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Nadella in India for first holiday as Microsoft boss

December 25, 2014 11:16 IST

For Microsoft so far, Nadella has proved a Santa

Satya Nadella is in the country to spend his first Christmas with his family after taking up the top job at Microsoft. While it is largely a personal visit for the India-born chief executive of the American software titan, he will be addressing Microsoft's employees in India on Friday.

For Microsoft so far, Nadella has proved a Santa. Microsoft’s revenues - after Nadella at the helm for three quarters - have risen 14 per cent to $67 billion. Microsoft’s stock has also risen by about a third this year and nearly twice in the past year and a half, hitting a 14-year high.

His stint at Microsoft has been marked with bold policy shifts, aimed at putting the world’s largest technology company back on the innovation path. The measures, including shedding some of the company’s proprietary lineage and making its software more compatible with rivals Google and Apple, have been applauded by both the Wall Street and sector watchers.

Over the past few days, Nadella has been spending time with his parents, who live in Hyderabad, sources said. The agenda for the official meeting - the only slotted during this visit - is to discuss “how Microsoft is gearing up to reinvent productivity in a mobile-first, cloud-first world”. The entire Microsoft India team has been asked to be present for the meeting - either physically or through video-conferencing.

‘Mobile-first, cloud-first’ has been Nadella’s anthem since he took over as chief executive. The company recently announced the next version of its operating system, the Windows 10, which will work across all platforms, from the most traditional (desktops) to the most modern (the internet of things).

While it has also made its Office suite (Word, Excel and PowerPoint) - one of its biggest revenue earners - free for devices running on Apple’s and Google’s operating systems (OS), all devices smaller than nine inches will get the Windows OS free. It has also made free cloud storage and part of the code of the .NET software, used by millions of developers for building and operating websites and other large online applications.

Nadella’s current visit is in contrast to his earlier trip in September, when he met various industry stakeholders and made quite a few public speeches, specifically announcing the setting up of local data centres in India.

Nadella has been visiting his parents in Hyderabad during Christmas holidays every few years since he moved to the US, a person who has known Nadella for several years said requesting anonymity. This is his second trip since he became the Microsoft chief in February this year. The 47-year-old Nadella replaced Steve Ballmer in February this year as CEO.

Nadella went to the Hyderabad Public School in Begumpet in the city before getting an engineering degree in electronics and communication from Manipal University. He worked at Sun Microsystems before joining Microsoft in 1992. During the 22 years before he became the chief, Nadella was   the senior vice-president of research and development in the online services division, and vice-president of the business division at Microsoft. Nadella is widely considered to be the man behind bringing Microsoft’s database, Windows server and developer tools to its Azure cloud.

Some work, some play

Itika Sharma Punit & Surabhi Agarwal in Bengaluru/New Delhi
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