Microsoft Names Satya Nadella Its New CEO
    2014-02-05 19:16:41     APTN       Web Editor: Jiang

Microsoft named Satya Nadella, the head of its cloud computing business, as the company's next chief executive on Tuesday tapping a long-time insider to lead efforts to catch rivals in mobile devices and offer more software and services over the Internet.

The software company announced on Tuesday that Nadella will replace Steve Ballmer, who said in August that he would leave the company within 12 months.

Nadella will become only the third leader in the software giant's 38-year history, after Gates and Ballmer.

Company founder Bill Gates is also leaving the chairman role for a new role as technology adviser with board member John Thompson taking over the role.

Microsoft shares edged up in pre-market trading on Tuesday.

Nadella, who is 46 and has worked at Microsoft for 22 years, has been an executive in some of the company's fastest-growing and most profitable businesses, including its Office and server and tools business.

For the past seven months, he was the executive vice president who led Microsoft's cloud computing offerings, a new area for Microsoft, which has traditionally focused on software installed on personal computers rather than on remote servers connected to the Internet.

Nadella's group has been growing strongly, although it remains a small part of Microsoft's current business.

Analysts hope that he can maintain the company's momentum in the rapidly expanding field of cloud computing while minimising the negative impact from Microsoft's unprofitable forays into consumer hardware.

Major rivals in cloud computing include Google Inc., Amazon.com Inc., Salesforce.com Inc. and IBM Corp.

Nadella's appointment comes at a time of turmoil for Microsoft.

It has been late adapting to developments in the technology industry.

It allowed Google to dominate in online search and advertising, and it watched as iPhones, iPads and Android devices grew to siphon sales from the company's strengths in personal computers.

Microsoft's attempt to manufacture its own devices has been littered with problems, from its quickly aborted Kin line of phones to its still-unprofitable line of Surface tablets.

Analysts see hope in some of the businesses Nadella had a key role in creating.

Microsoft's cloud computing offering, Azure, and its push to have consumers buy Office software as a 100 US dollar-a-year Office 365 subscription, saw the number of customers more than double in the last three months of the year, compared with a year earlier.

Those businesses are the main reason investment fund ValueAct Capital invested 1.6 (b) billion US dollars in Microsoft shares last year.

Robert Bontempo of Columbia Business School, said the naming of the president of ValueAct Capital, Mason Morfit, to the Microsoft board could end up being a bigger story than a new CEO.

"Morfit is going to be walking into every board meeting with a very strong point of view about the strategy and the strategic direction of the firm," Bontempo said.

Bontempo also said it was unlikely Microsoft would "unchain" some of the company's many services from the Windows and allow them to be purchased a la carte because both Gates and Ballmer sit on the company board.

Born in Hyderabad, India in 1967, Nadella received a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Mangalore University, a master's degree in computer science from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, and a master's of business administration from the University of Chicago.

He joined Microsoft in 1992 after being a member of the technology staff at Sun Microsystems.

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