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Business Briefing

Satya Nadella May Be Microsoft's Next CEO

Satya Nadella May Be Microsoft
January 31, 2014 1:24PM

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UPDATE - FEB. 4: Microsoft has promoted insider Satya Nadella to replace Steve Ballmer as CEO and Bill Gates will be moving from chairman to technology mentor. While Nadella lacks experience in the consumer sector, his strengths lie in other core areas for Microsoft, including Microsoft Office, cloud computing and enterprise technology.

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The search for Microsoft's next CEO has been in full force since last year when Steve Ballmer announced that he would be leaving the company in 2014. While Microsoft has been quiet regarding the person it would like to take over the company, lists of candidates have been leaked out on a consistent basis. Previous frontrunners like Ford CEO Alan Mulally now seem to be out of the picture, as a new report from Bloomberg News suggests that Microsoft's board has settled on current Microsoft cloud executive Satya Nadella to replace Ballmer.

Out of all of the candidates that have been named in recent months, Nadella has the greatest amount of technical knowledge regarding some of Microsoft's more complicated products. With 22 years of experience at the company and his current position at the head of Microsoft's Cloud and Enterprise group, Nadella seems as though he would be a good fit for the job.

Technical Knowledge

Satya Nadella may not have the same amount of experience leading a company as some of the other candidates, but he does have an extensive amount of knowledge when dealing with more complicated and profitable technologies Microsoft currently puts out.

Not only does he have experience when it comes to Microsoft's products, but Nadella also has one bachelor's and two master's degrees, all of which are in the realms of science and business. After helping Microsoft with its Bing search engine and its Office software, Nadella was appointed head of the Cloud and Enterprise group in July 2013.

Other names that have been tossed about in the past like Mulally and Stephen Elop, former CEO of Nokia Corp., do understand how to run massive companies, but they also lack the level of inside knowledge that may be required of Ballmer's replacement. Unlike some companies, Microsoft likes to keep its CEOs around for as long as possible, and whomever takes over the position will only be the third chief executive to run the company.

A New Direction

Once Microsoft's executives announced their plan to restructure entire sections of the company in 2013, it became obvious that the public would see massive shifts in Microsoft's business strategy in the years to come. As the tech giant attempts to regain its popularity while going up against stronger competitors, Microsoft has needed someone else to lead them in the right direction.

It is unclear how Satya Nadella would change Microsoft if he were to become CEO. While he does lack experience in the consumer sector, he would not be running the company alone. Therefore, Nadella would be able to lead Microsoft in the direction of consumer devices even though he has personally focused on enterprise technology.

We asked Jeff Kagan, an independent technology analyst, for his opinion on where Microsoft is headed in the coming years. He told us that as the new CEO takes over, Microsoft has a chance to become dominant again despite the multitude of competitors that it will have to face.

"I see Microsoft entering a new space filled with competitors like Lenovo Motorola, Apple, Google and of course Microsoft Nokia," Kagan said. "This is a new marketplace that competes on the bundle of equipment and software. This is Microsoft's [chance] to once again start doing strong business."

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