The Man And His Mission@Microsoft - Satya Nadella Demystified

by Sohini Bagchi    Feb 04, 2014

Satya Nadella

The Microsoft CEO-hunt is finally over after months of rumors and anticipation. And as expected by many in the industry, Microsoft’s new CEO is Satya Nadella, the company confirms on Tuesday. India-born Nadella, who doesn’t need much introduction in the tech world had previously headed the company’s Cloud and Enterprise group.

To know more about India-born Satya Nadella, click here.

Former CEO Steve Ballmer believes that Nadella who has been with Microsoft for over two decades, and has led one of its most important divisions is a proven leader. “He’s got strong technical skills and great business insights. He has a remarkable ability to see what’s going on in the market, to sense opportunity, and to really understand how we come together at Microsoft to execute against those opportunities in a collaborative way,” Ballmer writes in an email to employees.

Challenge beyond Cloud

As Nadella becomes the third CEO in Microsoft’s history, industry watchers are keen to know what Nadella can bring to table. According to some, Nadella being a Cloud computing expert and Cloud is an area Microsoft has gained popularity with enterprise customers for its Azure platform remains a positive point. But the challenge lies beyond the cloud as mobile remains an area of concern.

Microsoft has faced a gradually decline in its PC-centric Windows and Office business and needs to challenge Apple and Google in the new realm of mobile computing, believe experts, something which is a huge challenge for the new CEO. As per data, today, 90% PCs run Windows, but less than 5% of smartphones and tablets run on the same. Therefore, how Nadella will help in the mobile revival is something that needs to be watched out.

“I would advise him (Nadella) to take a fresh look at mobile, or bring in some talent who really understands the space,” said David Smith, an analyst at tech research firm Gartner in his blog.

Going forward

Despite various industry speculations, the appointment is a significant achievement for Nadella being the first Indian to head Microsoft Corporation CEO in its 38-year history. Nadella, who calls his rise to the top as “humbling” wrote in an email to employees: “The opportunity ahead for Microsoft is vast, but to seize it, we must focus clearly, move faster and continue to transform. A big part of my job is to accelerate our ability to bring innovative products to our customers more quickly.” He concluded by saying: “ This is a critical time for the industry and for Microsoft. Make no mistake, we are headed for greater places — as technology evolves and we evolve with and ahead of it. Our job is to ensure that Microsoft thrives in a mobile and cloud-first world.”

To read Satya Nadella’s full email to employees on first day as CEO. Click here

According to IT analyst Matt Smith, a deeper understanding of the product side would also be a boon, as Microsoft has repeatedly misjudged the consumer market in recent years. Nadella, like Gates, has a solid understanding of technology and what is required to develop and deploy new software and services, says analysts, something it lacked under Ballmer’s command. However in the process he should be careful about the business aspects that the company will have to thrive on.

Smith believes, Microsoft needs a CEO who will guide divisions in the right direction instead of beating them into submission, and Nadella seems to be the right pick for that job. His calm demeanor, expertise and history with the company give him the qualities required to inspire change. Going forward, what kind of change Nadella brings to table is something we need to wait and watch!