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Congrats, Satya Nadella. In just five years, you've turned Microsoft from Neutral Evil to (tr)
The Register ^ | Feb 5, 2019 | Richard Speed

Posted on 02/20/2019 9:09:45 PM PST by dayglored

[FULL TITLE: Congrats, Satya Nadella. In just five years, you've turned Microsoft from Neutral Evil to, er, merely True Neutral]


The hits, misses, and axings by the newish CEO

Stepping into the sweaty shoes of Steve Ballmer was never going to be an easy task. Satya Nadella’s first five years as third CEO of the software giant has brought pain to fans of Microsoft's consumer tech but delight to investors.

For many, Nadella is seen as the axeman, ruthlessly cutting through Redmond's detritus amid the rise of Apple, Google, and others. We at El Reg love a list, so we present our wholly unscientific top five dumpings and hits during Nadella’s tenure to date.

Nadella’s top five prunings at Microsoft

1. Windows Phone

No list would be complete without mentioning Ballmer’s last hurrah – the Nokia purchase. Even with the acquisition completing mere weeks after Nadella took over from the besweated one, the new CEO was quick to wield the axe.

12,500 Nokia staffers were given their papers in July 2014 before the final Lumias put in a belated appearance in 2016.

The rest, alas, is history.

2. Microsoft Band

The Microsoft Band was the software giant’s pitch at the wearables market, arriving in 2014 and surviving long enough to see a second, curvier, version put in an appearance in 2015 before Nadella once again swung his axe in 2016.

Like Microsoft’s phone efforts, the Band was blessed with a thoughtful interface and some innovative thinking in the hardware but, alas, also like the phone, hardware innovation was not enough to stave off an axeman cursed with limited patience when it comes to consumer tech.

3. Groove Music

If a music service that hardly anyone listens to is axed, would anyone notice?

Nadella clearly thought not as 2017 saw the CEO snuff out Groove Music. The last vestige of Redmond’s pitch at an iPod killer, Zune, lost the ability to stream music by the end of the year, with users directed to former rival Spotify.

The Groove app itself still lingers on, a shadow of its former self.

4. Surface Mini

The fate of the Surface Mini (and other shrunken Surface devices that get the fans so excited) is cited as another example of Nadella’s ruthlessness.

While the Surface line has thrived under the CEO’s stewardship, the Mini was a throwback to the Windows RT era – unable to run Win32 apps and lacking the library of the iPad to which it would be compared.

The thing never made it past a limited early production run before the axe was once again wielded.

Microsoft would, of course, have another crack at a diminutive Surface in the form of the Go four years later.

5. Cortana Hardware

Nadella’s latest bit of chopping has been at the neck of Cortana, specifically plans to turn it into a standalone AI assistant appliance, reflecting the CEO’s focus on services rather than hardware.

Cortana itself will live on as a software add-on, but as hardware? Nadella reckoned that with Microsoft trailing some way behind the likes of Amazon and Google, trying for a third platform was pointless and thus his blade once again swung into action.

Of course, Cortana itself will live on, but as a service for other platforms and, significantly, a service lurking within Microsoft’s increasingly important cloud product lines.

Nadella’s top 5 hits

While Nadella has been bad news for fans of the company's consumer products, with the notable exception of the Xbox, for big biz and investors, it has been an exciting five years.

1. The rise of the Cloud

While Microsoft has continued to trail Amazon's AWS platform in terms of market share, Nadella has continued to pour resources into the Windows giant's cloudy compute and storage product, Azure, fueling impressive growth.

The support for Azure should not come as a surprise, seeing as the CEO formerly ran Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise group, but what is eye-opening is how much Redmond has come to depend on the increasing revenues from the thing, making up for a decline in the corporation's legacy Windows business.

Now, if only Azure and Office 363 would stop falling over quite so often.

2. Three numbers: 3, 6 and 5

Under Nadella’s watch, Microsoft has had great success in persuading enterprises that piling their eggs into its Microsoft 364 basket is a good idea. This has been done in the face of inroads made by Google into the productivity market the gang at Redmond once considered its own.

