How do you make an iPhone Pro? Put Microsoft's apps on it, says Nadella

Technically Incorrect: Put in the position of making a demo at DreamForce using an iPhone, Microsoft's CEO decides wit is the only answer. However, in another part of the demo, Cortana refuses to follow orders.

Chris Matyszczyk
2 min read

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.

Satya Nadella's Dreamforce demo. Smooth, with a small rough patch. ExpovistaTV/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

I tend to believe that those who run Hell had their Ice Age a long time ago. Just as Hell froze over, they moved to a small patch of Manhattan.

Some might have thought, though, that watching Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella begin a demonstration of e-mail app Outlook at DreamForce by picking up an iPhone might have been as stunning as a chilled-out Hell.

Still, that was the task that befell him. He began, as Business Insider reports, by explaining that no, no the iPhone wasn't his.

He would say that. He needed something more, though. So he offered: "It's a pretty unique iPhone. In fact, I'd like to call it the iPhone Pro."

Wait, insiders have an iPhone Pro? Does it have a 10-inch screen and a stylus? (I mean, a pencil of course.)

No. Instead, it's an iPhone Pro "because it's got all of the Microsoft software and applications on it," he explained. And so he elegantly got beyond the potential discomfort before adding after awhile, "Let's move on to my Windows Phone, which I use more often."

Clearly, this was smooth. What was less smooth was his attempt to show how much of a pro Cortana is. At around the 10-minute mark of the video above, he was showing Windows 10 and asked the voice assistant to reveal "my most at-risk opportunities."

She answered with search results for: "Show me to buy milk at this opportunity."

At this opportunity, many presenters would have happily stepped off the stage to go buy something stronger than milk.

Nadella made a second effort to be understood. Then a third. It didn't work. And so he encountered an issue that so many presenters have had to deal with in the past, from the person whose PowerPoint won't work to the one who just can't get the projector synced up.

In an era in which some believe that technology can solve everything, it can malfunction with all the regularity of the human mind.

Believe in it all you will. Trusting it, though, is something else. Nadella didn't quite lose his composure. Someone behind the scenes managed to display the correct results onto the screen.

"Thank you for the save from backstage," he said.

Sometimes, you need a human to set technology right.