Safe with Satya Nadella? Tech Sector Takes a Second Look at Microsoft’s New CEOon February 4, 2014 at 1:55 pm
Satya Nadella has been appointed as the new CEO of Microsoft, ending speculation as to who and beginning the prophecies of how…
How will he manage a brand that seemed set for resurgence but has more recently stalled?
How will investors respond to an inside appointment, when fresh blood was the expectation of many observers?
And, most importantly, how will Nadella drive the extreme creativity and innovation that Microsoft surely needs, to compete in a technology sector in which Google, Apple, Facebook and many others seem to be pivoting every month?
Too Much Tried and Trusted?
An India-born, now U.S. national, Satya Nadella has been with Microsoft since 1992. Clearly he is steeped in the history of the company, both its dominance of the ’90s and falling market share in the past decade, which is a bone of contention for some. Having missed several opportunities in the evolving mobile technology space under former CEO Steve Ballmer, a tried and trusted veteran of the organization prompts concerns for a similar lack of vision.
That said, Nadella’s successes are not born of traditional Microsoft methods. His development of cloud and professional services is hailed as an important recent win for the company, more than doubling the Business Services function from a $1.5 billion portion of the operation to more than $5 billion during 5 years overseeing the section. The new CEO has a promising outlook on the future of his industry, understanding the complexities and having the later missteps of Ballmer’s tenure to learn from.
His first address from the top appears to back this up, emphasizing the growing importance of what sounds like the much-referenced ‘Internet of Things’ and the wide-ranging applications it brings:
The coevolution of software and new hardware form factors will intermediate and digitize — many of the things we do and experience in business, life and our world. This will be made possible by an ever-growing network of connected devices. ~Satya Nadella (to Microsoft employees)
Bringing Back Creativity
For years Microsoft has been a follower where once it led. The cash cow of its Windows operating system feeds the bottom line and professional applications rarely moved away from the known quantity it provided.
With the move to mobile and Apple’s first-mover advantage in both the tablet and smartphone market, then Google bringing its massive wallet to the same sector, Microsoft is not only following but is a distant third place in most product classes. The bright spots of Xbox and cloud applications have been overshadowed by unsatisfactory sales of Surface and . But those highlights are exactly where Nadella has come from, and where the organization will be hoping that he can lead the brand to the front of the pack once again.
Weaving timely innovation back into the fabric of what some now see as a lumbering dinosaur of the tech sector is a daunting challenge, but not one that Satya Nadella is incapable of accomplishing. Despite his roots in Microsoft’s early history, it is its future that he seems most focused on.