This is really interesting. Microsoft picked Satya Nadella, a total Microsoft insider, not to mention a younger ,fitter man (at least when compared to Ballmer) for its next CEO.
And in what feels like a huge setback for those on the Microsoft board who wanted to sideline Bill Gates, put him out to pasture and what not, Gates is getting stronger in the new regime, becoming “Founder and Technology Advisor” in line with other neat titles bestowed on Senior Microsofties (Microsoft has all these cool, almost ritualistic & academic titles for its thought leaders: Technical Fellow, Distinguished Engineer…it’s all very Knights of Columbus/Skull and Bones what have you).
Was he pushed or did he jump into the new role, asks Tech Crunch. Feels to me like he cracked some skulls and emerged victorious:
Microsoft notes that Gates “will devote more time to the company, supporting Nadella in shaping technology and product direction.” He will remain a part of the board of directors.
But enough about Gates.
I hadn’t really though much about Nadella until last fall, when he became a useful foil to me and my company as we negotiated an Enterprise Agreement with Microsoft. We weren’t quite ready to jump whole hog into the cloud -Azure or O365- but we were, you could say, cloud-curious. But we were also a bit upset at some quality problems in Microsoft’s enterprise stack in 2013 and how MS was pitching Azure to us.
So it was great that the very same week we were sitting down with MS, Nadella got a nice profile in the NY Times Bits blog, where he basically said Microsoft doesn’t make any money on its old crap (Windows, Office, Server), only on its new hotness, Azure. An Enterprise Agreement is all about buying the old crap:
“You can rightfully criticize us on mobile and tablets,” Mr. Nadella said.
“What does Windows Azure have to do with Windows Server?” he said, naming the older server product. “Nothing, besides the name ‘Windows.’ Azure is a new operating system, designed not just for our cloud, but for anybody to build a cloud with.”
“You look at our earnings,” he said. “You don’t see the old stuff growing. You see the new stuff growing.”
Yep. That guy is the CEO of Microsoft. The guy who thinks of Office, Server, hell probably even XBox, as the “old stuff,” and Azure as the new hotness. Nadella’s the guy who wants to empower corporations to lay waste to the IT staff and put Azure, essentially a technology utility provider, in our place.
And that’s okay by me. I like a Microsoft that’s focused on business and the enterprise, that realizes it can compete in that space far more effectively than in the consumer space with the likes of Apple and Google. We’ve all got to adapt to the environment, and by picking Nadella, I think Microsoft is saying that it will be focused on business first, consumer second. This is a win for those who want Microsoft to continue some of the cool things it’s doing in the enterprise and have watched in horror as Microsfot stumbles around like a blind man as it tries desperately to sling Surfaces to consumers.
Here’s hoping Nadella can right some of the wrongs Microsoft made in 2013 (like their disastrous QA track record). Maybe he can start by reading my piece on how Microsoft can win in 2014.
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