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Microsoft Names New Chief; Gates Becomes Adviser -

Stashed in: Microsoft, History of Tech!, Bill Gates, @satyanadella

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In Mr. Nadella, Microsoft’s directors selected both a company insider and an engineer, suggesting that they viewed technical skill and intimacy with Microsoft’s sprawling businesses as critical for its next leader. It has often been noted that Microsoft was more successful under the leadership of Mr. Gates, a programmer and its first chief executive, than it was under Mr. Ballmer, who had a background in sales. 

Where does Xbox fit in if they're being led by an enterprise software expert?

Spin out?

I don't know!  Does anyone know?  

But what was most important to the future ofXbox hardware -- and the console market as a whole -- slipped in near the end of the rumor round-ups: that Microsoft was toying with the possibility of releasing an Xbox One with a 1TB hard drive and no optical disc drive for as little as $399.

It's a shocking revelation, which Microsoft has conceded contains an element of truth: the company is testing consoles without a Blu-ray drive, reported The Verge following the forum leaks.

A Microsoft spokesperson declined to expand further on its experimentation with Xbox Ones without Blu-ray drives, saying, "We do not comment on speculation or rumors."

Bill Gates will be Nadella's technical advisor.

Between Xbox Ones and Surface Tablets, is it now safe to call Microsoft a hardware company?

That Xbox One sounds like a great, inexpensive PC. So why won't they let me run Excel on it?

Given Microsoft is the leading vendor in the computer mouse market, I think it's safe to say they've been a hardware company for a long time.

Wow, then it's even worse that the smartphone took off without them catching on.

I'm hoping Mr. Nadella at least has the sense to get out of the business Microsoft does not understand: consumer Internet.

Their consumer Internet efforts have lost Microsoft a lot of money over the years, and it's unclear what the returns are, really. Perhaps it's time to declare that game over so they can focus on serving businesses and gamers, two markets they do seem to understand well.

Okay then!  

“He knows he has to approach mobile in a new way”Most significantly, as Microsoft closes its Nokia acquisition, the company desperately needs to revamp its mobile strategy. The company’s best chance is cranking out this decade’s BlackBerry phone: a consumer-grade product with business-ready capabilities, a device and operating system people want to use at work. That also entails improved development tools for Windows Phone, which got a boost with the Windows Phone 8 SDK but still lag behind iOS and Android development kits.

“[Nadella] deeply understands this [situation] and he knows he has to approach mobile in a new way,” said Forrester’s Ted Schadler.

There’s little doubt cloud will take a center role in the new Microsoft. It’s been an area of steady growth for the company, with recent cloud revenues doubling year-over-over (the company doesn’t break that up into specific categories). With Nadella at the helm, Microsoft will pursue an ever-expanding cloud value proposition for its customers, with more integrations between its own services — and other vendors’ offerings, too.

Nadella has no experience running a public company, but he has all the makings of a capable CEO. He’s technically proficient and highly personable. He’s humble, but unafraid to lead by example. And he’s unwilling to accept the ordinary.

That's cool. I found daringfireball to be very insightful:

Horace Dediu captures the change in the industry wrought by iOS and Android in this succinct (and, as usual, well-illustrated) piece from a few months ago, writing:

If we include all iOS and Android devices the “computing” market in Q3 2008 was 92 million units of which Windows was 90%, whereas in Q3 2013 it was 269 million units of which Windows was 32%.

That’s a startling change, and Ballmer never seemed to accept it. Windows 8 wasn’t designed to adjust to the new world; it was designed to turn back the clock to the old one.

And of course that didn't work.

Satya seems more enlightened; after all, he used a Mac in public for a Microsoft demo.

Great point, and great pointer:

Given skyrocketing sales of non-Windows devices, it was critical to the success of Microsoft's cloud to win over all sorts of developers, even those writing iPhone apps.

So he made three choices that were considered crazy controversial by Microsoft's standards:

  • He held the developers conference in San Francisco, not Seattle.
  • He used a Mac to build an iPhone app on stage in front of 6,000 developers. He was demonstrating how Microsoft's cloud, Azure, could be used for iPhone and iPad apps.
  • He showed how Google’s Chrome browser could be set as the default browser when building a website with Microsoft's tools.

The tech press noticed. Microsoft was hailed as new company that "plays well with others," as ReadWrite's Owen Thomas noted.

Seattle Times' Brier Dudley declared that the demo made "the bitter platform wars that characterized Microsoft’s relationship with Silicon Valley during the 1990s and 2000s seem like ancient history."

At Microsoft, jaws dropped.

If Microsoft establishes a big office in Silicon Valley, we'll know it's a company that wants to play well with others.

We'll see.

Wow. Adam, this is what you wrote above.

"This is why I felt quite strongly that an inspirational, external CEO was required. What Microsoft now needs is someone who can take tough decisions; cut the losses in many areas where Microsoft is failing to compete, and really focus the company on the things it is good at. In my view, Microsoft requires a large scale restructuring that will only work if it is headed up by a visionary leader, someone that can inspire and motivate the people to join that journey. Otherwise, the company will continue to sink and fall apart in slow motion."

Has Microsoft Picked the Wrong CEO?

Too early to tell if Microsoft has picked the wrong CEO.

But first thing's first: they need to acknowledge that Microsoft is NOT a consumer company.

Microsoft picked the right CEO.

The goodwill they have earned with consumers helps them sell more services to the enterprise. 

Well done, Microsoft.

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