Calling Microsoft, which has been one of the most well-known companies for decades, an underdog might sound a bit hyperbolic. But 10 years ago, things were different.
had fallen behind – at least in terms of perception – the bigwigs of Silicon Valley. Apple’s cult had started to grow quite a bit, Facebook’s star was on the rise, and Google wore the badge of coolness.
Microsoft wasn’t a fuddy-duddy but didn’t really have that — in public perception — standout factor.
took the reins in 2014, the tech giant faced challenges and questions about its future. It had crashed and burned in the smartphone market and while
was a steady Eddie, Microsoft’s stock prices were going sideways. Microsoft was valued at $300 billion when
took over and Today, it stands as one of the world’s most valuable company, exceeding a $3 trillion market cap. Nadella made bold pivots, strategic acquisitions, and bet on
Nadella’s most significant achievement lies in steering Microsoft’s successful
. On his day one as CEO of Microsoft, Nadella reportedly said, “the world is about cloud first, mobile first”. He recognised the potential of cloud services early on, championing the development of Azure, which now rivals Amazon Web Services for dominance. This strategic shift propelled Microsoft into the lucrative cloud market, generating exponential revenue growth and attracting new business streams.
Nadella also understood the need to move beyond Microsoft’s traditional Windows-centric approach. Windows was — and to an extent still is — Microsoft’s flagship product but it has broadened its horizons smartly. Acquisitions like GitHub and LinkedIn helped in expanding Microsoft’s reach into software development and professional networking. Additionally, Nadella’s aggressive investment in gaming, including the much-talked about acquisition of Activision Blizzard, solidified Microsoft’s position in the ever-growing gaming industry.
AI is now the mantra for almost every tech company. But it was sometime in 2017 when Nadella in an earlier interview mentioned the importance of AI. He said, “AI is perhaps the most transformative thing that’s ever happened.” Keeping that in mind, Microsoft made a $1 billion investment in then lesser-known AI startup called OpenAI. Courtesy ChatGPT,
is now the most popular AI company in the world. Microsoft extended its partnership and invested another $10 billion and has integrated AI in almost all of its platforms.
Surpassing Apple’s valuation — albeit briefly — is a significant achievement and something not many would have envisaged when Nadella took over. Under Nadella’s aegis, Microsoft has transformed from a traditional software giant to a multifaceted tech leader.A solid push and focus on AI and Nadella’s proven track record, not many would bet against Nadella and Microsoft in the next few years.