Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols
Best Argument: No
Audience Favored: Yes (66%)
They’ve already begun executing
Ed Bott: As I write this, Satya Nadella is still a few days short of his six-month anniversary as Microsoft CEO. During that time, he’s made some significant progress and shaken up a company that had grown complacent.
The challenge now is to transform Microsoft’s business and its culture.
So let’s review that brave new strategy:
- Cloud-based services are firing on all cylinders. Under Nadella’s leadership, Azure has become a model for continuous development.
- Mobile apps are everywhere. Office 365, OneDrive, Skype, and the rest of Microsoft’s app portfolio are on every platform that matters and continually improving.
- Enterprise software is a solid legacy business that can fund a lot of improvement.
The jury’s still out on Surface and Lumia. But overall the company is capable of paying for some serious transformation. With Azure and Bing, Microsoft has proven it can be agile. The next step is to transfer that culture to the rest of the company.
Beyond Nadella's grasp
Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols: I think Satya Nadella was the right choice for Microsoft. Ballmer was long past his "fire me" date. But, to make "Microsoft … the productivity and platform company for the mobile-first and cloud-first world" assumes that Microsoft can become a mobile and cloud powerhouse.
Why should we believe that?
By Strategy Analytics' numbers, Android was on 85 percent of smartphones sold in the last quarter. Windows Phone? It dropped to under 3 percent.
In the cloud space, Gartner thinks Azure is doing OK, but Amazon Web Services (AWS) is still the 800-pound gorilla of the cloud. Now, Azure is good, but good enough to overcome AWS -- and the boundless enthusiasm for the OpenStack cloud from VMware, Oracle, Red Hat, and a host of other companies?
Despite Windows 8.x's market failure, I'm sure Microsoft will still dominate the desktop throughout the 20-teens, but keeping control of that moribund market isn't the goal. Microsoft's new goals seem beyond Nadella's grasp.