Instead of a Hard Reboot, Microsoft got a Minor Update in Satya Nadella

Telugu Bidda Satya Nadella - New CEO of MicrosoftChallenging times call for a full reboot of the system.

Alas, all that Microsoft got in its new leader was a minor update.

Satya Nadella, a Telugu bidda who studied at a capitation fee college (Manipal Institute of Technology) and bears a lackluster record, has been named the new CEO of Microsoft.

Nadella, 47, also got a seat on Microsoft’s board.

Nadella – Not the Right Man

I cannot think of a single big achievement to Satya Nadella’s credit.

Only a long, undistinguished career at Microsoft (22 years).

In my not so humble view, longevity should never be a criterion for picking a leader.

I’ve heard tortoises live for more than 200 years (How sad that Robert Clive’s pet tortoise Adwaita died a few years back in Kolkata….Otherwise it would have given Nadella a tough challenge). 😉

Nadella has never headed a large corporation and during a long stint at Microsoft only managed a division here or a group there.

Microsoft’s huge failures in mobile, search and the slowing down in PCs desperately called for a leader from outside the computer industry to shake things up, bring a fresh perspective and revamp the company.

Remember how in the 1990s IBM saved itself by bringing in the outsider Lou Gerstner.

By reducing the company’s reliance on hardware and pushing aggressively into services, Gerstner saved IBM.

Au contraire, by appointing an unimpressive insider like Satya Nadella, Microsoft missed a golden opportunity to reboot itself.

When the urgent need of the hour is for a transformational leader, Microsoft got, at best, an incremental leader.

Mobile & Search – Hard Challenges

These are tough times for Microsoft.

Apple, Google and a gazillion startups have stolen Microsoft’s thunder over the last decade.

When all the action is happening in the mobile arena, Microsoft’s mobile products like smartphones and tablets have been late to the game, its products are shoddy, and developers have largely stayed away (Microsoft is forced to pay money to developers to write mobile apps for its junk).

Result – Few takers for Microsoft’s Surface tablets and Windows smartphones and huge losses running into hundreds of millions of dollars.

Apple and Google have been the two biggest beneficiaries of Microsoft’s failures in mobile and search.

As if the failures in mobile and search were not bad enough, the PC business is in doldrums thanks in part to Microsoft’s universally loathed Windows 8 operating system.

Nadella – Big Failure

Besides an unimpressive record, one of Nadella’s biggest failures at Microsoft was his stewardship of the company’s search engine Bing.

Nadella headed engineering for Bing for three years and did little to dislodge Google from its perch as the leader of search.

Thanks in part to Nadella’s poor leadership, Bing is a crappy product that few people use unless it comes as a default search engine on their PC or mobile device.

The difference between Bing and Google is like the difference between Raghunandan Yandamuri and Mahatma Gandhi.

If Microsoft’s big-mouth failure Steve Ballmer is praising him (“I know that Satya is the right leader at the right time for Microsoft”), then you can be sure Nadella is not the right man for the job.

Nadella Background

Nadella joined Microsoft in 1992 and was previously Executive Vice President of Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise group.

Before joining Microsoft, Nadella worked for a short while at the failed Silicon Valley server and workstation company Sun Microsystems (now part of Oracle).

Besides a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering, Nadella holds a Master’s degree in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee and a MBA from the University of Chicago.

Nadella is heterosexual and has three children.

If you ask me, I give Nadella no more than two or three years before the Telugu bidda is given the boot.

By that time, it might be too late to reboot Microsoft.

16 Responses to "Instead of a Hard Reboot, Microsoft got a Minor Update in Satya Nadella"

  1. rmadasu   February 4, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    Good analysis.

    I am thinking he might be a stop gap arrangement who will continue with the status quo while they try to find some one they really want.

    I also think he will be as powerful at Microsoft as Manmohan Singh was in India.

    The real powers are waiting behind the scenes for whatever reason they may have.

    Microsoft is still making a ton of money.

    They could probably turn things around if they really want to but with so much money coming in its hard to justify shaking things up. Responds:

    1. You write: I am thinking he might be a stop gap arrangement who will continue with the status quo while they try to find some one they really want.

    Microsoft had nearly 6-months to find a new CEO and Satya Nadella is the best they could come up with?

    What a shame!

    Nadella was picked because Microsoft doesn’t really want to shake things up.

