The software behemoth tapped
But who is incoming-Microsoft chief Nadella?
"His vision for how technology will be used and experienced around the world is exactly what Microsoft needs as the company enters its next chapter of expanded product innovation and growth," Gates said in a statement.
In contrast to Ballmer, known as a rowdy basketball fan and pickup game player with aggressive elbows, Nadella is a bookish and soft-spoken type, with hobbies of cricket and poetry.
Nadella speaks of the "humbling" and "incredible honor" to take the lead at Microsoft along with a passion to continue to educate himself through classes and books.
"I've been fortunate to work closely with both Bill and Steve in my different roles at Microsoft, and as I step in as CEO, I've asked Bill to devote additional time to the company, focused on technology and products," Nadella said in an e-mail memo to employees on his first day as CEO.
Nadella, 46, drove the server and tools business growth until 2013 and led as onetime Bing boss. Analysts say his engineering strength bodes well inside Microsoft.
"He's well-respected and thought of as a strong leader -- I don't know if he's thought of as visionary," says reDesign analyst
"I've been married for 22 years and we have 3 kids. And like anyone else, a lot of what I do and how I think has been shaped by my family and my overall life experiences. Many who know me say I am also defined by my curiosity and thirst for learning. I buy more books than I can finish. I sign up for more online courses than I can complete. I fundamentally believe that if you are not learning new things, you stop doing great and useful things. So family, curiosity and hunger for knowledge all define me," he wrote.
Still, he's gained a lot of clout inside the
"He's recognized for the transition to the cloud," says IDC analyst
Nadella should get the respect and intellectual buy-in from longtime employees on day one, says
"The time frame required for an external hire to come online and really be effective is incredibly lengthy," Miller says.
"Microsoft needs leadership that can hit the ground running, rather than hiring someone who has to make brute force guesses to appease the critics outside of Microsoft."
But can he redirect Microsoft to a good position in mobile to gain favor among consumers? IDC's Hilwa says he's known as a transformative thinker who has so far injected agility into the lumbering software maker.
"What's going to define Microsoft going forward is a mobile-first, cloud-first world. … The question for us is how do we thrive in that world -- what new innovation can we bring?" Nadella said in a company webcast Monday.
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