Wednesday, February 5, 2014

10 Things to Know About Microsoft’s New CEO Satya Nadella.

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So it’s official: more than five months after Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced his plan to retire, he has a successor. Satya Nadella, the company’s executive VP of cloud and enterprise, was on lists of potential Ballmer replacements all along, and as higher-profile potential like Ford’s Alan Mulally fell off the roster, he went from apparent dark horse to leading aspirant to the guy.
Here are some information to think about over as he gets ready to take on what may be the single most challenging performance in the tech business.
1. He was born in Hyderabad, India. And then moved to U.S.A. after completing his graduation from Manipal University. That an immigrant will run this most American of companies is an inspirational story in itself.
2. He’s a long-time Microsoft insider. Nadella joined the company in 1992 from onetime Silicon Valley icon Sun Microsystems; he’s working in Microsoft for well over half the company’s life.
3. He’s an engineer. Dissimilar to Steve Ballmer, who was an assistant product manager at Procter & Gamble before joining Microsoft in 1980, Nadella started out as a technologist. He hold a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Manipal University and a master’s in computer science from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.
4. But also a commerce category. In addition to his technology- oriented degrees, he has a master’s in business administration from the University of Chicago.
5. He’s been promoted again and again. Between his other high-level positions before he was appointed executive vice president for the cloud and enterprise group last year: president of the server and tools business, senior VP of R&D for the online-services division, VP of the business division, senior VP of search, portal and advertising-platform group, VP of development for the business-solutions group, and general manager of consumer and commerce.

6. He’s at present liable for a huge, largely invisible part of Microsoft’s business. Among the stuff Nadella heads up: Windows Azure, Windows Server, SQL Server, System Center and the software-development tools that are Microsoft’s original business, dating all the way back to 1975. Customers have no reason to pay attention to these areas, but they’re booming — a big reason why Microsoft just posted robust quarterly results despite the PC industry’s struggles and Windows Phone’s failure, so far, to make much of a dent in Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS.
7. He’s played a key position in Microsoft’s evolution to the cloud. The company’s very name references the age of software for microcomputers. But Nadella is leading its efforts to be just as good at Web-based services as it ever was at PC software — a conflict at least as important to the company’s future as anything involving phones or tablets.
8. He does have some consumer background. although Nadella’s career has slanted toward the business side of Microsoft, he’s also worked on some contributions used by folks in their personal lives, like the Bing search engine.
9. It’s not your mind's eye — he does have a low profile. Nadella is not exactly a solitary person — Quartz’s Leo Mirani interviewed him about Microsoft’s future in December, when Nadella was already known to be a leading CEO candidate — but his focus on unglamorous -but- vital products for business use means he shows up at public events less often than equals like Joe Belfiore of the Windows Phone team. (I assume that will now change.) He in addition seems to have lost curiosity in Twitter.
10. We don’t know anything about his master plan. The piece of evidence that he’s a Microsoft long timer might point to he’s less likely to right away attempt to impose gigantic change on the company than an outsider would have been. Or maybe not. And his background in business tools may or may not say something about the company’s interest moving forward in consumer offerings like its Xbox gaming-and-entertainment platform. Stay tuned for more thoughts once Nadella starts to sketch his vision for public utilization — and don’t be too amazed if that doesn’t happen right away.

Also Read:  
Satya Nadella: We are hungry to do more.

Watch Satya Nadella: His first interview as CEO of Microsoft


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