With Ballmer gone, will Nadella go even faster?

Microsoft has accomplished a lot in the past six months, even while undergoing the CEO transition from Steve Ballmer to Satya Nadella. With Ballmer gone, will Nadella accelerate change?

And just like that, Steve Ballmer’s influence on Microsoft is no more. While still Microsoft’s largest individual shareholder, Ballmer has stepped down from the board and has no official ties left. In the six months since Satya Nadella has been named CEO of Microsoft there have been sweeping changes to the company; I’m sure much of this was initiated under Ballmer’s lead, but it’s been Nadella executing on the plans.

Since February, Microsoft has:

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-          Become more aggressive in the mobile space by making Windows free to devices with screens under 9 inches, releasing Windows Phone 8.1, and killing off the Nokia Android project (which seemed pretty strange to have continued after being purchased by Microsoft).

-          Released a large update to Windows 8.1 which made it easier to use on traditional keyboard / mouse desktop setups

-          Released Office for the iPad – a long-considered move indicating a shift to a subscription revenue model and embrace of a competitor’s platform

-          Conducted layoffs and internal reorganization – a big shakeup to the company aimed to transform Microsoft into a mobile first, cloud first company

-          Launched Surface Pro 3 to rave reviews and is currently rolling it out globally

The transition from Steve Ballmer to Satya Nadella seems to be smooth; not only did Microsoft change CEOs but significant decisions and projects were conducted in the same time frame. One criticism folks like to hurl at Microsoft is that they’re a slow-moving behemoth (after all, there are over 128,000 employees), but looking at what’s been done the past six months you have to give credit to both Nadella and the company for being able to move quickly.

With Ballmer’s presence gone and Microsoft retooled to Nadella’s liking, it will be interesting to see what the next six months bring.