Despite the rumors involving Pichai, Microsoft picks Satya Nadella as new CEO

by: Andrew GrushFebruary 4, 2014


Image credit: Heisenberg Media

Late last week a report surfaced suggesting that Google’s own Sundar Pichai was being courted by Microsoft and that negotiations for the job were in “full swing”. As you probably already heard early today, it turns out that Microsoft has instead named Satya Nadella as the next CEO of Microsoft.

More than ever, Microsoft needs a man who can move past tradition and take the bull by horns.

Nadella is a Microsoft veteran, starting with Microsoft way back in 1992, where he most recently served as executive vice president of Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise group. In many ways, Nadella as CEO makes perfect sense for Microsoft — at least on the surface.

The veteran knows Microsoft’s direction and culture well, an advantage he holds over previously suggested outside candidates including Pichai. On the other hand, that’s part of the problem. Nadella is part of the ‘old Microsoft’, a company that built its empire in the 90s and, according to its biggest critics, has been spiraling downward ever since.

More than ever, Microsoft needs a man who can move past tradition and take the bull by horns. This means creating a better strategy for mobile and finding ways to get past consumer perception issues that still exist with Windows 8 and 8.1.

To Nadella’s credit, he has already mentioned several times that Microsoft’s future lies in better understanding the mobile and cloud markets. In fact, Nadella’s first letter to Microsoft’s employees reflected this same stance:

While we have seen great success, we are hungry to do more. Our industry does not respect tradition — it only respects innovation. This is a critical time for the industry and for Microsoft. Make no mistake, we are headed for greater places — as technology evolves and we evolve with and ahead of it. Our job is to ensure that Microsoft thrives in a mobile and cloud-first world.

As a fan of Google’s operations, I would have been very curious what someone like Pichai could have done for Microsoft. Nadella points out that Microsoft needs to thrive in a “mobile and cloud-first world”, something Pichai has a great deal of experience with, considering his role with both Android and Chrome. Of course, if Microsoft really was courting Pichai (which we aren’t so sure..), we believe he made the right move by turning down the offer and are glad to see he is sticking with Google.

In the meantime, it will be interesting to see what Nadella will bring to the table, and if he has what it takes to shake-up Microsoft. Aside from the shift to a new CEO, Microsoft is also making several board changes and has appointed John Thompson as the company’s new Chairman.

In order to help with the transition, Microsoft’s Bill Gates will be returning to Microsoft full-time several days a week as a “technology advisor”.

What do you think, is replacing the Chairman, and CEO positions at Microsoft the positive change Redmond needs to play catch up in the mobile industry? Do you think that Pichai could have made any difference for Microsoft, had he been chosen instead? Or do you feel that Microsoft doesn’t really need to be a mobile leader and can find lasting success elsewhere? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

  • Tanner Hoyt

    I think he’ll do a better job than Ballmer. Then again, that’s not exactly a difficult thing. I’m especially interested in seeing Bill Gates take a more involved role. He’s basically been nothing but a figurehead for years now, so to see him back in the game is exciting.

    Good luck Microsoft! I wish you all the best.

    • Shark Bait

      Balmer didn’t do a bad job, I don’t get why he gets so much bad press. He miss mobile completely though which is quite unforgivable!!

      I think gates being back is the most important thing for Microsoft today !

      • Tanner Hoyt

        Exactly. He missed mobile. He mocked the iPhone and the iPad. He was so shortsighted that he didn’t see the future. It’s important for CEOs, especially tech CEOs, to be open-minded and a visionary. He lacked foresight. Not to mention… there was Vista.

        And yes, the return of Bill Gates is a HUGE thing.

        • Shark Bait

          He delivered XP and 7 don’t forget……and Xbox. So not terrible….. But mocking mobile was very sort sighted! Because of that, apple and Google are now eating away at their PC bread and butter.

          I remember bill showing off surface tables and talking about how important small pocket computers will be! It amazes me how they messed up so bad!

          Gates is a true visionary, and it must be awesome for the teams working with him, I believe he’s a hero around their !! He will bring some change I’m sure !

          • Tanner Hoyt

            Even then, a little too much credit. Windows XP and the Xbox were already in the pipeline before Ballmer took over. And Windows 7 was basically an ironed out Vista.

            He wasn’t the worst CEO ever, but he definitely was terrible. I’m glad to see a change. I just wish Gates would’ve pulled a Steve Jobs and came back as CEO to “save the company”. That would’ve been awesome.

          • Shark Bait

            I think it will be a difficult save, google are eating away at the low cost and apple from the high I’m not sure what the future holds for them.

            Microsoft’s most lucrative sources come from the enterprise market, so I think it will be all too easy for him to pick up blackberry’s prices and become and enterprise focused company. Not saying that’s a bad thing, just more boringboring

          • Tanner Hoyt

            I think they have a bright future. Windows Phone is doing great, and the Xbox One is a success. If the “Threshold” updates really do unify the OS of all Windows devices, then they’ll have an advantage like no other. If they do that, my next phone will be a Windows Phone.

          • Shark Bait

            I think that’s a very big if!!
            I’m sure they are too big to fall, but their is a lot of work to do. Especially now they build their own hardware, that’s got to piss off their partner’s which can’t be healthy!

          • John Doe

            WP is doing great? and XB1 is a success .. Hmmm
            Not sure what juice you are drinking as EB Games techs say that the PS4 is dominating with XB1 consoles sitting on the shelfs unsold, and the WP phone (tho nice) has barely moved over the iPhone and Android devices.

          • Tanner Hoyt

            Yes, Windows Phone is doing great. And although Sony’s PS4 is outselling the Xbox One, that doesn’t make it a commercial failure. Microsoft could sell 200 million Xbox Ones and Sony could sell 500 million PS4s. That doesn’t mean the Xbox One wasn’t a success; it was a huge success. It just means Sony’s console sold more.

          • AA :P

            worst ceo = stephen elop.
            (only for nokia though. for microsoft, he’s an amazing guy who destroyed all the unnecessary parts of nokia and got only the best for microsoft)

  • gils001

    I can’t quite pinpoint it, but something about him just says “This is THE guy”. Hopefully he can turn the company around and help spur some innovation.

    • Shark Bait

      I’m not sure, Microsoft’s most lucrative sources come from the enterprise market, and he has an enterprise background so I think it will be all too easy for him to pick up blackberry’s prices and become and enterprise focused company. Not saying that’s a bad thing, just more boring.

  • Shark Bait

    Glad it wasnt Pichai, he’s done some good things! A great leader for android !!!

    • Jesus

      I’m pretty sure it was the hair.

  • Jayfeather787

    Wonder how he does…

  • The best thing is the fact that it is not Stephen Elop.