Microsoft is said to have laid off its team focused on winning over mainstream consumers. In 2018, the major brand initially detailed its efforts to win over the non-business customers it abandoned, forming a Modern Life Experiences team to focus on professional consumers (prosumers). Business Insider is now reporting that Microsoft is laying off that team and offering the roughly 200 affected employees the option of finding another position with the company or accepting severance pay.
The English term prosumer is a portmanteau double word which is used either to designate a consumer-producer (Producer + Consum up) or a professional consumer (Professional + Consumer). The use of the term prosumer has somewhat fallen into disuse, but we can consider that we partially find this notion through that of expert consumer or client. It should be noted that the notion of prosumer (professional consumer) does not normally refer specifically to the buyer or the customer in B2B environments. The term used in France is prosumer.
In 2015, Microsoft acquired Mobile Data Labs, creator of the popular MileIQ app. The Mobile Data Labs team continued to develop and deliver mobile productivity solutions, including versions 1.0 of the Family Safety apps for iOS and Android. In 2017, this team was called Modern Life Experiences (MLX) and was involved in the research and development of customer-focused projects, including Money in Excel. In 2021, MileIQ spun off as MileIQ LLC and Microsoft removed MileIQ benefits from its subscription offerings.
The company briefly told the story in a blog post published in April 2021:
According to a Business Insider report, Microsoft is apparently laying off members of the Modern Life Experiences team. The report indicates that approximately 200 employees will be affected by this decision. However, they have the option of looking for other vacancies within the company or taking severance pay within 60 days.
This should come as no surprise to anyone following Microsoft, as most products coming from the MLX team have not been well received by customers. As already mentioned earlier in the article, MileIQ is no longer part of Microsoft. Microsoft recently announced that Money in Excel will no longer be supported starting June 30, 2023. Once support ends on June 30, 2023, you will no longer be able to connect a new financial account or reconnect an existing financial account.
Family Safety is the only active product being developed by the MLX team. We do not know whether or not these layoffs will affect the development of the Family Safety product.
Additionally, while Microsoft hasn’t provided an official comment on the end of its Modern Life initiative, Erynn Hesler, a senior designer at Microsoft revealed that there is some tough news for the Modern Life Experiences team this week. in an article published on LinkedIn. all my colleagues who had to deal with difficult news today, please let me know if there is anything i can do. The culture we created within a giant company within our small Modern Life Experiences team was so special. I think all of you today, explained Erynn. .
The news comes weeks after Microsoft cut less than 1% of its 180,000 employees, with job cuts in consulting and customer and partner solutions. Microsoft has also reduced vacancies as it slows hiring amid a weak economy.
Microsoft’s consumer efforts now focus on Windows, Microsoft 365, Microsoft Teams for consumers, Surface and of course Xbox. Microsoft originally formed the Modern Life Experiences team in 2018 after a difficult period for its consumer services. Microsoft killed its Groove Music service in 2017, officially discontinued Kinect the same year, and finally admitted Windows Phone was dead. The Microsoft Band fitness device also disappeared in 2016, and efforts with Cortana fell far behind rivals to the point that Microsoft changed things to focus on business users instead. Microsoft has even pivoted its HoloLens hardware to commercial customers, and there are new signs that HoloLens might be in trouble.
However, Microsoft has had success with its Microsoft 365 subscriptions for consumers. Microsoft 365 consumer subscriptions grew 15% in the last quarter to 59.7 million. Office consumption was also up 9% year-over-year, amid increased hybrid and remote working.
All eyes will now be on the results of Microsoft’s hiring of former Uber product manager Manik Gupta last year. Gupta is responsible for the Microsoft Teams consumer, Skype and GroupMe, and he is focused on building customer experiences across Microsoft.
Microsoft had been trying to acquire popular communities over the past two years, including TikTok, Pinterest, and Discord, to improve its efforts with non-business users. Outside of Xbox, Microsoft doesn’t have a community or social service widely used by consumers, and TikTok, Pinterest, or Discord could have filled that gap. Rivals like Google, Amazon, Facebook have all acquired big consumer apps like YouTube, Twitch and Instagram, and Microsoft is still trying to match its consumer offerings.
Sources: Business Insider, Microsoft (1, 2) Erynn Hesler
Have you ever heard of the Modern Life Experiences team?
What do you think of the target assigned to him?
Would Microsoft benefit from having a community or social service widely used by the general public, like its rivals who have acquired consumer applications? To what extent?
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Microsoft reportedly laying off employees as part of structural adjustment, new hires expected
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