What does ‘mobile first, cloud first’ even mean?


Satya Nadella’s staff memo is good reading. Joshua Topolsky’s brief interview on  The Verge is also good. And opinion pieces like this also raise some good questions.

If (like me) you’ve been a little disillusioned with Microsoft over the past few years, then it’s heartening to read, since it gives confidence into how Microsoft is improving focus and internal processes.

But one thing that’s clear is that there’s no escaping the ‘mobile-first, cloud-first’ mantra. The line is reasonable of course, but the issue with hammering the phrase ‘mobile-first, cloud-first world’ is it becomes almost meaningless.

I’ve been chatting with a number of people lately (including Microsoft friends) and this phrase gets trotted out all the time – I’m pretty sure most people have no real understanding (or at least no consistent understanding) of what it means.

After all, what does it mean? It could mean anything. It’s like saying we live in an ‘app first’ or ‘touch first’ or ‘lifestyle first’ world – terms that aren’t necessarily wrong, but just meaningless after a while. And saying that two things are first is also an odd choice. I obviously don’t get it…

Next time you speak to someone who lobs that phrase into a conversation, ask them what it really means – you’ll likely get a woffle*-infused barrage of cliches (it’s the ‘evolution of devices and services that fuses productivity with digital experiences’ etc) and nothing of substance.


(Notes: *waffle is actually the correct spelling, but it just makes me hungry)

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By Craig Bailey