Talking tech since 2003

After six months of searching — and a very public one at that — Microsoft has finally named its new CEO to succeed the outgoing Steve Ballmer: Satya Nadella, formerly executive vice president of the company’s Cloud and Enterprise division. Rumors that Nadella was the favored candidate had been swirling for the past several weeks, and today the company confirmed the board of directors’ choice in a press release published this morning.

Said Nadella on the occasion of his promotion:

“Microsoft is one of those rare companies to have truly revolutionized the world through technology, and I couldn’t be more honored to have been chosen to lead the company. The opportunity ahead for Microsoft is vast, but to seize it, we must focus clearly, move faster and continue to transform. A big part of my job is to accelerate our ability to bring innovative products to our customers more quickly.”

“More quickly” is apparently one of Nadella’s strong suits. A post on CNET regarding the news says that Nadella is responsible for accelerating Microsoft’s development time, breaking the company’s engineers of an 18-month release cycle. The fact that Microsoft was able to flip the script with a new and improved Surface Pro 2 mere months after the first one was released is proof enough that the company is already reaping the benefits of Nadella’s focus on agile innovation.

While Nadella being named CEO is the top story out of Microsoft today, it’s coupled with a story nearly as big: company founder Bill Gates has stepped down as chairman of the board of directors and will take on the new role of “Founder and Technology Advisor.” Just what, exactly, this role will mean for the company moving forward isn’t entirely clear, but it stands to reason that his new position will go a long way toward Microsoft’s efforts to get ahead of the innovation curve. Between the two of them, hopefully Microsoft can figure out a way to speed up Windows 8 and 8.1 adoption and finally put XP to bed.

It seems that Nadella has big plans for helping the company find that future. The new CEO wrote an email to Microsoft’s employees describing his dream for the company’s future, though, of course, there was little to no concrete plan articulated. That said, I gleaned nods toward embracing the smart-home, with devices all connected via the cloud:

“I believe over the next decade computing will become even more ubiquitous and intelligence will become ambient. The coevolution of software and new hardware form factors will intermediate and digitize — many of the things we do and experience in business, life and our world. This will be made possible by an ever-growing network of connected devices, incredible computing capacity from the cloud, insights from big data, and intelligence from machine learning.”

Think Google is working to rule your home with its recent acquisition of Nest? Just wait until Microsoft knocks on your door.

It’ll be interesting to see what changes Nadella brings to the table as CEO. Will Microsoft be able to make good on his promises of innovation and agility? Or is this new boss going to be the same as the old boss? We’ll have to watch and see.

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