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I’m a fan of Satya Nadella – he had my vote as CEO early on and I couldn’t be happier with what he has done so far as CEO of Microsoft.  Last week was Microsoft’s most exciting event in years (or maybe ever) and a chance to see how his strategy is manifesting itself in reality. Internally at ThreeWill, we started talking on Yammer about how much we wanted the Microsoft Book as our next standard for our laptops.  This got me thinking about what has happened since the “Sayta Nadella strategy” took over at Microsoft and why his strategy is working.

Act Win/Win

Satya Nadella believes in win/win. Rather than compete, he sees working with some of the traditional competitors. This is probably most evident in the relationship between Microsoft and Salesforce. A couple of weeks ago, Satya was a Keynote speaker at Dreamforce – if you told me that the CEO of Microsoft would be keynoting at Dreamforce five years ago I would have called you crazy. Now, the two companies are cranking out integrations (we helped with Chatter for SharePoint and have built other integrations like Trove and Channel).  I’d still like Microsoft to acquire Salesforce – maybe today’s news about Dell and EMC will help with that cause.

The Microsoft Experience

Part of the reason why I was attracted to the Apple ecosystem is because of how the products worked together. My first Apple device was an iPhone 3G and I’ve stuck with Apple loyally with the 4S and 5S upgrades. Through the years I started using an iPad for a larger screen and finally a MacBook Air because of my positive experience with other Apple devices and the integration between the products. I could see the reverse happening – getting a Microsoft Book later this year (covering both my laptop and tablet use cases), maybe trying out the Microsoft Band, and eventually going with a Microsoft Phone when my contract expires. I’m not saying I’m going to do this – just that the thought has entered my mind.

What Customers Want

Customers want choice. Customers want the big three (Apple, Google, and Microsoft) to compete and work together. With Microsoft building compelling apps on iOS and Android (Satya’s Apps Everywhere strategy), customers are beginning to expect app availability regardless of the mobile operating system. Customers want Apple to open up more (imagine Cortana on iOS) and Google to build for Microsoft (imagine native Google apps on Windows 10).  In the end, the competition from the big three will benefit everyone.

Net Promoter Score

One of the key takeaways from watching this intimate video of Satya’s vision for Microsoft is that he is focusing on metrics like Net Promoter Score more than other traditional metrics. The Net Promoter Score, itself, is calculated based on responses to a single question: How likely is it that you would recommend our company/product/service to a friend or colleague?  This reflects his long-term focus on the customer experience and will result in higher loyalty and ultimately higher revenues.

Smart Acquisitions

Microsoft purchased one of my favorite apps – Wunderlist Satya mentions it’s his favorite app as well in the video above. Many of these acquisitions have been of apps that worked just as well on iOS and Android. I’m sure this has helped as many of the traditional Microsoft apps have made their appearances on other platforms. Like the purchase of Yammer and the side benefit from learning how to put out software on quicker cycles, Microsoft has benefited from purchasing recent companies and has built an impressive quantity and quality of apps for the big mobile platforms.

The Culture of Microsoft is Improving

Perhaps the most difficult thing to do inside a company is improve the culture. From an outsider looking in,things are looking up for Microsoft. I’m seeing Facebook posts from colleagues at Microsoft about how proud they are to work at Microsoft. I’m listening to podcasts about Microsoft and rather than being apologetic about Microsoft, you get a sense that Microsoft has their mojo back.

What do you think about the Satya Nadella strategy? Why do you think it is (or isn’t) working?

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