Microsoft appoints a new CEO

Microsoft has named Satya Nadella, head of its cloud computing and business services division, as its new chief executive.

Nadella, who joined in 1992, is only the third person to lead the Seattle-based computing giant in its 39-year history, following Steve Ballmer, who stepped down last August, and co-founder Bill Gates. Gates has been replaced as chairman, reducing his influence. He is to take a more hands-on role as ‘technology adviser’.

What the commentators said

“The stock has baked in expectations of better times ahead,” said Dan Gallagher in The Wall Street Journal. Since Ballmer quit, it has risen by 10%. So Nadella will have to “present a new vision for Microsoft, and fairly soon”. The group is widely seen as a mature, sprawling behemoth struggling to adapt to the “post-personal computer world”.

It became the biggest tech group in the world thanks to its ubiquitous Windows software on PCs. Windows still runs nine out of ten desktop and laptop computers in the world. But it has lagged in recent years in internet computing and mobile computing devices.

Its search engine, ‘Bing’, has failed to make a dent in Google’s version, while its efforts to produce hardware to rival the likes of Apple’s iPhone have proved too little, too late, said Katherine Rushton in The Daily Telegraph.

But Nadella looks a “solid” choice, said Robert Cyran on Breakingviews. He used to lead the cloud computing and enterprise group. Selling business software related to internet data storage is one of the fastest-growing divisions at Microsoft and “represents the company’s future” – it’s what the group does best.

Focusing on this, and shedding the consumer and hardware operations, looks the best bet. Now that “the old guard is slipping into the background”, Nadella has scope to “slowly turn Microsoft toward a more focused, and potentially valuable, future”.

Merryn

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