Satya Nadella: Inching closer

Friday, January 31, 2014 Rahul Das 4 Comments

The search for Microsoft’s next CEO might just be over.

The process which started with over a hundred eminent executives had begun after Steve Ballmer announced his resignation from the post last August. According to a Bloomberg report regarding a leak from Microsoft’s private meeting held a few hours ago, the 5 month race dogged with obstacles is about to come to an end with the firm having zeroed in on Hyderabad – born executive Satya Nadella to head it.

Satya Nadella
Image Courtesy:

About Satya

Born in Hyderabad, India, Nadella, 47, received his BE degree from the Manipal University before earning his MS from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and MBA from the University of Chicago. He joined Microsoft in 1992 following his stint with Sun Microsystems. He is currently the Executive Vice President of Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise Group.

Nadella has been credited for bringing Microsoft’s database, Windows server and developer tools to its Azure cloud, whose revenues have shot up by a whopping 22% since he took over it. Although Bing is still far from being considered an alternative to the popular Google Search, he did play a vital role in helping it grow. He has also helped  in bringing a cloud version of Microsoft Office called Office 365, which is again one of Microsoft’s fastest growing products.

Should he be appointed, Nadella will become be the 3rd CEO of Microsoft after Bill Gates and Ballmer.

What next for Bill Gates

After founding the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and stepping down as CEO in 2000, Microsoft co-founder, Bill Gates began to devote increasing amounts of his time towards philanthropy and gradually reduced his day to day activities at Microsoft. This time around, Gates is expected to vacate the post of Chairman and work with Microsoft as a part time member of its Board. Its lead independent director John Thompson is likely to be his replacement.

What this means at Wall Street

Ballmer’s unpopularity amongst investors was one of the main reasons for his exit and Microsoft’s unimpressive growth in the last few fiscal quarters. In what might’ve been a big dent to his confidence, Microsoft’s shares actually soared by 8% on the day that followed his resignation!

Stock investors who expected to see a radical transformation at Microsoft were rooting for an external candidate to run the firm in order to infuse in it a fresh strategic approach. The fact that Nadella’s credentials seem similar to those of Ballmer’s might just dampen their spirits a bit. That being said, Nadella’s prior role in Microsoft, his broad knowledge around its massive product portfolio, the possibility of an external Chairman being chosen to replace Gates and the fact that Microsoft’s workers just “seem to love him” have given these investors a lot of hope. Microsoft’s shares have risen by 1% to $37.20 after Bloomberg’s announcement.

Microsoft’s future

Despite its healthy enterprise business, the increasing popularity of tablets and smartphones has affected the demand for Microsoft’s Windows Operating System (OS) by eating into the sales of conventional desktop computers. The debate on whether to sell off its unprofitable Xbox franchise and the lackluster sales of its Windows Phone OS and Surface tablets have added to the woes of the ailing software giant. Nadella’s accession comes at a crucial juncture as the world’s largest software firm strives to consolidate lost ground and move away from being solely a software maker to focus on hardware and internet based services.

In addition to this, if Gates does indeed retire, the firm would be without 2 of its most recognizable figures for the first time in its phenomenal 39 year history. It isn't going to be smooth sailing for Nadella after all.

Nadella’s appointment will make him the world’s most powerful India - born tech executive and put him alongside Indira Nooyi (CEO, PepsiCo Inc) and Ajay Banga (CEO, MasterCard) as the leader of a prominent large-cap US company.

What it means to us here in India is another reason to cheer as another eminent person of Indian origin joins the elite list of personalities who have helmed top global corporations.

SoSpeakUpNow! and show your pride!


  1. you were right, rahul! he just became CEO! very accurate! great blog!!!

  2. This raises the issue: did he move to the US to succeed? Would he have blossomed in India?

    1. A very interesting question! Which leads us to another debate. Is the Indian system conducive to the growth of visionaries like Mr Nadella?

      I read an article a few days ago where the author was of the view that Nadella was able to make it so big only because he emigrated from India. Now I personally do not agree with that but what do you think about this? Are you of the same view too?

    2. Here's the article. Read it and share what you feel about it.