Nadella’s success at Microsoft probably depends on Gates

Ballmer_Gates_NadellaMicrosoft has a new CEO in former cloud and server chief Satya Nadella and readers have been asking me what this means? Certainly Nadella was the least bad of the internal candidates but an external selection would have been better. Whether it works out well or not probably comes down to Bill Gates, who leaves his job as chairman to become Nadella’s top technical advisor.

You might ask why Nadella, whose technical chops are easily the equal of BillG’s (and a lot more recent, too) would even need Gates in that advisory role? I believe the answer lies in my recent column where I argued that the best new Microsoft CEO would be Gates, […]

Bill Gates and the non-prediction prediction

bill-gates-steve-ballmer-microsoftFollowing my #1 prediction yesterday of dire consequences in 2014 for Microsoft some readers challenged me to say what should happen this year in Redmond to right the ship. Is it even possible? So here’s my answer which isn’t in the form of a prediction because I doubt that it will actually happen. But if it actually does come to pass, well then I told you so.

At this point in Microsoft’s history the only CEO who could follow Steve Ballmer and be more or less guaranteed to be successful is Bill Gates. I think Bill should take back his old job for awhile.

This line of thinking was suggested to me, by the way, […]

Why Microsoft really bought Nokia


hi-nokia-elop-ballmer
This column, the obvious post on Microsoft buying most of Nokia, is arriving later than I had hoped because we had an Internet failure today at our house on the side of a mountain in Sonoma County near Santa Rosa. We’re 15 minutes from town but the terrain is such that there’s no cellphone service from any carrier, we’re beyond the reach of DSL, there is no cable TV, so our only choices for Internet access are crappy satellite Internet or non-crappy  fixed wireless, which we get from an ISP called CDS1.net. That connection is really good since the ISP’s tower in this part of the county is about 200 feet from my office window.  It’s […]

Microsoft, Ballmer, and the end of the PC era

Steve-Ballmer2So Steve Ballmer is leaving Microsoft a year from now: what kind of schedule is that? It’s one thing, I suppose, for a company to point out that they have a retirement policy or a succession plan, or even to just give the universe of potential Microsoft CEOs a heads-up that the job is coming open, but I don’t think that’s what this is about at all. It’s about the stock. Like in baseball, when all else fails to get the team out of a slump, fire the manager. And sure enough, Microsoft shares are up eight percent as I write. Ballmer himself is $1 billion richer than he was yesterday. I wonder if he […]

Accidental Empires, Chapter 14 — Counter-Reformation

os2warpACCIDENTAL EMPIRES

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

COUNTER-REFORMATION

In Prudhoe Bay, in the oilfields of Alaska’s North Slope, the sun goes down sometime in late November and doesn’t appear again until January, and even then the days are so short that you can celebrate sunrise, high noon, and sunset all with the same cup of coffee. The whole day looks like that sliver of white at the base of your thumbnail.

It’s cold in Prudhoe Bay in the wintertime, colder than I can say or you would believe—so cold that the folks who work for the oil companies start their cars around October and leave them running twenty-four hours a day clear through […]