Meet Microsoft's new CEO: Satya Nadella

By on February 4, 2014, 11:00 AM

After a long selection process and a myriad of rumors on who would take the helm at Microsoft, Satya Nadella, former executive VP of Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise group, is stepping up to replace Steve Ballmer. Nadella is a Microsoft veteran having joined the company 22 years ago and moving forward he'll be responsible for driving the tech icon that is as successful as it is troubled today.

On the consumer side, Microsoft has long been at the receiving end of criticism for the slow evolution of its Windows and Office products. Nonetheless, those continue to lead in the traditional PC market and contribute handsomely to the software giant's bottom line. Entertainment (Xbox) and cloud divisions are among the most successful future-looking endeavors for the company, while mobile computing (Windows/Mobile) and web (Bing) have been elusive targets where the company has often been too late to the party.

Microsoft has been on a late shift to a "devices and services" company as touted by former CEO Steve Ballmer, yet the continued pressure for radical change is what pushed the company to look elsewhere for a new leader. Satya Nadella will be only the third CEO in the company's history. Along with the new CEO announcement, Bill Gates is effectively stepping down as chairman and will become a technology advisor to the company. John Thompson, who was heading Microsoft's CEO search committee, is taking Gates' former position as Chairman of the Board.

Indian-born Nadella, 46, studied electrical engineering when he attended Mangalore University. Later on, he moved to the US to earn a master's degree in computer science from the University of Wisconsin and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Chicago. He was working for Sun Microsystems before he joined Microsoft in 1992. Nadella was part of the team that built the first Windows NT operating system as he was familiar with UNIX and 32-bit operating systems.

His tenure at Microsoft continued as senior VP of R&D for the Online Services Divisions, vice president of the Microsoft Business Division and most recently as president of Microsoft’s Server and Tools Business where he led a transformation and major shift to cloud infrastructure and services.

On his first day at the job, Satya Nadella has written an open email to Microsoft employees, which we've reproduced below:

Today is a very humbling day for me. It reminds me of my very first day at Microsoft, 22 years ago. Like you, I had a choice about where to come to work. I came here because I believed Microsoft was the best company in the world. I saw then how clearly we empower people to do magical things with our creations and ultimately make the world a better place. I knew there was no better company to join if I wanted to make a difference. This is the very same inspiration that continues to drive me today.

It is an incredible honor for me to lead and serve this great company of ours. Steve and Bill have taken it from an idea to one of the greatest and most universally admired companies in the world. I’ve been fortunate to work closely with both Bill and Steve in my different roles at Microsoft, and as I step in as CEO, I’ve asked Bill to devote additional time to the company, focused on technology and products. I’m also looking forward to working with John Thompson as our new Chairman of the Board.

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 we start a new phase of our journey together, I wanted to share some background on myself and what inspires and motivates me.

Who am I?

I am 46. I’ve been married for 22 years and we have 3 kids. And like anyone else, a lot of what I do and how I think has been shaped by my family and my overall life experiences. Many who know me say I am also defined by my curiosity and thirst for learning. I buy more books than I can finish. I sign up for more online courses than I can complete. I fundamentally believe that if you are not learning new things, you stop doing great and useful things. So family, curiosity and hunger for knowledge all define me.

Why am I here?

I am here for the same reason I think most people join Microsoft — to change the world through technology that empowers people to do amazing things. I know it can sound hyperbolic — and yet it’s true. We have done it, we’re doing it today, and we are the team that will do it again.

I believe over the next decade computing will become even more ubiquitous and intelligence will become ambient. 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, incredible computing capacity from the cloud, insights from big data, and intelligence from machine learning.

This is a software-powered world.

It will better connect us to our friends and families and help us see, express, and share our world in ways never before possible. It will enable businesses to engage customers in more meaningful ways.

I am here because we have unparalleled capability to make an impact.

Why are we here?

In our early history, our mission was about the PC on every desk and home, a goal we have mostly achieved in the developed world. Today we’re focused on a broader range of devices. While the deal is not yet complete, we will welcome to our family Nokia devices and services and the new mobile capabilities they bring us.

As we look forward, we must zero in on what Microsoft can uniquely contribute to the world. The opportunity ahead will require us to reimagine a lot of what we have done in the past for a mobile and cloud-first world, and do new things.

We are the only ones who can harness the power of software and deliver it through devices and services that truly empower every individual and every organization. We are the only company with history and continued focus in building platforms and ecosystems that create broad opportunity.

Qi Lu captured it well in a recent meeting when he said that Microsoft uniquely empowers people to "do more." This doesn’t mean that we need to do more things, but that the work we do empowers the world to do more of what they care about — get stuff done, have fun, communicate and accomplish great things. This is the core of who we are, and driving this core value in all that we do — be it the cloud or device experiences — is why we are here.

