Office with Windows: how Satya Nadella landed the best suite at Microsoft
He turned the Seattle giant into a lean, mid-profit machine with a renewed focus on the cloud and shrewd business moves
“Our industry does not respect tradition. What he respects is innovation, ”says Satya Nadella in her autobiographical book Tap Refresh. The line succinctly explains the rise of Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft who has just been appointed President.
When the 54-year-old American Indian took over the helm of the Seattle-based tech giant in 2014, Microsoft struggled to stay relevant to younger, more agile companies like Google and Amazon, as well as niche start-ups. who were giving a tough fight for customers’ money.
Nadella got to work systematically, eliminating some of the company’s legacy issues, focusing on new technologies such as the cloud, artificial intelligence (AI), revamping HR ethics and placing aggressive bets. on inorganic growth. Today, he runs an entity that is the second most valued company in the world, with a market cap of $ 1.9 trillion, just behind Apple.
When Nadella replaced Steve Ballmer as Microsoft’s CEO in 2014, personal computers were still her bread and butter. Sales of hardware and the Windows 8 operating system were stagnant. From there, he led his transition to mobile computing, taking on Apple and Google. So much so that its big rival Apple has helped install MS Office software on iPhones.
Nadella’s cloud push started even earlier, when he was executive vice president of Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise group. For three years from 2008, he first learned about cloud services – technology and business – and quickly turned them into a $ 20 billion business for his employer.
The success of the cloud has not been easy. This involved making tough decisions such as cutting funds for Windows, according to a Bloomberg report. But once on the path to growth, Microsoft quickly embraced Google Cloud and Amazon Web Services (AWS). Today, Microsoft Azure’s share of the $ 130 billion cloud market is estimated at 20%, compared to 32% for AWS and 9% for Google Cloud.
Nadella also quickly realized her mistakes and cut losses. For example, Microsoft had bet big on its multi-billion dollar investment in Finnish mobile phone giant Nokia. But canceled it, in 2015, when the company didn’t seem to be making much progress. It cost around 18,000 job cuts and drew heavy criticism from around the world.
But Nadella more than made up for that with a few smart acquisitions that gave the company solid prospects for future growth. These include internet hosting software company GitHub, professional networking platform LinkedIn, artificial intelligence company Nuance, and the great game Minecraft.
Among the strongest proponents of focusing on employee culture to revitalize businesses, Nadella made a 180-degree change in Microsoft’s human resources ethics when he became CEO. Not only did he revamp the strategy of the company’s sales team, but he also pushed the concept of “empathetic leadership” to all levels. It is about supporting everyone and ensuring that the aspirations of the employee correspond perfectly to those of the company.
What’s on the horizon
For Nadella, the future will also be difficult. The pandemic and the resulting culture of work from home and hybrid workplaces are sure to have a huge impact on the future direction of enterprise technology.
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The company is poised to roll out the next generation of Windows, which again comes with a whole new set of challenges. The redesign of the interface, named “Sun Valley”, would involve changes to the user interface, icons, menus and the Windows Store. Microsoft is also forecasting big changes in new technologies such as AI, machine learning, quantum computing, and smart devices.
Connection with India
The country has always been proud of the rise of any Indian anywhere in the world, regardless of nationality. Nadella’s elevation on Thursday made headlines and sparked everyone’s joy.
Microsoft’s new president joins a growing tribe of Indians who occupy the top of multinational corporations. Among them are Shantanu Narayen of Adobe, Ajaypal Singh Banga of Mastercard, Arvind Krishna of IBM and Sundar Pichai, who runs Alphabet, the parent company of Google.