Microsoft’s Open Design Strategy Has Its Roots in Auto

Microsoft’s Open Design Strategy Has Its Roots in Auto

Microsoft’s product design strategy borrows from the automobile industry

Microsoft is a different beast under CEO Satya Nadella. One of the most profound changes under Nadella has been the way in which the company builds products. In the past, small independent teams would create new Microsoft products in a vacuum – not dissimilar to experiments you may have read about where teams of scientists would seal themselves off from society only to reemerge some years later.

Microsoft’s new approach to product development is process-driven and leverages best practices, resulting in a product portfolio where products have shared design elements and common underpinnings – a concept adopted decades ago by automobile manufacturers.

Automobile OEMs realized years ago that cost efficiencies could be gained if chassis, engine components and other parts could be shared across multiple automobile models. At the “skin” level, shared design elements such as automobile grilles, headlamps and taillights enhanced brand recognition and elevated brand equity.


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