Satya Nadella takes helm at Microsoft as new CEO

By Peter Gothard
04 Feb 2014 View Comments
Satya Nadella the new CEO of Microsoft

Microsoft's new CEO is Satya Nadella.

The news comes as confirmation of recent reports naming the current president of Microsoft's Server & Tools business as the software giant's new boss.

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Nadella's appointment as Microsoft's third ever CEO comes after other favourites were eliminated, including Ford CEO Alan Mulally - who dropped out during the race - and Stephen Elop, former CEO of Nokia who failed to make the grade.

Perhaps more surprisingly, though, 46-year old Nadella will be joined by a returning Bill Gates, the Microsoft founder and first CEO who is stepping down as chairman of the company in order to take on an advisory role, supporting Nadella directly.

It is said Gates will focus particularly on the technology and product area of the business.

While it remains to be seen whether Gates' renewed presence at Microsoft is one of genuine practical need, or simply a psychological boost for employees as the iconic founder returns to a day-to-day role at the company, it's certainly a timely return.

Outgoing CEO Steve Ballmer freely admitted that Windows Vista, which he brought in towards the start of his tenure, was his "biggest mistake", and referred to himself as an "emblem of an old era", urging Microsoft to select "a new leader who will accelerate change".

Gates' decision to muck in himself may help Nadella avoid any early pitfalls, while supplying him a baseline education to help him provide this speedy change which Ballmer wished for.

Nadella is often credited with a massive contribution towards Microsoft's cloud strategy, which may see him well-placed to begin tackling Microsoft's admittedly flagging mobile computing offerings. With only four per cent of smartphones currently running the Windows platform as opposed to 90 per cent of desktop PCs running the OS, Nadella's challenge will be helping the company take on the growing strength of Android, and the massive customer base Apple's iOS still enjoys.

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