Wednesday, February 5, 2014

What can we expect from Nadella as Microsoft’s CEO?

The search for a new Chief Executive Officer began in August, 2013 after former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer revealed that he will be leaving his post within the next 12 months when Microsoft would have appointed a new Chief Executive.

Steve Ballmer had to go because investors were losing confidence in his leadership and ability to sail Microsoft’s ship in the post PC era. Microsoft had not been able to exploit the booming mobile devices industry to its advantage as Windows Phone failed to challenge Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS.
Microsoft's new CEO, Satya Nadella
Microsoft's new CEO, Satya Nadella. Image: Microsoft
This led to speculations of the likely candidate to be picked to be the third Chief Executive of the software giant. To be honest, Nadella didn’t even come up when people started mentioning probable candidates. Even he wasn’t mentioned when internal candidates were being predicted.
But now, we have a new CEO at Microsoft, Satya Nadella, and he will be hoping to change Microsoft’s fortunes for better as Microsoft begins exploiting opportunities other than the PC. There are many reports which have been optimistic about Satya Nadella.
Ramblings and rumours online have indicated that Nadella would be the best internal choice for Microsoft, even before it was officially announced.
Many have credited Nadella with all round features which are rarely found in a single individual/manager. This has given many reasons to believe that he is the right candidate for the job.
Nadella knows the business way. Obviously, this cannot be argued against as he had increased revenues in Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise group he managed since 2011. Revenues increased from $16.1 billion in 2011 to $20.3 billion in 2012 and there has continued to be increase in that part of the company.
Nadella is also a technology man. Earlier in the recruitment process, it was made clear that a candidate already in the technology industry will be preferred to a candidate who is naïve about the industry. Nadella has been involved in many including Microsoft’s search engine, Bing and Windows Azure cloud service.
Nadella is a people’s man. Despite Nadella’s off-radar profile (which is about to change obviously), many have lauded his lauded his ability to connect with people as probably the best in the Redmond – Washington company.
These three features have given some people and investors inclusive hope about the new move by Microsoft.
There have also been pessimistic views like the fact that he’s relatively unknown, he has never managed a company before talk less of one as big as Microsoft. There are also concerns that Microsoft may not deviate too much from the direction it’s currently following because Nadella has been used to the Microsoft culture.
The fact that Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer are still part of the Board of Directors have fueled concerns that he may not be given a free hand to experiment on ventures he deem fit as there will be too many interference. Many believe Bill Gates may still determine most of the products coming from Microsoft as he will now be more involved as the technology advisor.
However, it is expected that Nadella will have to calm the fears that have been brewing around Microsoft in the past few year about its survivability in the post PC era. He must show a clear sense of direction in the next few years.
There have been suggestions that Microsoft could look to cloud services as one of the important services to take the company forward. Nadella already has experience in this aspect and it won’t be much of a problem exploiting opportunities in that area despite the fierce competition.
Nadella will also be expected to corporate with Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer, and the company’s vice presidents to achieve the company’s aim and objectives. He will also have to lead the employees in a very convincing way and attract big talents to the software giant.
He will have to innovate and make Nokia a business to be reckoned with in the smartphone industry once again. Personally, I think this will be the toughest nut to crack as the Microsoft boss as the shift from PCs to mobile continues.
Nadella will also be expected to deal external forces, with Wall Street analysts who will start raising unreachable targets for him and therefore mounting pressure on him.
Media can also mount pressure and he will have to be very careful with the media. He doesn’t have much experience in this area and saying the right things at the right time will be a very big boost for the company.

The jury is still out on Nadella and time will tell what direction Microsoft will be going in few years to come. Like they say, to whom much is given, much is expected. 


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