Satya Nadella’s email to employees from a couple of a weeks ago generated a lot of press coverage, mostly centering on how he seemed to be de-emphasizing the importance of Windows. GeekWire has one article about Terry Myerson’s departure and another about Scott Guthrie’s new responsibilities. I’ve always liked Guthrie; he seems to be a good guy with a lot of good ideas. From what I understand, ASP.NET MVC was basically his idea. (From a Stephen Walther blog post: “ASP.NET MVC framework was originally created by Scott Guthrie on an airplane trip to Austin, Texas.” Also see Scott Hanselman’s write-up from back in 2007.)
I recently finished reading Nadella’s book Hit Refresh, so this news makes sense in light of the priorities he outlined there. I do think that Nadella has Microsoft on the right track. While they continue to do a lot of things that annoy me, they’re a lot better than they were back in the days when we’d refer to Windows as “Micro$oft Windoze”. They’ve been doing a really good job with their developer tools over the last few years, so that’s good for me. And I’m starting to play with Azure a bit, and they seem to have that on the right track too.
Ben Thompson has a good take on this stuff (as usual). I think his choice of title (“The End of Windows”) is a bit hyperbolic, but he hits on something interesting about Nadella’s leadership style: “Nadella’s most impressive bit of jujitsu was how he killed Windows Phone; while the platform had obviously been dead in the water for years, Nadella didn’t imperiously axe the program. Instead, by isolating Windows, he let the division’s leadership come to that conclusion on their own.”
I’d contrast this with the way Steve Jobs killed the Newton when he took over Apple from Gil Amelio, though maybe that’s not a fair comparison. (Which reminds me that I should probably read the Walter Isaacson Steve Jobs biography some day.)