A man with his head in the cloud is exactly what Microsoft needs.
Microsoft today named Satya Nadella as its new CEO and successor to Steve Ballmer. Rumors about Nadella started doing the rounds at the end of January, but what does it mean for Microsoft and the products the company develops?
To answer that question, you’d need a crystal ball. We do not have one of those. But the past says a lot about the future and Nadella’s past at Microsoft is one focused heavily on the cloud. He’s joined Microsoft 22 years ago, in 1992, and is widely known for his efforts in the cloud and enterprise space and leading the company’s Server and Tools Business. Nadella spearheaded Microsoft’s move to the cloud and in doing so has impacted the development of Bing, Xbox, Office and a host of other Microsoft services. Under Nadella’s leadership, Microsoft’s revenue from Cloud Services has grown from $16.6 billion in 2011 to $20.3 billion in the summer of 2013 .
Looking at Nadella’s past, Microsoft’s path going forward seems fairly clear and it’s a space in which Redmond needs a rock solid, confident leader who knows what he’s doing. The likes of Amazon and Google are not easy competition but Microsoft already has the advantage of being the dominant OS in the work space. A place where confidence in the cloud isn't quite where it needs to be. If Redmond can leverage its position in the work place in order to expand its reach in enterprise and take it to the next level with cloud services, Microsoft is looking at a very strong future.
What Satya's past doesn't tell us is what the next ten years will mean for consumer products at Microsoft. Given the new CEO is so focused on cloud and enterprise, shareholders would be forgiven for worrying just a little about other aspects of the company. Is Microsoft's Cloud and Enterprise King going to neglect consumers? Likely no, and here's why: Uncle Bill is going to help out. Microsoft today announced that founder Bill Gates is stepping down as chairman and will instead act as a technology adviser to Nadella. Our guess is Bill is there to act as a pacifier for concerned shareholders and remind Satya that Microsoft is not all business. More on that coming up soon.