Can Microsoft's new CFO spin the narrative enterprise?

Can Microsoft's new CFO spin the narrative enterprise?

Summary: New CFO Amy Hood has enterprise chops. And that's good because Microsoft needs to focus on the enterprise while it struggles in the post-PC era.


Microsoft named Amy Hood chief financial officer in a move that may spin the software giant's narrative more toward the enterprise, an area where the company has a much better story to tell.

The appointment of Hood ensures a smooth transition from outgoing CFO Peter Klein. The big takeaway with Hood is that she has enterprise chops. To wit:

  • Hood was CFO of Microsoft's business division, which was a $24 billion business.
  • She was also chief of staff for Microsoft's Server and Tools unit.

Big deal? It could be. Part of a CFO's job is to tell the company narrative. Microsoft has good stories throughout the company, but the issue is that pesky post-PC era, Windows 8 woes and the big question about whether the company can become a tablet player. Meanwhile, Microsoft is killing it in its enterprise businesses.

Hood's job is partially to frame Microsoft's Wall Street story around the enterprise story. Evercore analyst Kirk Materne sums it up:

The question, in our view, is whether Ms. Hood can refocus investors on the enterprise business and frame the risk associated with the consumer business so that the narrative moves away from a PC story over the next few years. In our view, most of the secular trends in the PC/tablet market are working against Windows and this will not
change, even as PC comps ease.

Can Microsoft pivot and shift focus to the enterprise? Possibly. But Microsoft likes to beat its head against the wall. So expect Hood to spend a lot of time talking Windows 8 and Windows Phone.

Topics: CXO, Enterprise Software, Microsoft

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  • Good luck to her

    She will have a lot of spinning to do - I hope she can sell ice to Eskimos, too.
    D.J. 43
    • ignorant

      Don't be a fool. Microsoft is still very strong in many of it's endeavors. Just because Win8 isn't performing as well as many would like, that is only one small portion of their entire business.
    • Sheep

      Selling ice to eskimos is what Google and Apple and people ask for their money back and spend it on Microsoft.
      I don't see why this article is doom and gloom when this sector is where Microsoft has had major profits which saved some losses from the separate consumer market.
      There are no Windows 8 woes, as administrators just put back the start button and leave the idiot trollers driveling like idiots on message boards pretending they had real jobs.

      Microsoft NEEDS to collaborate more with companies like Citrix, push more AppV demos/information/training and have more R&D into better/faster roaming profiles. This would help with any Windows 8 in the enterprise. Windows 8 is easier to handle via group policy and manage than ipads or Androids which are a nightmare to control as endpoints. It also saves companies more money by consolidating on one platform and one device rather than managing 1 laptop,OS, Apps and having a separate devices, OS ,Apps.

      PS- Microsoft if you are listening = include VDA license with ALL windows 8 devices. In fact get rid of VDA licensing all together. You will sell oodles more licensing in the virtual world!
  • the post-PC era

    Personally I have no desire or intent to waste my money on any of the latest and greatest 'hand-held gadgets'. Sure there may be a day when PCs are obsolete but all this talk of us already being in a "post-PC era" is all just marketers talking-down PCs in an effort to 'sell' ignorant consumers who like to spend money on junk that will be in the garbage 2 years from now. The whole concept of the PC, with interchangeable parts, makes it something that is not about to just disappear simply because someone came up with a toy that will do a few similar tasks. Until they are no more, serious developers and 'power users' will always have a PC and the death of the PC is greatly exaggerated.
    Vince Kuder
    • I agree

      Larry should be careful just as we might also be entering a post-ZDNet era as well.
    • Who's got the toys now?

      The difference between a toy and a tool is what it is used for. When the "few similar tasks" rapidly changes to "enough similar tasks" the tablet suddenly becomes the tool. The PC, with its interchangeable, more powerful parts, suddenly becomes the toy.

      Consider an analogy to cars. Most people need a car good enough to get them from A to B, and most people want some good features and for the car to look stylish. Its the kids playing racer, and admittedly real racers, that have the powerful cars lined on the sides of the streets. Once the tablet is good enough to get most people to accomplish their work, the pc will become the toy.
  • Possibly, I'm naive...

    ...but I thought the CFO's job was to manage the company finances and report thereon. Managing the company narrative is properly the job of marketeers and PR types.
    John L. Ries
  • Whatever

    Microsoft is making progress in consumer. They'd be stupid to constantly waffle back and forth. Stay strong in enterprise, keep chipping away at consumer. Not everyone is interested in this quarter only.
  • What pesky post-PC era?

    I am under the impression that these bloggers tell themselves that if they say a phrase enough times it will magically come true.
    NoMore MicrosoftEver