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Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella was almost an Amazon employee

If the beloved portal jumping show Sliders is to be believed, there is a world in which Microsoft continued down the path of Windows Phones and Windows 8 with a “Windows Only” mentality while online mega-retailer Amazon quietly gobbled up the cloud computing space all to itself.

In that alternate reality, Microsoft would have ditched the Xbox and Bing, cozied up even further with Nokia all the while pleasing some Windows die-hards while quickly slipping into irrelevancy; meanwhile, Amazon would have weaponized its AWS and armed it with key strategic partnerships and business collaborations necessary to unseat Microsoft, Apple, and Google in the enterprise sector.

Fortunately, the Amzon mega-business software provider conglomerate reality never came to pass, but according to a report from Fast Company, it was much closer than most people knew.

A Fast Company exclusive with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella outlines an attempt by Amazon CEO to snatch the company’s cloud point man from the offices of Redmond. According to Microsoft’s business solutions group executive Doug Burgum, “Early on, Jeff Bezos was trying to recruit him.”

Burgum stood as the last remaining guard against Bezos and a tempting AWS future for Nadella, fortunately he was up to the task as he mentored him to eventually become his successor and ultimately the CEO of the company. Nadella’s ascensions wouldn’t come for another seven years while he honed his skills in Microsoft’s Bing and Search divisions as well as shadowed Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, but ascend he ultimately did.

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Thankfully, Nadella’s career path took the twist and turns it did, because it seemed lessons learned have taught him to seek a more nimble development cycle for the company while shedding would-be crowd favorite projects for prioritizing future revenue sources that have led to the growth of AWS competitor, Azure.

Fast Company’s author Harry McCracken does a thorough job of cultivating Nadella’s story inside and outside of Microsoft, from key business ventures to devastating but necessary financial expenditures. For fans of Microsoft, Satya Nadella or the company’s various products, we highly encourage reading McCracken’s piece.

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Do you think Microsoft made the right decision with Nadella?