After a long buildup of anticipation, Microsoft has finally announced their new CEO to follow up on Steve Ballmer’s resignation late last year. His name is Satya Nadella and he’s a longtime veteran of Microsoft. While Nadella is a really solid choice for the position, the road ahead is not an easy one.
The industry is not the same as it was 10 years ago, and neither is Microsoft. Tough choices lie ahead regarding the direction of Microsoft’s massive, multi-pronged business strategy, and time will only tell if Nadella is up to the challenge.
Here are our top 5 suggestions for ways the new CEO can turn around Microsoft’s recent slump:
1. Expand The Xbox Brand
Xbox might not be Microsoft’s most profitable product, but it is arguably their most celebrated consumer household product ever. Widely beloved by fans and highly regarded by the industry, the Xbox brand is one that represents both futuristic experimental technology and mainstream accessibility. What’s more, Xbox has the ability to dip into a wide range of industries ranging from gaming to home automation. These are the good associations that Microsoft has lost in its Windows brand. So instead of segmenting the Xbox brand away from the rest of its business, perhaps it’s time to finally unite them—or at least their operating systems.
2. Make Their Acquisition of Nokia Mean Something
In case you hadn’t heard, Microsoft’s strategy in the mobile industry has been something of a mess. After all of Ballmer’s efforts to compete with Android in 2013, they still have an almost negligible share of the smartphone market—and have scared off nearly all of the OEMs in the tablet market with their line of Surface products. However, now that Microsoft owns Nokia and the Lumia line of mobile devices, they have a real chance to dive deep into the market and stake out a name for Microsoft. Whether it’s Windows Phone, Surface, Lumia, or Xbox-branded, Nadella has some choices to make—and the sooner they are made, the quicker he can lay the old strategies to rest.
3. Pre-empt the Takeover Of Chromebooks
People often call Chromebooks what Netbooks should have always been. They’re light, limited, and extremely cheap. They are the kind of laptops that have an absolutely massive target demographic, ranging from your teenager’s first laptop to a business executive’s work computer, it’s quickly becoming a significant alternative to the iPad and the ultrabook. While Microsoft still dominates the laptop and PC market, it needs to find a way to pre-empt the growth of Chromebooks if it hopes to secure the future of one of its most valuable markets.
4. Fix Windows 8
Windows 8 hasn’t been received well by pretty much anyone, but it was especially disdained by desktop users and those without touch screens. With each update, they’ve scaled back many of Windows 8’s most contentious features and have now even given OEMs the ability to skip the tile-based “Metro” system altogether. But rather than just dialing back new things, it’s time Microsoft really made the next best version of Windows—one that would actually give Windows 7 users something to be excited about.
5. Refocus on Enterprise Business
Considering Nadella’s background as the guy who transitioned Microsoft’s cloud service business, this is no doubt going to be his primary focus heading into his tenure. Enterprise has always been Microsoft’s most profitable business and expanding it into a robust strategy should be Nadella’s main prerogative. It’s all about
Luke Larsen is the tech editor at Paste Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter at @lalarsen11.