A startup CEO and ex-Microsoftie shares the ‘unbelievable’ moment Satya Nadella changed Microsoft: ‘We’re not in Kansas anymore’ (MSFT)

  • Microsoft was once notorious for cutthroat competition and prioritizing its Windows operating system over the rest of the company. Former CEO Steve Ballmer once even called competing operating system Linux a “cancer.”
  • Current CEO Satya Nadella changed that sentiment early on in his tenure in a moment longtime Microsoft veteran Joe Duffy told Business Insider was an “unbelievable, ‘we’re not in Kansas anymore'” moment.
  • Nadella’s leadership of the company will be under a microscope this week as Microsoft reports quarterly and fiscal year earnings amid the pandemic.
  • Analysts expect strong results driven by the company’s cloud business, which is a typical headline for Microsoft’s earnings reports. Analysts are expecting quarterly earnings of $1.37 per share, on revenue of $36.5 billion.
  • Are you a current or former Microsoft employee? Contact this reporter via encrypted messaging app Signal (+1-425-344-8242) or email (astewart@businessinsider.com).
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Joe Duffy remembers the moment Satya Nadella changed Microsoft. 

Duffy spent more than a dozen years with the company before leaving in September 2016 to startup cloud-infrastructure startup Pulumi. He worked mostly under former CEO Steve Ballmer until current CEO Satya Nadella took over in February 2014.

Early on in his tenure, Nadella called on Microsoft to make the company’s .NET developer framework open-source and available on rival operating systems Linux and Apple’s MacOS.

Nadella’s leadership of the company will be under a microscope this week as Microsoft reports quarterly and fiscal year earnings amid the pandemic. Analysts expect strong results driven by the company’s cloud business, which is a typical headline for Microsoft’s earnings reports. Analysts are expecting quarterly earnings of $1.37 per share, on revenue of $36.5 billion.

A huge part of that growth will likely come from Azure, Microsoft’s cloud computing platform – a platform that is now being used more to run the Linux operating system than Windows. That’s a stat that may have been unthinkable in the days before Nadella.

“Before Satya, if a project didn’t accrue value to Windows, it wasn’t even worth discussing,” Duffy told Business Insider. So Nadella’s embrace of rival operating systems was a big reversal. “It was an unbelievable, ‘we’re not in Kansas anymore’ moment for me and the team.”

Microsoft used to be notorious for priotizing the company’s Windows operating system over the rest of the company. So much so that the company canceled what would would have been an early competitor to Apple’s iPad, called the Courier tablet, because it may have undermined Windows. Likewise, Microsoft once shunned Linux, once considered the biggest threat to Windows. Ballmer once called it a “cancer.” 

Nadella, on the other hand, has a different perspective.

“I ordered the whole team MacBooks and saw an overnight shift in mindset within the organization,” Duffy said. “Everybody’s eyes were instantly opened to the broader opportunity ahead for Microsoft and a new kind of optimism immediately infused the whole culture.”

The anecdote is an example of Nadella’s overarching strategy to ruthless prioritize the company’s strengths, particularly in the cloud computer business, make difficult decisions about what’s working and what’s not, and partner even with competitors when necessary. 

Microsoft recently made significant changes to its business by permanently closing all of its retail stores and sell its consumer products through retail partners, and to shut down its Mixer video game streaming platform and partner with Facebook Gaming — changes that appear in line with strategy Nadella first signaled back when he directed Duffy’s team to embrace MacOS and Linux.

“Satya clearly understood the importance of embracing a broader ecosystem, especially when it comes to developers who largely left the Windows platform years before this moment,” Duffy said.

Got a tip? Contact Ashley Stewart via email at astewart@businessinsider.com, message her on Twitter @ashannstew, or send her a secure message through Signal at 425-344-8242.

View original article here Source