    Instead of confronting the challenges head-on, Microsoft is playing safe. A big mistake in my opinion.

    2. True, MSFT is making a lot of money but they also missed huge opportunities in growth sectors where others (Apple & Google) are making tons of money.

    I expect the Windows desktop and server and tools businesses will continue to be soft for the foreseeable future.

  2. sam   February 4, 2014 at 1:40 pm

    Off-topic: Responds:

    Does the Internet in Middle East provide only Arvind Kejriwal related news? 😉

  3. minor_kunju   February 4, 2014 at 3:48 pm

    “Nadella is heterosexual”

    Hahaha….I wonder where you got that info from 😛 Responds:

    Are you suggesting I’m wrong?

    How do you explain the kids?

    Not One.

    Not Two.

    But T H R E E! 😉

    • STG   February 5, 2014 at 2:32 am

      “How do you explain the kids?”

      We are told and ….But the only one who could actually answer this question is his …. 😛


  4. shadowfax_arbit   February 5, 2014 at 3:25 am

    Nadella is heterosexual and has three children.

    LOL is that even relevant? Responds:

    OMG, you mean to say homosexuality has nothing to do with running a successful IT company?

    Arts goes well with homosexuality. Folks like Somerset Maugham, Oscar Wilde, Tennessee Williams…Jodie Foster, Elton John, Anthony Perkins, Allen Ginsberg et al.

    So I thought IT might too.

    Shows how little I know!

  5. kage_11   February 5, 2014 at 3:28 am

    Hey, you finally have one good thing to cheer about the Telugu Community in US.

    Please apologize to the Telugu community at least now 😉

    I know it is like asking you to become a teetotaller or, stop referring Abhishek Bachchan as it 🙂 Responds:

    You write: you finally have one good thing to cheer about the Telugu Community in US.

    Is Vladimir Putin by any chance your uncle?

  6. guruji   February 5, 2014 at 9:07 am

    I see another Vikram Pandit in the making.

    Formula: Replace the long-standing CEO of a struggling company, with a disposable one (a.k.a. desi), get the company up and running, and fire his ass. Responds:

    1. You are only partially right.

    Vikram Pandit had more talent and more management experience (5 years as COO/President of Morgan Stanley before becoming CEO of Citigroup) compared to this in-bred Nadella bloke.

    You’re right on the disposable part – I’d be surprised if this Nadella guy lasts 24-months.

    MSFT’s Mobile and Search woes are not easy fixes even for the best of talents and Nadella is far from the best talent.

    2. Bottom Line – Who’d have thought Malaria and Diarrhea would bring down a once glorious company like Microsoft! 😉

    (In the process of fixing Malaria and Diarrhea in the world, Bill Gates fucked up Microsoft by entrusting it to 2nd rate leaders like Steve Ballmer and Satya Nadella.)

  7. shadowfax_arbit   February 6, 2014 at 2:51 am

    Duke, any comments on his pay package..? Responds

    If you’re holding MSFT stocks, dump ’em.

    Obviously, I don’t think much of both this guy and his employer.

    But by U.S. big corporation standards, his pay package is nothing extraordinary. It looks big to Indians because of the Rupee conversion.

    The pay package will look even more sexy if they convert it into Paisa. 😉

  8. lazyman   February 6, 2014 at 8:20 pm

    Dear SI, after reading so many boring blogs, I find SI blog very interesting and reading it for more than a year.

    Even though I am from Andhra and got little annoyed for you degrading Telugu people i didn’t pay much attention to it and continue to like your articles.

    In fact I introduced SI to some of my Telugu friends.

    In fact I myself gave you the link of a telugu channel Tv9 program on Raghu yandamuri murders and criticized the meaningless program.

    What I am trying to say here is, You can criticize Telugu people if you sees reason. But you are using meaningless words on Telugu people unnecessarily.

    Your latest article on Satya Nadella is heights of it.

    Sorry to say you are degrading yourself by writing cheap words on Nadella on this nice moment.

    I really want to love SI for ever but please don’t use bad words on Telugu people.

    If you continue to do this SI surely loose good followers. If you don’t care us it’s ur wish.

    Good luck dir (rest of sentence was incomplete) Responds:

    Sweetie, contrary to your assertion the piece on Satya Nadella was not a hatchet job.

    Although you find it hard to believe, Nadella’s Telugu origins are incidental to the story.