What do we do next?

To paraphrase a quote from Oscar Wilde — we need to believe in the impossible and remove the improbable.

This starts with clarity of purpose and sense of mission that will lead us to imagine the impossible and deliver it. We need to prioritize innovation that is centered on our core value of empowering users and organizations to “do more.” We have picked a set of high-value activities as part of our One Microsoft strategy. And with every service and device launch going forward we need to bring more innovation to bear around these scenarios.

Next, every one of us needs to do our best work, lead and help drive cultural change. We sometimes underestimate what we each can do to make things happen and overestimate what others need to do to move us forward. We must change this.

Finally, I truly believe that each of us must find meaning in our work. The best work happens when you know that it's not just work, but something that will improve other people's lives. This is the opportunity that drives each of us at this company.

Many companies aspire to change the world. But very few have all the elements required: talent, resources, and perseverance. Microsoft has proven that it has all three in abundance. And as the new CEO, I can’t ask for a better foundation.

Let’s build on this foundation together.

Satya




User Comments: 33

Got something to say? Post a comment
Guest said:

He looks like Gandis great grandson! ;)

trparky said:

Hopefully this means Windows 8 and Metro will be taken out back and shot, Old Yeller style.

GhostRyder GhostRyder said:

Wow history in the making people... Im interested to see what will be changed in Microsoft with this new guy!

1 person liked this | Sarcasm Sarcasm said:

Interesting how he is bringing Bill back to be more involved. Whatever he does, let's hope he pulls Microsoft in a more positive direction and injects some humanity back into the company. That and he needs to start restructuring the Xbox Division and put a stop to all the nonsense.

Guest said:

Proud to see an Indian in prospect of becoming the next Microsoft CEO.

4 people like this | JC713 JC713 said:

I am gonna miss Balmer.

ikesmasher said:

Hopefully this means Windows 8 and Metro will be taken out back and shot, Old Yeller style.

His letter makes it sound like anything but this.

I basically mean nothing in his letter suggests the return of a desktop GUI for desktops....it moves towards the opposite really.

Railman said:

Hopefully this means Windows 8 and Metro will be taken out back and shot, Old Yeller style.
Doubtful as extended support expires January 2023. I am doubtful if the change of CEO will make much difference. The guy has been with MS for 22 years so he will lack an outside perspective.

cmbjive said:

Well, he is younger than 60.

Guest said:

H1-B, H1-B H1-B

Why hire 'Mericuns

2 people like this | MilwaukeeMike said:

Hopefully this means Windows 8 and Metro will be taken out back and shot, Old Yeller style.
Doubtful as extended support expires January 2023. I am doubtful if the change of CEO will make much difference. The guy has been with MS for 22 years so he will lack an outside perspective.

But he'll know exactly what MS is about and where to focus his attention. He also may understand well what MS is and what they aren't. It depends on what you think would help MS the most. They could get someone from the outside to help improve the areas where MS is weak, or they could take an insider to help refine the areas where they are strong. I think focusing on the strengths is a good thing.

Maybe the next Surface ad will focus on productivity and not trendy dancing college kids.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

My only concern is if he will focus on making everything cloud based before the Internet infrastructure as a whole can support it.

Railman said:

Hopefully this means Windows 8 and Metro will be taken out back and shot, Old Yeller style.
Doubtful as extended support expires January 2023. I am doubtful if the change of CEO will make much difference. The guy has been with MS for 22 years so he will lack an outside perspective.

But he'll know exactly what MS is about and where to focus his attention. He also may understand well what MS is and what they aren't. It depends on what you think would help MS the most. They could get someone from the outside to help improve the areas where MS is weak, or they could take an insider to help refine the areas where they are strong. I think focusing on the strengths is a good thing.

Maybe the next Surface ad will focus on productivity and not trendy dancing college kids.

You can't watch much TV as the last Surface Ad I saw involved a college professor extolling the virtues of the device running all of his legacy programs.

Guest said:

The desktop never left. Classic shell and other give you basically Win 7desktop

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

The desktop never left. Classic shell and other give you basically Win 7desktop
From your perspective it would seem "DVD Playback" was never removed from Win8.

DVD playback options for Windows

Lets keep going and remove a few more things:

  1. Calculator
  2. Disk Management
  3. Explorer
  4. Games (Included in every install)
  5. Internet Explorer
  6. Media Player
  7. NotePad
  8. Paint
  9. WordPad

I'm sure we would not miss them, with all the alternative download options available. Especially if we look at it from your perspective, that they wouldn't truly be removed.

