Microsoft Corp.’s new CEO, Satya Nadella, may be a company insider, but expect a different direction from the software giant, says U-M Ross Professor M.S. Krishnan.
He sees the selection of Nadella, who has a technical background, and Bill Gates’ shift from chairman to technology adviser as a signal that Microsoft wants to get back its edge.
“It’s clear Microsoft needs more product leadership, and in my view, these two moves address that,” says Krishnan, Accenture Professor of Computer and Information Systems. “Nadella has led the enterprise side of the business, and there’s a melding of consumer and enterprise technology right now. So it’s important to have somebody at the top rooted in technology.”
Krishnan is an expert on innovation and IT strategy, and co-authored the book, The New Age of Innovation: Driving Co-Created Value with Global Networks, with the late Ross Professor C. K. Prahalad.
While some have called Nadella’s selection a “safe” choice, Krishnan doesn’t think hiring an outsider would have been a silver bullet.
“Microsoft is a big company and it has a culture,” says Krishnan. “They’re going to be changing direction as it is, and it can be harder for an outside CEO to get buy-in.”
He says to expect a different Microsoft than under outgoing CEO Steve Ballmer, whose background was in sales and marketing.