Microsoft's Safe Bet: Nadella Named CEO, Gates Appointed Tech Advisor

Microsoft named 22-year veteran Satya Nadella its new CEO, signaling the company will favor staid continuity over the drastic overhaul that an outsider might bring to its beleaguered business model.

learn more about Geoff Weiss

By Geoff Weiss

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Microsoft has officially tapped 22-year veteran Satya Nadella, 46, as its third-ever CEO, signaling that the company will favor staid continuity over the drastic overhaul that an outsider might bring to its beleaguered business model.

At the same time, Microsoft founder Bill Gates will transition from chairman to technology advisor -- a board position in which Microsoft says Gates will devote more time to the company, "supporting Nadella in shaping technology and product direction."

John Thompson, formerly the board's lead independent director, has been named chairman. Microsoft's former chief, Steve Ballmer, who announced his retirement last August, will leave the company today as Nadella's appointment is effective immediately.

Nadella, a hardcore engineer who hails from India, is best known for "the company's move to the cloud," Mircrosoft said, overseeing its server and tools business.

Related: White House Brings On Microsoft Executive to Fix

"Going forward, it's a mobile-first, cloud-first world," Nadella said in an interview posted to Microsoft's YouTube account this morning. "In other words, everything is becoming digital and software-driven. I think of the opportunities being unbounded."

Nadella's strengths within the corporate-facing aspects of Microsoft's business are more akin to those of Gates, who was a programmer, than to Ballmer, whose background was in sales.

"I'm thrilled that Satya has asked me to step up," Gates said in a video, "substantially increasing the time that I spend at the company. I'll have over a third of my time available to meet with product groups."

Related: GoDaddy Teams Up With Microsoft to Offer Small Businesses Office 365

While Nadella's appointment was widely expected, his challenges will be numerous. Microsoft's lagging efforts in the ever-crucial mobile and tablet market have thus far been clobbered by competitors like Google and Apple.

"More than 90 percent of PCs run Windows, but only four percent of smartphones do and an even smaller slice of tablets," reports Reuters.

The company clearly has its eyes set on mobile growth, as one of Ballmer's final acts as CEO was the acquisition of Nokia for an estimated $7.2 billion.

Check out Nadella's first interview as Microsoft CEO here:

Related: Microsoft Axes Its Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Employee-Ranking System

Geoff Weiss

Former Staff Writer

Geoff Weiss is a former staff writer at

Related Topics

Editor's Pick

Everyone Wants to Get Close to Their Favorite Artist. Here's the Technology Making It a Reality — But Better.
The Highest-Paid, Highest-Profile People in Every Field Know This Communication Strategy
After Early Rejection From Publishers, This Author Self-Published Her Book and Sold More Than 500,000 Copies. Here's How She Did It.
Having Trouble Speaking Up in Meetings? Try This Strategy.
He Names Brands for Amazon, Meta and Forever 21, and Says This Is the Big Blank Space in the Naming Game
Business News

I Live on a Cruise Ship for Half of the Year. Look Inside My 336-Square-Foot Cabin with Wraparound Balcony.

I live on a cruise ship with my husband, who works on it, for six months out of the year. Life at "home" can be tight. Here's what it's really like living on a cruise ship.

Business News

These Are the Most and Least Affordable Places to Retire in The U.S.

The Northeast and West Coast are the least affordable, while areas in the Mountain State region tend to be ideal for retirees on a budget.

Thought Leaders

The Collapse of Credit Suisse: A Cautionary Tale of Resistance to Hybrid Work

This cautionary tale serves as a reminder for business leaders to adapt to the changing world of work and prioritize their workforce's needs and preferences.

Business Solutions

Learn to Build a ChatGPT Bot for Only $30

If you want to see what AI can do for your business, grab this course bundle today.

Health & Wellness

5 Essential Steps to Expand Your Vision and Start Living Your Dream Life

It's time to break free from your comfort zone and expand your vision. When you refuse to settle for a mediocre life, you can start building a life you love.

Business Ideas

55 Small Business Ideas To Start Right Now

To start one of these home-based businesses, you don't need a lot of funding -- just energy, passion and the drive to succeed.