The new world at Microsoft for consumer and corporate alike is all about subscriptions rather than perpetual licences, and with rumors continuing to fly about a consumer incarnation of the Microsoft 365 line, Nadella doesn’t look like changing course any time soon.

Even if some country-sized customers might wince at the costs.

3. Acquisitions

Satya Nadella arrived at a time when Microsoft was reeling from the disastrous Nokia purchase, but has set about some buys that have turned out to be strategic wins, even if eye-wateringly expensive at the time. Minecraft has kept the IT titan's toehold in the education market while the rest of the biz wrung its hands in the face of the march of the Chromebook. LinkedIn also proved a canny buy, contributing both revenue and users to the megacorp's platform.

GitHub, the latest megabucks buy, reflects a desire by Microsoft to reconnect with developers, and persuade them that hey – the Beast of Redmond is not quite so beastly these days. It loves Linux, it contributes code to the kernel, it loves open-source, and it loves putting open-source projects on GitHub. Honest. (It just sometimes loves to bend the meaning of the word love, that's all.)

4. Open Source

And those developers continue to benefit from the Nadella era as Microsoft has continued its push into the open source world. Products such as .NET Core and PowerShell Core have thrived under the CEO’s watch, and functionality such as the Windows Subsystem for Linux would have been unthinkable under previous regimes.

The company left jaws on the floor when it cheerfully announced the OS for its take on IoT (in the form of Azure Sphere) would not be a cut down Windows 10 but would, instead, be Linux. Shout out also to the cross-platform free development toolkit Visual Studio Code, which is gaining fans as far as we can tell.

5. Share Price

While many tech giants rode the markets up and down over recent year, Microsoft has managed to avoid a precipitous drop in value after a meteoric rise under Nadella, save for the past few wobbly months.

The diversification of the company under Nadella has transformed it from That Thing That Does Windows And Office to a different creature today. While that change has wrought pain unto the company’s diehard fans, it has clearly made investors – and shareholders – very happy.

As Nadella heads toward his first decade at the helm of the tech titan we can only speculate what treats lie in store as he gradually shifts Microsoft from the D&D fantasy alignment of neutral evil to perhaps true neutral or maybe even lawful neutral.

Also, cough, cough, in the spirit of Microsoft's commitment to open source, may we suggest unleashing the source of Media Center onto the world?

Hit the comments below to let us know your personal Nadella hits and misses. ®


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Computers/Internet; Hobbies
KEYWORDS: microsoft; nadella; satyanadella; windowspinglist
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Yeah, I know, this article is a couple weeks old. I missed it on the first go-round. Enjoy now!
1 posted on 02/20/2019 9:09:45 PM PST by dayglored
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To: Abby4116; afraidfortherepublic; aft_lizard; AF_Blue; AppyPappy; arnoldc1; ATOMIC_PUNK; bajabaja; ...
Satya Nadella Microsoft CEO ... PING!

You can find all the Windows Ping list threads with FR search: just search on keyword "windowspinglist".

2 posted on 02/20/2019 9:10:29 PM PST by dayglored ("Listen. Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government."`)
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To: dayglored

Yeah, and they bought LinkedIn to monetize personal info the way Google and Facebook do. The company has also taken away a lot of consumer/business control over patching.


3 posted on 02/20/2019 9:26:03 PM PST by Dr. Sivana (There is no salvation in politics.)
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To: dayglored

Just how everyone wants to be remembered, you know, as that guy who ruthlessly cuts through detritus.


4 posted on 02/20/2019 9:30:21 PM PST by patriotred
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To: dayglored
Their analytics services are fantastic -

5 posted on 02/20/2019 9:35:16 PM PST by Cronos (Obama's dislike of Assad is not based on his brutality but that he isn't a jihadi Moslem)
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To: patriotred
Just how everyone wants to be remembered, you know, as that guy who ruthlessly cuts through detritus.

