Resellers have cheered the appointment of Satya Nadella as Microsoft's new chief executive, claiming his background in enterprise will be great news for the channel.
Yesterday, the software giant ended a six-month search to replace Steve Ballmer by announcing former cloud and enterprise boss Satya Nadella (pictured) as his successor. During his 22 years at Microsoft, Nadella has led research and development for its Online Services division and was also vice president for its Business segment.
Last summer, Ballmer - who now sits on the board of directors - unveiled a massive reorganisation of the company, which he wanted to become a devices and services giant and not just one which sells software.
Softcat's managing director Colin Brown (pictured right) said Nadella's appointment reflects the changes Microsoft is making and says a lot about its future goals.
"It's a clear signal that Microsoft's big focus is getting back to its roots and having a tech focus," he said. "Satya is definitely a geek - that's not an insult; it's a badge of pride! - and [his appointment] harks back towards Gates running the company.
"Microsoft has a big sales engine but it's a tech company at heart and so this is a good signal."
Chris Dunning, managing director of Microsoft "born in the cloud" reseller TechQuarters, was positive about what choosing Nadella indicates about the vendor's attitude towards cloud technology.
"It's fantastic news," he said. "It is very clear they are backing the cloud and having someone with that much passion and drive and commitment to [cloud] over the last few years is a signal to the market that that's the way we're going."
SoftwareOne's boss Zak Virdi agreed and said promoting an internal candidate will ensure a smooth transition.
"External candidates bring new ideas but understanding the business is of huge value as well," he said. "Microsoft has been a leader now - on-premise and with cloud offerings - and because they have had a more unique approach, they have used investment and research to bring up [a candidate] internally - it is good to drive [the company] forward."
Microsoft founder Bill Gates also stood down from his role as chairman yesterday, becoming technology advisor at the firm instead, and promised to closely support Nadella in his new role.
"Everyone knows and respects [Gates] so it can only help really," added TechQuarters' Dunning.
But analyst TechMarketView (TMV) was less enthusiastic about the appointment and said leading Microsoft as a first-time chief exec is a mammoth task.
"[Nadella] has a good grasp of business but has never run a company," said TMV research director Angela Eager on the analyst's blog.
"Heading up the challenged giant that is Microsoft would be a stretch for anyone and particularly for a first-time CEO. Nadella is a good appointment and with the CEO role decided Microsoft can get back to work, but it does not look like there will be radical change."
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