Fourteen long years after Bill Gates handed over the baton to Steve Ballmer, a new man has been chosen as Steve’s replacement. 48 year-old Satya Nadella, born in India, a 22 year-long veteran at Microsoft and a leader known less for his charisma and more for his sound technical skills, is the man of the moment at the no.2 most valuable technology company in the world (valued at $315 billion, as on February 24, 2014).
Unlike Ballmer who was focussed on getting the cash register ringing for Microsoft from the very day he assumed the title of CEO, Nadella has his eyes set on pumping innovation back into Microsoft. And that is much required. Microsoft hasn’t made great headway in the cloud computing market, has been a distant also-ran in the mobile computing world (think Nokia!) and even its much new Windows 8 OS, hasn’t been very effective in changing the doubtful fortune of the Redmond giant.
Both the investor and consumer communities are hopeful that Nadella will be able to bring about the much-needed cultural shift at the company. His first commitment as a CEO on Twitter (which was not “to wait 4 years between tweets”) and his habit to buy more books and register for more online courses than he can complete, talk much about the impatience that must be growing within him to make Microsoft the talk of the technology world all over again!
The timing of Nadella’s announcement is crucial as it places him in charge ahead of the closure of Microsoft’s Nokia deal and the company’s ongoing team and management reorganisation (where like at Apple, all divisions will fall under one banner and represent one business – Microsoft).
To succeed, Nadella has to make sure that besides working on the company’s cloud and server units, the much lost consumer focus is born again at Microsoft. We’re talking about infusing innovation into Bing, OneDrive, Xbox, and Skype here. And into the Windows profile too!