The three execs are Satya Nadella, president of Microsoft’s Server and Tools division; Tony Bates, who runs Skype and Lync; and Don Mattrick, head of the Interactive Entertainment division and Xbox.
Here’s some background information about each of these execs and what sort of expanded roles Microsoft may be looking for them to fill.
Satya Nadella, President of Microsoft’s Server and Tools Business
In a devices and services world, Nadella would be in charge of the services.
Nadella joined Microsoft in 1992, leads a $19 billion-a-year unit that saw revenue grow 11 per cent in Microsoft’s most recent quarter. He’s Microsoft’s most visible cloud computing exec and previously ran Microsoft’s Bing, MSN and advertising businesses. Now it’s his job to explain that Windows isn’t just for PCs, but is a “cloud OS” that’s good for mobile devices, too.
No one at Microsoft has more experience running large scale cloud services than Nadella. In a February 2011 interview with AllThingsD’s Swisher, Nadella said he learned a lot about cloud services from running Bing.
“I have been CIO of a cloud platform where there are only two of that size,” Nadella said in the interview. “So, I know what it is like to be a customer of those services.”
When Microsoft tapped Nadella for his current role, Steve Ballmer said he had “the right mix of leadership, vision and hard-core engineering chops.”
Here’s a clip of Nadella keynoting at Microsoft’s TechEd conference last August:
Tony Bates, president of Microsoft’s Skype Division
Bates was leading a $20 billion enterprise unit at Cisco before Skype lured him away in 2010 to become its CEO. Then he joined Microsoft via its $8.5 billion acquisition of Skype the following year.
Skype is an important part of Microsoft’s devices strategy. Lync, which is part of the enterprise version of Office 365, Microsoft’s cloud version of Office, is an important services play.
Andrew Brust, CEO of Blue Badge Insights, an advisory firm that works with Microsoft customers and partners, told us Microsoft hasn’t yet tied Lync in properly with the public switched telephone network. “If anyone can correct this, it’s probably Bates,” he told us.
Here’s a 2011 Youtube video of Bates talking about Microsoft’s acquisition of Skype:
Don Mattrick, president of Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business
Mattrick would be a logical candidate to handle the devices part of Microsoft’s strategy, since he’s leading Microsoft’s Xbox business. Under his leadership, Xbox became a profitable business.
He joined Microsoft in 2007 and previously spent 25 years in various roles at EA. He founded his own video game company in 1982 at age 17 and sold it to EA in 1991.
In 2011, Mattrick told CNBC that Xbox was to Microsoft what iTunes was to Apple and predicted it would one day reach “hundreds of millions” of people around the world.
Although Xbox is profitable, Rick Sherlund, a longtime Microsoft analyst with Nomura Securities, thinks Microsoft should sell it, and sell Bing, too, because margins aren’t high enough.
But if Mattrick gets a bigger role, Xbox could be tied into other Microsoft products. “I’m dying for the day I can use Skype on my Xbox,” Dave Sobel, an exec with Level Platforms, a Microsoft business partner, told us.
Here’s a clip of Mattrick speaking at the Xbox One launch event last month.
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