Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Video: Microsoft veteran Satya Nadella named CEO, Bill Gates technology advisor.

Satya Nadella's new job is a big one- as only the third CEO in Microsoft's almost four decade history- he takes over at a critical time- and he himself makes it clear in this Microsoft video- he won't put up with anything that gets in his way: 

 "The first thing I want to do and focus on is ruthlessly remove any obstacles that allow us to innovate." 

One obstacle, some say, was Bill Gates in his role as Chairman. He's stepping down - but says he will now spend one third of his time advising Nadella on technology. A good move all around says analyst Patrick Moorhead. 

"He'll have a less powerful role in terms of managing the business of the board but he is narrowing the scope in on something I don't think anybody can argue with, in that he is going to give insights to products and at its core, Gates is a product person." 

That's good because products are a big problem. For example, the company is still struggling to find its feet as mobile computing evolves. 

 "You have Apple, Samsung and Google who are gaining a ton of share and a ton of mindshare for the future and I think Nadella needs to take a hard look in the mirror and really evaluate whether Microsoft can win there." They also missed the boat on social media- says Bruno Del Ama- who runs the Global X social media Index fund:  "Tremendous amount of growth. Very difficult to do organically and so if they want to do something there in a meaningful way they probably have to acquire." 

Microsoft has also been facing a slow erosion of its PC-centric Windows and Office franchises. Investors have been clamoring for a big move- and a break up makes sense says Chris Baggini of Turner Investments.

 "I think he has to split the company up. It's really a mishmash of very mature businesses and some growthier businesses and unfortunately we've seen this before where the more mature businesses languish with very low growth rates and the growthier businesses really don't get valued the way they should. So they have a data center business which is very strong, they can break out their consumer business and separate that out and leave an enterprise business which is a very strong cash flow business." 

Shares were slightly higher on the official announcement- the stock had rallied when rumors of Nadella's promotion leaked last week.

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