Microsoft’s Satya Nadella Seen as ‘Safe’ CEO Choice

Nadella would be the third CEO in Microsoft's history, after Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer

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Satya Nadella, executive vice president, Cloud and Enterprise, addresses employees during the One Microsoft Town Hall event July 11, 2013.

Satya Nadella, the senior Microsoft executive who is now reportedly the front-runner to take over as CEO from Steve Ballmer, isn’t as well-known as some of the other candidates who have been mentioned for the top job, but he’s a well-respected Microsoft veteran working at the forefront of the company’s next-generation computing platform. Nadella could be named Microsoft CEO as early as this week.

The appointment of Nadella, a 46-year-old native of Hyderabad, India, would make him the most powerful Indian-born tech executive in the world, according to Reuters. It would also end a five-month CEO search that has included such high-profile executives as Ford CEO Alan Mulally and former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, as well as other internal and external candidates.

Nadella runs Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise group, where he’s responsible for the tech giant’s ambitious “Cloud OS” effort to move software and storage from on-site computers to the Internet. Previously, Nadella was president of Microsoft’s $19 billion Server and Tools Business, where he’s credited with spearheading the company’s recent push toward cloud-computing. Over the last two decades Nadella has worked closely with Ballmer and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.

Nadella would the third CEO in Microsoft’s history, after Gates and Ballmer.

“It’s a safe choice,” Kevin Walkush, a business analyst at Jensen Investment Management told Bloomberg. “There’s a large faction that wants a disruptive tech visionary to take over Microsoft and that group will probably be disappointed. Another group of people think we need a person like Satya who knows the business because it’s so complex and needs someone who has the inside knowledge.”

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Microsoft has struggled to keep up with Apple and Google in the booming mobile computing market. Despite pouring billions of dollars into mobile software and gadgets like the ill-fated Surface tablet device, the company has not been able to find a formula to compete successfully with Cupertino and Mountain View. Last fall, Microsoft announced a $7.2 billion deal to buy Nokia’s mobile phone business, but it may be too little, too late.

The latest U.S. mobile device and software market numbers underscore the uphill battle Microsoft faces. Microsoft’s mobile software accounts for a just 3.6% of the market, compared to 81% for Google’s Android platform and 12.9% for Apple’s iOS, according to research firm IDC. And Nokia is nowhere to be found on IDC’s list of the top global smart phone manufacturers, which is dominated by Samsung and Apple.

Nadella joined Microsoft in 1992 from Sun Microsoystems, according to the company. He earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Mangalore University, a master’s degree in computer science from the University of Wisconsin — Milwaukee and an MBA from the University of Chicago.

In an interview last year with the Deccan Chronicle, an Indian English-language daily newspaper, Nadella called Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates “an amazing person” and recalled “the first email I got from him with some pointed feedback on a set of features in a product that I was building.” Nadella said he would go on to work closely with Gates on projects like the Bing search engine.

“It was exciting that the CEO was directly sending me mail on a feature that I never thought he would notice and then spending all of my weekend crafting my response to his email,” Nadella said. “When I started at Microsoft, I was lucky enough to be part of the rise of the client-server paradigm. Now to have a chance to be part of the Cloud wave, which is amazing in terms of the sheer ability to impact every walk of life.”

Asked by the Deccan Chronicle what suggestions he would like to give aspiring students, Nadella responded: “Be passionate and bold. Always keep learning. You stop doing useful things if you don’t learn. So the last part to me is the key, especially if you have had some initial success. It becomes even more critical that you have the learning ‘bit’ always switched on.”

