Satya Nadella says Microsoft must “discover the new formula” for good management

By Peter Gothard
21 Feb 2014 View Comments
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella standing

New Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has admitted that the company needs to work on "discovering the new formula" for successfully managing Microsoft, in statements that display an amount of derision for his predecessor Steve Balmer's way of running things.

In an interview with the New York Times, Nadella revealed that Microsoft had been asking itself "even in the first leadership meeting... what's the purpose of our leadership team?".

Further reading

It's a question that many long-term critics of Microsoft have been asking too, with Windows 8's fragmented feature set viewed by some as a direct result of faction-orientated thinking within the company.

But it appears several reshuffles in 2013 - which seemed to consolidate teams and executives across device and software divisions, and shortly followed the departure of Windows Division president Steven Sinofsky - aren't the end point for Nadella's plans.

"Culturally, I think we have operated as if we had the formula figured out, and it was all about optimizing, in its various constituent parts, the formula," Nadella told the NYT.

"Now it is about discovering the new formula. So the question is: How do we take the intellectual capital of 130,000 people and innovate where none of the category definitions of the past will matter?"

Calling "any organisational structure" of the present day "irrelevant", as no competition or innovation will respect boundaries, Nadella has stated that "cycle times and responses times" will now need to be "much more compressed".

Nadella's strategy reflects words spoken by Microsoft's corporate VP of development, Sivaramakrishnan Somasegar, at last year's Build conference, when discussing Microsoft's integrated development environment [IDE] for its Visual Studio product, stating that, in future, Microsoft will generally seek to "move towards [delivering] updates on a regular cadence".

While Somasegar said this model doesn't yet suit Visual Studio yet, he remarked that "some day we want to get to the world were we don't have numbered versions anymore, but we're not there yet".

Nadella also now promises an "innovation agenda", and a need to "sense those early indicators of success".

Computing expects some form of innovation-based announcement for the mobile Windows Phone platform in particular at this year's Build conference in April, and will report news, reactions and discussions live from the San Francisco venue.

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