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You could hardly imagine a similar moment in a German TV-program: at a round table on CNBC Jim Cramer, a US-American TV-personality with his own show all about „Mad Money“, was asked about his opinion on the further development of Microsoft. And instead of tech-talks he answered with an ardent declaration of love addressing Microsoft´s CEO Satya Nadella: “I´m in awe at what this man has done” in the last five years, he said. And he added: his achievements (and those of other fantastic CEOs) could make America great again.
And this to the first foreign-born CEO at Microsoft, who grew up at Hyderabad, studied at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, worked for 27 years for Microsoft, took over the helm as CEO from Steve Ballmer five years ago – and who turned 52 recently. During his five years as CEO Microsoft´s market capitalization rose about 200 percent into the “one-trillion-region“.
US-American talk shows always follow the same script: Not one, but two experts were confronted by the anchorman with a topic. And the conquest for airtime is fought out by the controversy of opinion instead of a broad agreement of the two counterparts. Jim Cramer got furious upon the reply, Satya Nadella´s reputation might be so high, because the expectations were so low when he came in. Cramer broke out: „There is a tone to him, that is a tone you never hear out there. And it’s a level of sweetness – I use that word – of kindness…” And after being interrupted, he went on: “I trashed every executive in America. I have every right to [say that]…”
To hear such words concerning German DAX-leaders would be unimaginable – be it on public service broadcast or on commercial television. But what has the two-fisted real-life check to say about the man and his achievements, who brought a company, that was nearly off, back on track by refocusing from Windows to cloud with his „Intelligent Cloud – Intelligent Edge“ strategy?
- Out of three stacks: Microsoft has divided its product offerings into three units: „Productivity and Business Processes“ with Office 365, Skype, LinkedIn and Dynamics 365; „Intelligent Cloud“ comprises Azure, Visual Studio and Windows Server; Windows itself, Xbox, Microsoft Surface, HoloLens and Bing are part of „More Personal Computing“. – The majority of revenue comes from the first and second unit and is mainly business to business.
- AI for everyone and everything: Though „Artificial Intelligence“ as a term is only reflected in the unit´s name „Intelligent Cloud“, AI-technologies like analytics, machine learning or cognitive computing are part of nearly every product. Azure is becoming the cloud-platform for a community of several million developers, who use open source, AI development kits and cloud-services to build rich and AI-driven applications.
- Everything´s Cloud: And on the other hand practically every product announcement enriches – as a cloud-service – the Azure platform. Thus Microsoft utilizes the metrics of a platform economy on every business level: for deployment of new releases along the enterprise; with the channel incentives for the (still not enough) cloud partners; as a migration path of the customer´s IT into the cloud; and by developing new and disruptive business models based on products, which customers enhance with cloud-services.
- Everything „for the greater good“: for months Microsoft combines its product offerings with AI-technology for its altruistic ambitions in the means of social responsibility in i.e. health care, biodiversity, agriculture or to build smart cities.
When Satya Nadella tells employees, partners and customers that growth is not a big thing to accomplish in these days, since technology expenditures rise from five percent of the world´s GDP to ten percent anyway, this indeed sounds humble, modest and calm. What he doesn´t say is, that it takes enormous efforts to understand the means of these needs and to meet them with the right products and technology. But obviously he succeeds in doing the right thing at the right time better than everyone else. If there were more like him in the corridors of power in politics and economy America would indeed be great again – and not big-mouthed as it is today.