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Nadella leaves no doubt about who is in charge in first six months as CEO

Juan Carlos Perez | Aug. 8, 2014
He's had his share of hits and misses but he's made his presence felt from the start

However, Nadella has said he is enthusiastic about the Surface Pro 3 computer, which Microsoft positions as a dual-use tablet and laptop, and about other Microsoft hardware products, like the Xbox gaming console and the large Perceptive Pixel displays.

En Pointe Technologies' Hogan said, however, that partners need Nadella to clarify the strategy around the Nokia devices. "He needs to be more in-depth about that. It's not clear where they're going with it," he said. "He's saying 'mobile first' but that's a bit unclear."

For Hogan, the Lumia smartphones are excellent for work, but lag iPhones and Android devices for personal use, and these days people expect their smartphones to be useful for both scenarios.

He's more positive on the Surface Pro 3, saying Microsoft really got it right with this third rev of the device, which En Pointe Technologies resells as well. "The product is robust and is starting to replace laptops," Hogan said.

The IFRC's Happ questions the wisdom of shutting down development on the Android phones Nokia had started to sell, saying the exclusive focus on the Windows Phone OS is short-sighted.

"The 'run on anything, anywhere' approach would have made more sense to me," Happ said. "I have no problem with making Nokia run best with the Windows Phone OS, but I doubt that taking the Apple closed ecosystem of hardware/software is repeatable, especially when you have such low market share."

Cleaning Windows
During these six months, Nadella has tackled Windows issues. He has said that it's a priority for Microsoft to continue the work on a more homogeneous code base that simplifies application development for the platform.

Nadella also approved the unprecedented move of giving away Windows to hardware vendors making devices with screens of 9 inches and smaller, a move to improve the OS' pitiful presence in tablets and smartphones against iOS and Android.

Nadella oversaw as well the launch of Windows Phone 8.1, a major update of the smartphone OS, which comes with the voice-controlled Cortana digital assistant, Microsoft's response to Apple's Siri and Google's Now, and with other major enhancements.

He also ushered in an update to Windows 8.1 aimed at disgruntled desktop users who had complained that Windows 8 and the first Windows 8.1 rev were inconvenient to use with mice and keyboards.

However, much work remains to be done on both OSes. Microsoft is reportedly working on the next major version of Windows. And the future is uncertain for Windows RT, the version of the OS for devices with ARM chips.

"He has to right the ship when it comes to Windows 8," Gold said. "While I don't see it as a total disaster as some have said, I do think that unless the next version of Windows addresses all the usability and functionality concerns of users, which will help adoption and quell the bad press, that Microsoft is going to face increasingly stiff competition -- from Apple to Android to ChromeOS -- as users try to find a compute environment they feel more comfortable with."


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