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Satya Nadella and Bill Gates: Microsoft's Batman and Robin?

Bill Gates is coming back to work at Microsoft three days a week.

Big news out of the world’s biggest software maker today: After a months-long search, Microsoft has officially hired insider Satya Nadella as its new CEO. The 22-year company veteran is its third chief executive.

Our own Ben Johnson of the Marketplace Tech Report has been following the story. He says the announcement isn’t a big surprise – Nadella had worked on Bing and Azure, Microsoft’s successful cloud computing platform.

The question now: What’s next for Microsoft?

Johnson says:

"They’re moving a lot of [their] software onto the cloud -- basically, [making] a way for us to access these kinds of powerful tools, either as a business or as a single consumer, via the internet. Now, there’s another side of this – there’s Xbox, there’s the  Microsoft surface, which not very many people I know have. And then there’s the Windows phone, which is a product of Nokia now, and a space for Microsoft to grow in the hardware area. My guess is that Satya Nadella is going to work on the former more than the latter… what [he] is going to be focused on is big data and innovation in this area of cloud computing."

 

The other interesting nugget to come out of the CEO announcement is that Bill Gates, the founder of the company, will be leaving his position as chairman and will be something of a special tech adviser to Nadella:

"It is a little bit confusing and a little bit weird that Bill Gates is still around. I think what this tag-team, Bill Gates-Satya Nadella, Batman-and-Robin thing might be about is Bill Gates is sort of getting back involved in the company. He’s going to be working at the company three days a week, instead of dealing with investors. And he’s going be a sort of support to Satya Nadella. He’s going to be the reminder that the person who built this company is still involved in the day to day."

Nadella's got some "I built this" cred of his own, however – his cloud computing department at Microsoft is now is a $19 billion business. 

About the author

Lizzie O'Leary is the new host of Marketplace Weekend.
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