Microsoft’s enterprise business head Satya Nadella was named the company’s third CEO yesterday, succeeding Steve Ballmer, who announced his intention to step down last year. Meantime, company founder Bill Gates is giving up his role as chairman to work with Nadella on enhancing the company’s technology and products. Working with the title “Technology Advisor,” Gates is expected to work at Microsoft several days each week, according to Re/code. He’ll remain on the board of directors, which will now be led by former Symantec CEO John Thompson.
Microsoft’s been having a tough time of late. With its Surface tablet struggling to find traction and Windows 8 given a lackluster reception at best, the company finds itself overshadowed by the likes of Apple’s iPad and Google’s Chrome OS in segments vital to its success.
Nadella’s been with Microsoft for more than twenty years, most recently as executive vice president of the Cloud and Enterprise division. As Slashdot points out, he and his team were responsible for the creation of the Cloud OS platform that powers Redmond’s cloud services like SkyDrive, Azure and Office 365. Since he took over cloud services, revenue has grown by several billion dollars.
Many observers speculate that by bringing in an engineer to lead the company, Microsoft is getting back to technology basics. “I think he’s the right person for the company right now,” Frank Artale, a former Microsoft manager who now works with the Seattle venture capital firm Ignition Partners, told the New York Times. “A strong technical leader is truly needed there.”