So, Microsoft finally made some big moves this week by announcing a new CEO. A safe choice in Satya Nadella, but perhaps the bigger story here is of Gates finally agreeing to spend more of his time with the company going forward. It sheds a little light on the company’s plans for the future.
More time, in tune of more than a third — which essentially means half his time will be divided on his charity work and the other half at the software titan.
This begs the question what exactly will change at Redmond now that Bill Gates has returned to the company he co-founded all those decades back? What sort of a revolution will this new leadership team bring around at the company?
Want the short answer? Not much.
Microsoft is now well set on a path, the One Microsoft philosophy that Steve Ballmer initiated. Obviously, the strings were controlled from above, the former CEO was just executing it. But this is a path that the company will tread on for the near future.
The company is now well on its path to transition into a devices and services firm, instead of just a software provider of ye olden times. The board put up a strategy in place back in 2013, and that is where it is headed. The choice of CEO choice makes it crystal clear. No adventures, none whatsoever.
The important thing is that this new strategy is yet to bear any results at all — we are still in the application phase right now. And while things have been slow to pick up on more fronts than one, we are still a year or two away from the final verdict of just how effective this touch-heavy approach is.
With the shuffle in upper management, three people are now in control of the Redmond Empire. CEO Satya Nadella, Product Advisor Bill Gates, and Chairman John Thompson. How the company moves forwards depends a lot upon how these three chaps get along.
The good news is that all three are sane, stable and sound heads, so we can not only expect plenty of sensible and reasonable decisions from the top, but also some transformative alterations where (and when) needed. The way things are going, some variations will be needed, even if the direction is set.
Bill Gates may not be the most radically innovative person in technology, but he is a guy that is aware of the little details. He was force that made Windows what it is in the 90s. And when it comes to UI design, all major platforms are working on set patterns of mouse, keyboard, and now touch usage.
But his return to a more active role in the company will now mean the top leadership is well prepared in the four areas that count — technology, management, business and details. Satya will provide technology and management expertise, while Gates should take care of the final two.
Combine all these factors and the company seems well set to head towards a different direction in the years to come. A direction different to the circles it was going on in the recent past.
Redmond’s modern operating platforms (Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8) really are all about the touch heavy Modern UI. A throwback to the 90s, a new interface to do old tasks. And there is where Bill Gates will have his say, in refining the experience, just like he did in the good old days.
Hold on to your lunches, people! A new dawn is upon us, either way.