By: Adeel Anwar
1/8/2017 12:11 PM
After reading that title, you’re probably thinking to yourself, “hm, there was only one CEO, Steve Ballmer in between those 2” and you’re completely correct but man oh man was Steve Ballmer incompetent. Feeling the need to leave no doubt on where I stand on the Ballmer hire, even back in January 2000, I thought it was one of the most pointless hires ever as he just seemed like a yes-man who was way above his head (mind you, I was 15 at the time). Time would go on to prove my initial thoughts about the man as correct, as one of the best poised companies, Microsoft, has given up significant market share to rivals Apple and Google, something I believe could have been prevented. Some point to the anti-trust ruling against them but I remind you how Standard Oil did after their anti-trust ruling, in today’s economy they became a trillion dollar group of companies, rather than just a single entity. He finally decided to step down in 2013 but would not do so for an entire year. Bill Gates was a part of the special committee that would select the next CEO.
When I first heard the name, Satya Nadella, I had no clue who he was, other than Microsoft had hired him to become their new chief executive officer. After reading a little about his backstory, I came to learn that he did his undergraduate work in India, before moving to America. Based on his work in high school and the relative unknown his school was, Manipal Institute of Technology, he needed to go to a better school to achieve his goal of going to a top MBA program in America. To do this he decided to get his Masters of Science from the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, a relatively unknown school even stateside, in computer science. After doing extremely well at the school, he was able to parlay that into admission at one of the top 5 graduate business programs in the world, the University of Chicago. The Booth Graduate school of business is ranked #1 globally by The Economist for its MBA program, one of the most trusted names in finance. He previously worked for Sun Microsystems prior to it’s acquisition by Microsoft, where he has stayed since 1992. He has bounced around in various executive positions before going to the cloud service and assisting in its growth as it became a multibillion dollar company in it’s own right.
Since his ascension to the throne of Microsoft he has done a lot to improve the Surface tablet that he was saddled with. The Surface was actually a pretty good product on it’s own but they did not do a good job of marketing the product and tiny inefficiencies with it’s UX made it so it far underperformed prior to Satya taking the helm. Nowadays, with the Surface 3 Pro, it is even stealing away fans of the iPad’s devoted followers, I actually heard a woman in my local Best Buy proclaim to a group of people that she got the Surface 3 for Christmas and has completely stopped using her iPad even though she has been an Apple followers since the iPhone 3. Apart from his work overseeing the growth of the Surface, he has done something that I believe will have far reaching implications for Microsoft’s growth by working with developers and listening to their advice, making the editing work on their end far easier by having their operating systems work across all platforms. This makes it so you only have to create one version of the software and it will work on the tablet, television, desktop, laptop and mobile all the same.
This forward thinking is what has positioned Microsoft that is necessary in today’s day and age with constant bombardment of publicly traded companies by their shareholders. Speaking of which, the stock has gone up from the mid 30’s when he assumed the position to it’s current price of $62.84, further signaling the trust investors have with Mr. Nadella. Microsoft needed someone new and fresh that was technically savvy while also having business acumen and that is exactly what you get from someone who has a Masters in Comp Sci and a Masters in Business Administration from Booth, a well-rounded world beater, much like his predecessor, Bill Gates but definitely not one of the most overpaid CEO’s in recent history, Steve Ballmer. Competency has returned to Microsoft’s most crucial position, and it couldn’t have come soon enough.