13 comments
edmundcharles.55
edmundcharles.55

A 'safe choice' is not Microsoft or any competitive needs in this fast changing world, instead boldness, competency and vision should be the three main/key leadership characteristics.

itchuem
itchuem

Whoever will be a new Microsoft Corp after Ballmer leaning not only need to to have all the qualification that can lead Microsoft into the future as the leading technology in the world but also MUST maintain the CULTURE of a Microsoft as a American company. I do have a BIG concern about the working climate and hiring practice of all the  Corporation IT companies in US such as : IBM, Microsoft, Cisco, HP, Intel. Human resource department of these companies need be actively involve in the resume reviewing, background check and also the interviewing process. I also want to make a comment about the education in US that you need to stay focus on the job market demand and choose the programs that can help you to get a job after you graduated such as: SOFTWARE DEVELOPER (IT'S NOT THAT HARD --> Google it !!!), Electrical Engineering, Pharmacy, Doctor. We have too many Fine Art, Psychology, History, Social Study ..professional in this country already !!! Common YOU CAN DO IT.

mahadragon
mahadragon

Nadella is the best choice. If you've ever been to Microsoft campus 90% of the employees are Indian. Everyone there is an HB1 from Bangalore or Hyderabad. I went inside building 2 years ago and I was surprised there wasn't the smell of curry everywhere. Walk up and down NE 40th St and you'll see: little old Indian women walking along with her son, his wife and kid sometimes. The Grandfather will also be in tow. It's either that or the Indian Engineer with glasses, jeans and a backpack scurrying among the Connect buses moving to and fro.


After Nadella takes over as CEO he'll be able to conduct business meetings in Hindi. He could offer free Naan to all employees on Fridays to boost motivation. Microsoft definitely needs an asian at the helm. It would be a natural fit.

EdwardWPWW
EdwardWPWW

Everyone talks about this RACE problem and says that this RACE problem will be over when the third-world pours into EVERY White country and ONLY into WHITE countries.
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Everyone says the final solution to this RACE problem is for EVERY White country and ONLY White countries to “assimilate,” that is, intermarry, with all those non-Whites.
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They’re pushing wHiTe geNOcide!
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They claim they are “anti-racist”, what they are is anti-White
Anti-racist is a code for anti-White

hmbguy
hmbguy

The WSJ article about him states that Mr. Nadella's chief accomplishments for the past 15 years have been:

1. SQL Server (copied/stolen from Sybase)

2. Bing (copied from Google)

3. Azure (copied from Amazon)


Microsoft was successful in the 80s and 90s because they had excellent sales/marketing infrastructure and they were able to copy everyone else at leisure. Now the industry is moving so fast they can't copy stuff fast enough.


They're done.


sid.kay1
sid.kay1

Why is Time so obsessed with his Indian origins?!!!   He has been educated in the US, has lived and worked nearly all of his adult life in the US, that too in Microsoft alone and risen up the ranks in a highly competetive company.   For all practical purposes, he is more American than more than 99% of people born here.  And all Time could think of him is as Indian and safe!!!!

HomeyIL
HomeyIL

Culture changes with time and change is necessary with time. Good point though.

VitoLeur
VitoLeur

@It is time to move Microsoft headquarters to Hyderabad. 

HomeyIL
HomeyIL

Microsoft doesn't need an asian, indian or white. It just needs a good fit.

From your comments you sound like an anti-curry and you want the Microsoft campuses to smell of MSG or tainted food?

HomeyIL
HomeyIL

Your one dollar attitude is what is degrading this country. Unfortunately, the country gets judged by people like you.

edmundcharles.55
edmundcharles.55

@sid.kay1  


Yes well I am sorry to say that despite decades of saying that equality needs to be based solely on the qualifications of the individual, the American press then performs a hypocritical about-face and inordinately focuses on ethnicity, race, sex, etc.    When Margaret Thatcher was elected Prime Minister there was a short period of media attention on her being the first female Prime Minister, however, this quickly abated and she was judged on her PERFORMANCE; in America for the past 8+ years we are so focused on Hillary Clinton's being the first female President that the press fails to dive deeper into her future policies.  I think Americans are so overly overly focused on the veneer of a celebrity that they lose sight of the deeper character issues that an individual possesses and character is probably the most important and immutable factor that defines any human being.  

scottyisgaga
scottyisgaga

@sid.kay1  Shantanu Narayen has destroyed the one company that I loved. ADOBE. He has totally ruined Photoshop and forced the creative cloud.