Microsoft needed it - Ballmer wasted billions trying to play catch-up in consumer technology with Apple. MS's investments in Azure are smart - hyperscalers are profitable and there need to be alternatives to AWS and Google.
6 posted on 02/20/2019 9:51:42 PM PST by AnotherUnixGeek
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To: AnotherUnixGeek

Ballmer and his fetish for trying to copy apple touchscreen interface icons, having the consumers slap it down because live tiles are stupid, and then saying he was doubling down on the Metro interface.
Saner heads prevailed for the most part on that.


7 posted on 02/20/2019 10:18:53 PM PST by Darksheare (Those who support liberal "Republicans" summarily support every action by same.)
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To: dayglored

Google, on the other hand is chaotic evil.


8 posted on 02/20/2019 11:28:46 PM PST by Crucial
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To: dayglored

Anyone know if the Windows 7 update issue from January has been solved yet? I’d like to do the updates, but don’t want to create problems. THANKS!


9 posted on 02/21/2019 2:29:05 AM PST by MayflowerMadam (Jeremiah 1:5 - "Before I formed thee ... I knew thee.")
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To: MayflowerMadam

I’m still hoping MicroThief will extend the service of Windows 7 past the 2020 cutoff.....


10 posted on 02/21/2019 3:39:28 AM PST by ducttape45 ("Righteousness exalteth a nation; but sin is a reproach to any people." Proverbs 14:34)
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To: MayflowerMadam

I’ve got Win-7 Pro x64 and another desktop unit Win-7 Pro x32, and the installation was “successful”; no problems encountered. YMMV.


11 posted on 02/21/2019 4:55:49 AM PST by carriage_hill (A society grows great when old men plant trees, in whose shade they know they will never sit.)
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To: carriage_hill

Great. Thanks so much!


12 posted on 02/21/2019 5:14:39 AM PST by MayflowerMadam (Jeremiah 1:5 - "Before I formed thee ... I knew thee.")
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To: dayglored

He has seen to it that only Indians are hired at Microsoft. More than half their employees are now marble mouths.


13 posted on 02/21/2019 5:43:36 AM PST by CodeToad ( Hating on Trump is hating on me and America!.)
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To: CodeToad
He has seen to it that only Indians are hired at Microsoft. More than half their employees are now marble mouths.

That was as predictable as the rising of the sun. Once an Indian is in a position to hire, you'll never see another American come in the door, or probably even interviewed.

14 posted on 02/21/2019 6:35:42 AM PST by zeugma (Power without accountability is fertilizer for tyranny.)
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To: zeugma

True


15 posted on 02/21/2019 11:43:00 AM PST by miliantnutcase
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To: Cronos

My VP is obsessed with Gartner.


16 posted on 02/21/2019 11:43:39 AM PST by miliantnutcase
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To: dayglored

But Google can give you an ear you never knew you had: Google says the built-in microphone it never told Nest users about http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/3729244/posts


17 posted on 02/21/2019 1:30:35 PM PST by daniel1212 (Trust the risen Lord Jesus to save you as a damned and destitute sinner + be baptized + follow Him)
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To: daniel1212

“Pay no attention to the man^H^H^Hmicrophone behind the curtain...”


18 posted on 02/21/2019 2:59:38 PM PST by dayglored ("Listen. Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government."`)
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To: dayglored

Nadella hasn’t overseen creation of a single new service or product. He has merely cut/focused.

Ballmer should get far more credit for current stock market success.


19 posted on 02/21/2019 4:49:22 PM PST by nicollo (I said no!)
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To: nicollo
Granted that things like Office 365 got their start while Ballmer was CEO. But his focus was entirely on Windows as a product to the near-exclusion of all else. His famous laughing dismissal of the iPhone and the disastrous Nokia affair are indications of how out-of-touch he had become with what the market was actually doing.

His maniacal animosity toward open source and Linux in particular made no sense and caused people to move away from Microsoft's uber-proprietary stance.

He can get credit for some of the things that got started on his watch, but had he remained CEO for the past five years, I believe Microsoft would not be prospering as it is, and would be both a technical and business laughingstock, despite its remaining grip on the dwindling desktop market.

20 posted on 02/21/2019 5:02:58 PM PST by dayglored ("Listen. Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government."`)
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