But above all lets remove all backward compatibility with the duplicate files stored in the "winsxs" folder. I hate making backup images, while knowing this one folder is nearly 8GB of duplicate files. Makes matters even worse if you want to store more than one backup image. Can you imagine the controversy in removing backward compatibility?

ikesmasher said:

From your perspective it would seem "DVD Playback" was never removed from Win8.

DVD playback options for Windows

Lets keep going and remove a few more things:

  1. Calculator
  2. Disk Management
  3. Explorer
  4. Games (Included in every install)
  5. Internet Explorer
  6. Media Player
  7. NotePad
  8. Paint
  9. WordPad

I'm sure we would not miss them, with all the alternative download options available. Especially if we look at it from your perspective, that they wouldn't truly be removed.

But above all lets remove all backward compatibility with the duplicate files stored in the "winsxs" folder. I hate making backup images, while knowing this one folder is nearly 8GB of duplicate files. Makes matters even worse if you want to store more than one backup image. Can you imagine the controversy in removing backward compatibility?

Im awfully confused at this post, I dont know which side its siding with, even though im pretty sure its satire. xD

The annoying thing is that they arent even duplicate files-its links to the original files that makes windows fool itself into thinking they actually are duplicate files, saying that its taking up 8GB when its using nothing near that much.

Mike Steele Mike Steele said:

Wow history in the making people... Im interested to see what will be changed in Microsoft with this new guy!

exactly, this should be interesting (in a good way)

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

This is what makes the duplication.

[link]

Misconceptions

The winsxs directory is thought to be much larger than it actually is. The directory contains mostly "hard links" to files that exist elsewhere. DIR and Explorer are not aware of the difference between an actual file and a hard link to a file, and so may count the same file several times, adding incorrectly to the perceived disk usage. The disk usage reported by these two programs is as if each hard link *is* an actual file.

I don't know every little detail but I do know what I am being told. And it is being held as part of my disk usage.

<reserve for image as soon as I find the upload link>

Edit:

There is no option for uploading files. This site is ridiculous, when it comes to uploading files. I will upload to a file share and then link the URL instead.

1 person liked this | ikesmasher said:

This is what makes the duplication.

[link]

I don't know every little detail but I do know what I am being told. And it is being held as part of my disk usage.

<reserve for image as soon as I find the upload link>

thats what im saying xD

they arent files, the space is empty, windows just refuses to believe it and prevents you from using it.

If you were suggesting that this should be a high priority, than I agree. But your post confused me. I should probably go sleep.

misor misor said:

H1-B, H1-B H1-B

Why hire 'Mericuns

he probably is already a naturalized American citizen since he has worked for Microsoft for the last 22 years.

h1b visa is only for foreign workers.

learninmypc learninmypc said:

H1-B, H1-B H1-B

Why hire 'Mericuns

Who are you talking about? Nadella? If so, he was born in India & 46.

2 people like this | cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

What difference does it make anyway where he is from, as long as he is qualified to run the company?

Guest said:

First I Congratulate Mr. Nadella. I hope someday you can make any Windows Operating System a Virus Free. If this happens it will make our life more easier.

1 person liked this | learninmypc learninmypc said:

First I Congratulate Mr. Nadella. I hope someday you can make any Windows Operating System a Virus Free. If this happens it will make our life more easier.

I doubt that is possible, but a nice thought.

Gamesinner said:

Balmer was an *****. Hopefully this guy is not. Innovation and steering technology trends are noble pursuits. Not listening to your customer base and shoving things down their throats is not the direction Microsoft should be going. Windows 8 and Xbox Kinect come to mind as recent examples. The best companies bend and innovate according to the needs and wants of their customer base. Microsoft became very conceded under Balmer and they had several failed ventures as a result.

1 person liked this | NTAPRO NTAPRO said:

Proud to see an Indian in prospect of becoming the next Microsoft CEO.

Yes, he's come a long way since phoning people about their antiviruses

Guest17 said:

If he moves Microsoft tech support to Mumbai will it still cost $85 per incident?

TS-56336 TS-56336 said:

Finally a move that makes sense at Microsoft. Gosh I hate to admit it but I can actually see a bright future ahead now that Satya Nadella is at the helm.

1 person liked this | TheBigFatClown said:

I am gonna miss Balmer.

Me too, like the plague. You just can't release something like Windows 8 and ever be taken seriously again. It was time to go. In fact, it was past time to go.

Railman said:

Wow history in the making people... Im interested to see what will be changed in Microsoft with this new guy!

exactly, this should be interesting (in a good way)

Only if you have your head in the clouds

Guest said:

Does he have any other expression beside that one?

Sarcasm Sarcasm said:

Proud to see an Indian in prospect of becoming the next Microsoft CEO.

What prospect? He IS the new CEO.

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