Success of a company can be difficult to measure because there are so many different numbers which could be used. Apple has an amazingly strong brand, but they also have only a few successful product lines. Recently Google has been enjoying wild consumer favor with Android and Google search, but those are free products with advertising bringing home the bacon. Comparatively speaking Microsoft is a wildly diverse and successful company, with popular product categories in devices, gaming, desktop publishing, operating systems, developer tools, server tools, cloud offerings, VoIP, and other enterprise business.
All of these diverse products can help Microsoft maintain strong profits even if one of their products fails to return strong adoption. Such a diverse company requires extremely talented executives who can steer the ship toward further success. All this to say Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella was the highest paid CEO of 2014. Any company of Microsoft’s size and complexity must prove difficult to manage, but Satya Nadella has done a great job so far, at least according to the Board of Directors.
While Mr. Nadella should feel good about his work as CEO, he has not been at the helm long. Most of the major products which have been introduced over the past year and a half were a result of previous leadership. Nonetheless, several major decisions have occurred on Satya’s watch such as deciding to kill the Surface Mini.
The next few years will be a better indicator of how well he can manage such a large company. Windows 10 represents the unification at an OS level of several different products, and it will be Satya Nadella’s job to ensure the culmination succeeds. Microsoft has a checkered past of internal conflict between divisions and product teams. Hopefully past failures such as ceding mobile to Google and Apple will unify Microsoft to deliver on products and regain the attention and success they’ve seen in the past.