"Be bold, but be right". This was the only advice given to current Microsoft (MSFT) CEO Satya Nadella when assuming the post from Steve Ballmer. Since Nadella took over in February 2014 as head of Microsoft for Ballmer, he has certainly been both. Nadella joined Microsoft in 1992 to make the world a better place. His history within the company is well known and made him uniquely qualified to take Microsoft in a new direction as its leader. Mr. Nadella's formerly held positions include heading up R&D for Online Services, executive Vice president of Cloud and Enterprise division and Vice President of Microsoft Business Division. Microsoft's focus under his charge has been a future forward vision which has seen several serious moves that have shaken things up. Anchored in advancing their cloud technology and offering Microsoft as a service, the company is clear about where it is headed, unlike in previous years.Last years release of widely touted Windows 10 has been a big success thus far with over 200 million current active users taking advantage of the free upgrade. A recently re-formed Microsoft Research team is constantly creating new products that with the current ease of flow in information, will reach the market faster than ever before. A prime example is Skype Translator, a project Nadella oversaw when he first took over. After discovering the underlying potential, he fast tracked the project and now conversations in a variety of languages can be translated in real time. The company's innovative arm has sped up search engine Bing and are constantly honing their newly developed HoloLens technology. Office for iOS and Office 365 have been huge hits, while Microsoft has been making waves in the enterprise market with their advances in cloud computing services highlighted by Azure. The company is further expanding their reach into the cloud market by offering services in the UK and will be extending into other markets soon. Microsoft is seeing success from building off core competencies and looking to make a bigger impact in education across the globe. With the computing power of the cloud, it is now possible to use new technologies to address the world's problems in ways never seen before. The best way to advance these technologies and strengthen their impacts is to get them into the hands of young people. In education and academic applications, Apple (AAPL) and Alphabet (GOOG) are the industry leaders but Microsoft is gaining ground. Last year the company introduced its first ever laptop, the Surface Book, which has been met with very positive reviews. Microsoft has shown its committed to developing products for the future and has even sold parts of maps technology and imagery operations to Uber. Bold moves like this are what has kept Microsoft competitive in the industry and sent its stock soaring up 50% since Satya Nadella took over February 2014.
One of Nadella's first moves after taking the reigns was to announce a restructuring that would include cutting close to 18,000 jobs, about 15% of the company's entire workforce at the time. The goals of the plan were to enhance the effectiveness of communication within Microsoft from top to bottom and evaluate each division to create more streamlined processes that would increase efficiency. Cleaning up a $7.6 Billion blunder in the acquisition of Nokia would certainly prove to be the biggest test of Nadella's short stint as CEO and he was more than up to the task. Taking swift action to correct a widely questioned move by his predecessor, Nadella cutting out almost half of the 25,000 employees that came to Microsoft from Nokia was a big start. This was followed by a company wide restructure that has resulted in a leaner, meaner Microsoft.
Nadella has proven adept at focusing on core strengths and cutting away the extras to build a better Microsoft. One of his core company concepts is to empower the people of the world with the tools necessary to change and improve it. Committing the company to donate $1 billion worth of cloud services over the next 3 years while working with underdeveloped countries to create an Internet for everyone is going a big way toward accomplishing its goals. With a clear vision of where he wants to company to go, Nadella is taking Microsoft in an entirely new direction. To this point he has been very bold and so far, he's been right.