is coming for iPad and Android tablets, Reller said that the company continues to look at Office as a way to differentiate Windows. "With Windows, we're spending a lot of time thinking about how we continue to differentiate the full windows experience, particularly as we think of our partners and how they pick Windows over Android," she said. She said that Office and other Microsoft products help the company differentiate Windows.

Reller also said to expect to see even more of a unified marketing message coming from Microsoft. That's a result of the reorganization that Ballmer kicked off last year which centralized Microsoft's marketing efforts. Now that the marketing budget is centralized, the company is better able to make marketing decisions based on data and execute on them quickly, she said. In the past, that was harder because the budget was divided up into different groups and couldn’t be moved around easily, she said.

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