On Sunday, Microsoft technical collaborator Alex Kipman, often referred to as the HoloLens' father, watched Microsoft's customers on the stage bring their own customers onto the scene and hold demonstrations at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. For example, Mattel's chief technology officer, Sven Gerjets, donned a HoloLens explaining how designers, marketers and other employees could virtually collaborate on developing toys with the device.
Microsoft also presented on Sunday a new camera with an artificial intelligence capability. The Azure Kinect builds on some of the core technology introduced with the Kinect gaming sensor, released several years ago, but on Sunday, nothing indicated how the new device could to be useful for games.
The cloud was another strong point for Microsoft at Nadella, starting with its "mobile first, first world in the cloud" mantra from 2014, and Microsoft introduced several services that can be used instead Offers from the industry's leading cloud provider, Amazon Web Services. Microsoft took advantage of Sunday's event to discuss for the first time two new services intended to provide augmented reality, an area in which Amazon introduced a cloud service in 2017.
One of the new services, Azure Spatial Anchors, has allowed Microsoft to show its increasingly open strategy in operating systems. Kipman wore a HoloLens to visualize a hologram on the stage, while a person from another company was able to view the same hologram on an iPad. Azure spatial anchors can simultaneously transmit this content to multiple people, even when they do not use HoloLens devices. It works with the ARKit of Apple and ARCore of Google.
This evolution was relegated to the other under Nadella under Microsoft: bring Office applications to Android and iOS, add Linux directly to Windows and create its own management software, such as SQL Server, under Linux.
"As members of the mixed-reality community, we want the future to be open," Kipman said Sunday.
The choice to showcase business applications comes after Microsoft moved away from some areas where it had previously sought to compete in mainstream technologies. Under Nadella, Microsoft stopped trying to make Windows a viable mobile operating system and began developing more applications for Android and iOS for Apple. Microsoft also discontinued its Groove streaming music service and began directing users to Spotify.
WATCH: Microsoft unveils HoloLens 2 at Mobile World Congress