Microsoft’s New CEO Faces A Critical Test This Week: Winning Over Microsoft’s Most Powerful Allies

Satya Nadella
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella Karyne Levy/Business Insider

This week, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella will face his biggest test yet: getting Microsoft’s developers excited about Windows again.

There’s reason to believe he’ll succeed. Last week, he turned in a solid performance in his first public speaking event as CEO.

He revealed Office for iPad, a product people have been asking for from Microsoft for years.

He isn’t a brilliant orator, but he has successfully set a new tone for Microsoft. He won over a lot of people in the press and, of more importance, investors liked him. The stock is over $US40, hitting prices it hasn’t seen in 14 years.

Nadella still has one more group to win over — the programmers who write software for Windows, Windows phone, and Microsoft’s cloud. Without them and their apps, Windows and all of its derivatives would be dead in the water.

Microsoft is hosting Build, its conference for developers, starting Wednesday in San Francisco.

“We’ll be talking about the innovations in Windows, because one of the questions right up front I wanted to address was, ‘What about Windows?’ ‘Where does Windows fit in with all of this?'” said Nadella last week. “Windows is a massive agenda for us. We will innovate and you will see us talk next week about the great innovations in the operating system and great innovations in devices.”

Last year’s Build conference was somewhat somber. Microsoft was at a crossroads. Its brand-new touch operating system, Windows 8, wasn’t popular, its Surface PC and Surface RT tablets weren’t selling well, the company had gone through a major reorg, and Ballmer, unbeknownst to the crowd at the time, was getting ready to resign.

This week, as Nadella steps onto the stage of a sold-out crowd, his No.1 job is to show off a compelling vision for Microsoft’s future again. We expect to hear about the following.