Microsoft made it official this morning and formally announced its third-ever CEO, longtime softie Satya Nadella. It was a safe, easy and somewhat controversial choice.
Nadella has been a key part of former CEO Steve Ballmer’s brain trust, stepping up in power when Ballmer really took the helm of the company, after Bill Gates resigned from his daily duties at Microsoft in 2008.
His appointment means that Microsoft will stay the course with Ballmer’s strategy, which is not only hard to define, but has hurt Microsoft’s Windows franchise. For decades the company has been chasing markets and business models instead of leading them such as: Apple’s mobile business, Amazon’s cloud, Google’s search business, Oracle’s database, Linux’s server and high-performance computing, Salesforce’s software-as-a-service, and Sony’s game console.
But if anyone can make the complex workings of Microsoft shine, from enterprise software to consumer mice, Nadella can. He is a bright, articulate and technically astute man, universally respected across the tech industry.
Industry leaders have sent an outpouring of congratulations to Nadella including a pat on the back from (mostly) rivals Box CEO Aaron Levie and Cisco’s CEO John Chambers.
When word of the news broke last week, Levie tweeted:
Satya is a *very* strong pick for CEO. Understands how to build platforms, gets the cloud, and has a solid vision for the future.
— Aaron Levie (@levie) January 30, 2014
And on Tuesday Levie added:
Microsoft has one final shot to reboot the empire. This is going to be a very interesting decade.
— Aaron Levie (@levie) February 4, 2014
Cisco’s Chambers said he “trusts” Nadella with this note of congratulations:
I offer personal congratulations to Satya Nadella on his appointment as Microsoft’s next CEO. I know him well and I know he will do a great job for Microsoft as he is a seasoned, world-class technology leader. I trust him and I know he instills trust in his customers and partners. I look forward to continuing to work with him and Microsoft to better serve our customers together.
Former GE CEO Jack Welch tweeted this vote of confidence, too:
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