February 2014 \ News \ Satya Nadella
Software’s New Giant

It is a simple story of an ambitious and determined man. A story of an Indian boy from Hyderabad and his journey to the city of dreams—Washington. He is Satya Nadella, the new face of Microsoft

 The gem of India—Satya Nadella was born in Hyderabad, the city famous for pearls and diamonds. His father, B. N Yugandhar was a member of the Planning Commission. Nadella completed his education from Hyderabad Public School in Begumpet and pursued his graduation in Electronics and Communication Engineering from Manipal University.

In his days as a student in India at Manipal University, Satya Nadella was a persistent questioner. “When all other students would quietly listen to what I would teach, he always asked a lot of questions— ‘why does it have to be like this, why can’t we do it like this?’,” Harishchandra Hebbar, Digital Electronics faculty at Manipal University, was quoted to a magazine when asked about Nadella’s nature and interests as a student.

It was his fiery urge to make it big in the world that drove Nadella to move to the United States. He pursued his masters in Computer Science from University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee and to widen the horizons of opportunities, he also got a Master’s degree in Business Administration from the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago.

He knew it would be harder for him to work and make a mark in the foreign land but he was unwavering and there was nothing stopping him. "It's hard to find a single person who doesn't have a nice thing to say about him, which is rare when you are at the top echelons of a company," Ravi Venkatesan, former head of Microsoft's India operations told a news daily.

Nadella started off his tech career with Sun Microsystems as a member of technology staff. He joined Microsoft in 1992 and quickly climbed the corporate ladder with leading roles in the Office and Bing search-engine teams.

In Microsoft, Nadella worked as a senior vice president of Research and Development for the online services division and vice president of the Microsoft Business Division. He was then promoted to the president of Microsoft’s USD 19 billion Server and Tools Business in 2011. He brought revolution in the company's business and technology culture from client services to cloud infrastructure and services. Nadella has every now and then been credited for his brilliant work of bringing Microsoft's database and Windows server to its Azure cloud. It was under his leadership that the revenue from Cloud Services grew from USD 16.6 billion in 2011 to USD 20.3 billion in June 2013. He has proved his ability as a leader with the commercial cloud services division reporting 107 percent growth in revenue from a year ago. The unit currently is the backbone of Microsoft's cloud-computing platform. “Microsoft gravitated to Mr. Nadella, a 22-year Microsoft employee who is fluent in Microsoft’s rough-and-tumble culture and comes with the kind of strong technical skills that Mr. Gates was said to favor in a new leader,” the company’s board informed the media.

Nadella never tried to change his basic beliefs, derived strengths from his ethnicity and always believed in who he is. These are the reasons why Nadella emerged as the board’s choice to be appointed as CEO and lead the company that has about 100,000 employees and likely to add another 32,000 through its acquirement of Nokia’s mobile phone business.

The board of Microsoft Corporation has shown confidence in their decision. The board said to a newspaper that “Mr. Nadella would be able to quicken the pace of new products and innovation better than someone from the outside who would be less familiar with the company’s fractious politics,” one of the people with knowledge of its deliberations said. “Microsoft does not have a great track record of embracing outsiders brought into executive jobs.”

There were several high-profile names associated with the CEO position like Qualcomm’s Steve Mollenkopf, Ford’s Alan Mullaly, Nokia’s Stephen Elop, and Ericsson’s Hans Vestberg. However, it is reported that the search has reportedly been affected bymeddling from both Ballmer and Gates. It has been agreed to that an internal candidate such as Nadella would offer several advantages over an external one, as he would already be familiar with the company’s processes and has already worked in a number of different areas at Microsoft.

Despite the monumental successes of his career, Satya Nadella has remained an essentially Indian man. He has combined the dynamic energy of his job with the calm, collected character required to manage the equally central responsibility of a husband and father.

He is an inspiration for all the Indians. With his recent achievement, he has made it in the list of the Indians holding top executive level positions all across the world and making every Indian proud.