Satya Nadella at six months: Grading Microsoft's new CEO

The future emerging for Microsoft under Nadella is a mixed bag of hope and turmoil

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Overall grade

How you rate Satya Nadella overall depends very much on what you value. If you're looking at stock price and financials -- certainly a worthwhile barometer -- he's done exceptionally well in a short period of time, and he'll likely continue to do well. In that regard, he definitely gets an A.

If you're a Nokia employee, your perspective might be a bit different.

Looking at Nadella's performance from the point of view of a stuck-in-the-mud, old-fashioned Windows and Office guy, he's clearly not all that interested in my dying technology. I give him a C–, extending the benefit of the doubt largely because he is keeping Windows and Office alive, although he won't tell us much about what it's going to look like. Also, there may actually be progress with Surface ... some day.

Putting on my other hat, as an enthusiastic tablet toter, phone puncher, and media consumer, I still don't see any signs that Microsoft will come up with something that'll turn my head. I'm not a dual user, and I don't want to be a dual user, although I'll begrudgingly admit that Office for iPad is a treat. Let's call the consumer recap a C.

From the enterprise point of view, with cloud deployment inevitable and prices falling rapidly, I'm tempted to give Nadella a B+. He's certainly running hard to catch up with -- and in some cases beat -- Amazon.

One thing's for sure: Microsoft wouldn't have survived another six months of devices and services.

Satya Nadella's six-month review
Strategic vision


Nadella's "mobile-first, cloud-first" mantra is legit
Tactical vision


Nadella's "re-inventing productivity” is little more than a catchphrase


Warmed-over Ballmer-speak, with a liberal sprinkling of corporate BS
Executive team


All is well on the executive front
Human resources


The rank-and-file are taking it in the shorts, and not only in Finland
Platform support


Platform agnosticism, the antithesis of "Windows first," is Microsoft’s best bet
Enterprise devices


The Surface Pro 3 is hardly enough for a bona fide hardware division
Consumer devices


Xbox? Puh-lease
Cloud services


Well planned and executed -- Nadella's been running a good cloud show for a long time
Consumer vision


The first time your Windows wristwatch blue screens, you'll know the true pain of "dual use"
Windows vision


Little insight or direction for Windows beyond marketing drivel
Corporate value


20 percent stock increase in six months -- enough said
Corporate financials


Nadella's impact will show up in numbers next year, but his old job had big effect on record revenues
Wall Street


Stock price and financials? Nadella's done exceptionally well in short order


He's clearly not all that interested in my dying technology


Don't see any signs that Microsoft will come up with something that'll turn heads


Nadella's running hard to catch up with -- and in some cases beat -- Amazon

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