Microsoft's CEO Pokes Google, Says Their Success Is All About Marketing

Satya Nadella talked Google at Fortune's Brainstorm Tech Conference

Most eyes have been on the Worldwide Partner Conference 2014 in Washington, which kicked off yesterday, but Microsoft's CEO Satya Nadella hasn't actually attended the event.

Instead, he took part in Fortune's Brainstorm Tech Conference to talk about some of the efforts that Microsoft is making in some of its key areas, including research. He's expected to take the stage at WPC on Wednesday.

As re/code is writing today, when Nadella is asked by an attendee how come that Google's projects are getting so much attention in the media when Microsoft invests aggressively in the research unit, Nadella offers an answer that makes many in the room laugh.

“Look, it’s always good to learn from others who have done a better job of marketing themselves,” Nadella says in a very short answer before being interrupted by laughs.

Nadella goes on to explain that the company has invested in Research projects not necessarily to make the headlines or hit the market, but thanks to the fact that they can open new opportunities inside the company. The aforementioned source points to the company's in-memory database business as living proof, which according to Nadella is the leader of a $6 billion (€4.2 billion) business that keeps growing.

Yesterday also, Kevin Turner, Microsoft's chief operating officer, says during the company's WPC 2014 conference that his company is well-positioned to compete with Google in more areas, including affordable notebooks.

Turner explains that very affordable laptops which are likely to cost around $250 (180 euros) could hit the market this fall specifically to compete with Chromebooks, which have until now recorded a pretty impressive growth.

This isn't the first time Microsoft is feeling threatened by the growing popularity of Chromebooks, and the company's Scroogled campaign has also included an episode in which the famous Pawn Stars hosts were laughing of devices powered by Chrome OS.

Microsoft says that Chromebooks are not “real laptops” because they cannot run Office, but the number of alternatives out there for the world's number one productivity suite is increasing.

The whole anti-Chromebook campaign will be made with the help of partners across the world, including Acer and Toshiba, which have both prepared very affordable devices available for less than $249. Starting recently, Windows devices that retail for less than this price are benefiting from zero royalties for Windows licensing, according to sources close to the matter, as Microsoft wants to bring more affordable units to the market.

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