    Nadella is the wrong person for the job not because he’s a Telugu.

    While Nadella’s appointment as CEO of MSFT might warm the cockles of your Telugu heart, in my opinion he is the wrong person because he lacks the qualifications and experience to tackle the monumental challenges Microsoft is facing.

    Microsoft is not only facing one of the biggest challenges in the Decline of Windows as a platform but its performance in the two fast growing sectors (Mobile and Search) has been pitiful. As I mentioned in the post, Nadella did little to turn the tide in Bing’s favor.

    A lot of my readers still don’t understand the serious implications of what it means for MSFT with the decline of Windows as a platform. For a brief overview on the importance of platforms, I recommend this recent piece in The EconomistPlatforms – Something to Stand On.

    With MSFT’s irreversible decline on the platform side, the company has to make up for growth elsewhere. And as we all know, the fastest growth segments in the last decade has been in Mobile & Search. Both are utter disasters for MSFT.

    Under such circumstances, would you opt for an insider like Nadella with little to his credit or an outsider with a long broom?

    That’s the reason I contrasted MSFT’s action in appointing an insider like Nadella in 2014 to IBM’s action in the mid-1990s in bringing an outsider like Lou Gerstner to shake up things.

    • lazyman   February 6, 2014 at 9:55 pm

      Appreciate your detail reply.

      I am not sure about Satya’s ability that’s why I am not debating his choice.

      You may be right about it.

      Leave about this article.

      My only worry is, why you are writing bad about Telugu people like ‘Telugu bidda’ , ‘dum biriyani’ etc. while I agree your opinions on Telugu surely applicable to big percent of Telugu’s, why you are generalizing it to whole telugu community and hurting good followers?

      Once again appreciate your time in detail reply. Responds:
      Telugu bidda or Dum Biryani are hardly epithets that should get any Telugu knicker in a twist.

      My posts are not generalizations but only about the Telugu kidnappers, Telugu sex slavers, Telugu butchers, Telugu male murderers, Telugu female murderers, Telugu in-flight masturbators and Telugu serial gropers.

  9. Naveen   February 7, 2014 at 1:00 am

    I think it is time I move from PC to Mac. Responds:

    I got my Mac before Nadella’s appointment.

    No can accuse me of any bias! 😉

    • Naveen   February 7, 2014 at 1:25 am

      The only reason why I have not moved to Mac is because of its obscene price tag.

      I’ll wait for Macbook Air with Retina Display to be launched. 🙂 Responds:

      If you watch a lot of Movies/TV, the 27-inch iMac is an option worth considering but the price tag gets obscener.

      You can stream Hulu Plus, Netflix, Viki, iTunes etc directly without a Roku, or Apple TV box.

      My only complaint is lack of a remote control.

  10. lazyman   February 10, 2014 at 1:13 am

    Dear SI, Mr Nadella apparently had two special need children.

    So please don’t you bad words like heterosexual here. Please delete those words in ur article. Responds:

    If Satya Nadella has special needs children, that is unfortunate.

    But such is life, often unfair in many respects.

    • lazyman   February 10, 2014 at 9:01 am

      Dear SI, I sometimes suprised your strange behavior!

      Without a doubt you are very knowledgable, funny, jovial and good sense of humor.

      If you feel Mr Nadella is not fit for that job, you can express your views.

      But how can you use such harsh and objectionable words like heterosexual on a decent family man like Nadella?

      I really feel sorry to see this kind of strange angle from knowledgable mike you!! Responds:

      Sweetie, are you by any chance biased against Heterosexuals since you describe the term as “harsh and objectionable” in your above comment? 😉

      Since when did describing someone as “Heterosexual” turn into an insult.

      We live in an age where different people have different identities – Heterosexuals, Homosexuals/Lesbians, Bisexuals, Transgendered.

      NYC Mayoral candidate Christine Quinn (she lost in the Democratic Primaries to Bill de Blasio) is often described as a Lesbian in profiles.

      Profiles of the late writer Susan Sontag often note that she was Bisexual.

      Indian novelist Vikram Seth is invariably mentioned as Bisexual in profiles (If you haven’t read Vikram’s A Suitable Boy, you’re missing one of the fine Indian novels).

      So I don’t understand why people raise eyebrows when Satya Nadella is described as a Heterosexual.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login