Satya Nadella: What does a new CEO mean for Microsoft and its customers?

The poetry loving 46-year-old cut his teeth on Microsoft's cloud and enterprise services, but how will this expertise help the company move forward?

Microsoft has officially announced its third CEO, nominating 46-year-old Satya Nadella as Steve Ballmer’s successor. Official soundbites from the company’s press office have been as glowing as you would expect, but what does the appointment mean for the company and for its customers?

The most apparent change will be India-born Nadella’s demeanour. Technology watchers have become used to the bombastic, over the top attitude that defined Ballmer’s tenure at the company, and Nadella, by comparison, appears to be a calmer, more thoughtful figure.

Although this change in personalities won’t affect how customers use Microsoft products, the new sense of humility might give the company the space it needs to revitalise some of its ailing services. No one can deny that Ballmer loved the company, but his cheerleading attitude sometimes involved turning a blind eye to Microsoft’s flaws.

In an open letter to his new employees, Nadella strikes a different tone, defining what Microsoft’s successes have been but also tacitly acknowledging where the company has failed.

"To paraphrase a quote from Oscar Wilde — we need to believe in the impossible and remove the improbable," writes Nadella. "This starts with clarity of purpose and sense of mission that will lead us to imagine the impossible and deliver it."

He says the Microsoft needs to “prioritize innovation” and “drive cultural change” deep within the company. In practical terms this is going to involve bulking out Microsoft’s cloud services and bolstering the company’s ability to challenge Amazon and Google in this sector.

Nadella has spent 22 years at Microsoft and prior to becoming CEO was head of the company’s cloud and enterprise group. In second-quarter earnings reports released last month, it was revealed that this division had seen revenues jump up 107 per cent.

Nadella has had success in moving the company’s server services over to the cloud, and it’s thought that similar efforts might be made in mobile. While businesses are still tied in to using Windows and Office products on desktop devices for some years, Microsoft has yet to optimise these products (especially the latter) for mobile and touchscreen devices.

Apple has already made some developments in this area, specifically in the repositioning of its productivity suite iWork as free to download with a simpler interface. However, no single company has cracked services such as word processing for this market, and Nadella could help lead this charge.

A new emphasis on cloud computing might also become important for the company’s Xbox division. Although investors often called on Ballmer to drop this and other consumer businesses, some in the company – including Bill Gates – saw the console as way into the living room. Xbox’s cloud gaming service has been talked about a lot but has yet to see any public release - if successful it could soon widen out to encompass other entertainment services.

Efforts such as these are likely to be the most visible changes for Microsoft customers, but the future of the company's hardware - specifically the Surface tablet and the Windows Phone business - are less certain. A focus on cloud computing may help Microsoft future-proof its enterprise division, but other divisions may take more concrete changes.

sportSo, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Arts and Entertainment
Dennis speaks to his French teacher
tvThe Boy in the Dress, TV review
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
tvCould Mrs Brown's Boys have taken lead for second year?
Arts and Entertainment
The Plaza Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia was one of the 300 US cinemas screening
filmTim Walker settles down to watch the controversial gross-out satire
Alexis Sanchez missed a penalty before scoring the opening goal with a header at the back post
footballArsenal vs QPR match report
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
Arts and Entertainment
Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz in Tim Burton's Big Eyes
film reviewThis is Tim Burton’s most intimate and subtle film for a decade
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
Arts and Entertainment
Madonna is not in Twitter's good books after describing her album leak as 'artistic rape and terrorism'
music14 more 'Rebel Heart' tracks leaked including Pharrell Williams collaboration
Rooney celebrates with striker-partner Radamel Falcao after the pair combine to put United ahead
footballManchester United vs Newcastle match report
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Ashdown Group: Moodle Developer (PHP ,Linux, Apache, MySQL, Moodle)

    £35000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Moodle Developer (PHP ,Linux, Apache...

    Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

    £17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Junior .NET Web Developer - Winform / MVC

    £21000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Award-winning pharma softw...

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Java Developer

    £30000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Java Developer is requ...

    Day In a Page

    A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

    Christmas without hope

    Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
    After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

    The 'Black Museum'

    After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
    No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

    No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

    Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
    Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

    Chilly Christmas

    Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
    Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

    'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

    Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
    Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

    Ed Balls interview

    'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
    He's behind you, dude!

    US stars in UK panto

    From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

    What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all