Satya Nadella reportedly asks Bill Gates to help with 'product problems' at Microsoft

With reports now mounting that Satya Nadella will soon be named chief executive of Microsoft, where he currently serves as the head of its cloud services division, further reports are illustrating the complexity of Microsoft's impending transition. One new report claims Bill Gates' rumored removal as chairman is actually to become more involved with Microsoft's products.

According to a new report from Re/code's Kara Swisher, who has broken much of the news about Microsoft's CEO search, Microsoft insiders say "Nadella has always been [Gates'] favorite candidate," and the selection has primarily been the decision of the Microsoft co-founder. So why are reports now emerging that Gates may step down as chairman of the company? Swisher says it's because he will actually be more involved on Microsoft's products, and he would even remain on the board if he does step down from the chairman role.

Swisher states her sources say Nadella "asked Gates to do so, helping specifically with technology and product problems," with the duo even meeting recently to determine a schedule to make such a scenario work. Gates would only step down, Swisher claims, if an arrangement could be made where he's more involved in Microsoft.

If the arrangement is made, Gates would serve as a "wingman," Swisher says, which would give Nadella a form of backup against Microsoft's other executives.

The report aligns with previous statements made by Gates that he would be more involved at Microsoft once a new chief executive is selected, and not having to manage Microsoft's board would give him more time to do just that. Gates has also emphasized that he will never return to Microsoft full time, instead focusing on his charity work with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Given his time constraints, it would make sense that Gates would have to outline a schedule with Nadella prior to stepping down as chairman to ensure the arrangement is manageable.

Source: Re/code | Image via Microsoft

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Windows 8.1 update 1 leaks point to windowed modern apps in Windows 9

Next Story

Microsoft said to be working on enterprise compatibility mode for IE11

30 Comments

View more comments

This just shows that MS drifted far left of what Gates had in mind, and their last leadership went bonkers. There is looking to be a course correction and some steering in short order.

This can only be good, and get MS back in line and down their proper path.... towards world domination err best business practices.

Not entirely true... Ballmer is a bean counter and knows the ropes of how the game is played. Especially the legal side of things we don't see. Ballmer may not be a Techie, but he didn't burn the house down during his tenure either. In fact Microsoft made money during his reign as CEO.

Gates knew with Ballmer all the "Legal issues" Microsoft was in would be handled accordingly. And the funds wouldn't just be burnt on anything (though they did overpay for Skype) Gates figured Ballmer would handle that aspect of things and the Talent at Microsoft was/is more than capable of holding its own.

But Ballmer go so uptight about not screwing up royally (Vista to a degree anyone), that he couldn't loosen up and let something that would be a game changer (the Courier) through for approval.

But Azure, Cloud Services, W7, W8 (hate the aesthetics all you want W8 is a beast under the hood), are all during the Ballmer administration.

While I agree that their last CEO was a business guy and not a techie, that has little to do with the management not going bonkers and staying true to their original MS vision.

They didn't. While they had a bunch of 'wins', they also had record bad press, and have other products creeping up their butts in terms of functionality. Bottom line is that their core business and their management team (not just one guy, but he allowed it), became extremely fragmented and their service offerings became mucked up and cloudy based on the half-messages and seemingly inept communications and leadership.

Great, he led some money making products... but they lost the overall battle. I see this, and the recent restructurings as a way to course correct.

It is needed, and I wish them well.

All that you said is true....

True... I was just giving credit to Ballmer for not burning the place down... I'm not saying that Ballmer was the right guy for the long haul. But at least Ballmer was willing to suck up his pride, and look in the mirror, and realize this and bow out.

Ballmer does appear to come off as a giant goof who can't get out his own way. But I only give him credit, because at the end of it all, Ballmer truly loves Microsoft almost as much as Gates....

But you are right when it comes to Microsoft and it's products overall...

Skin said,
This just shows that MS drifted far left of what Gates had in mind, and their last leadership went bonkers. There is looking to be a course correction and some steering in short order.

This can only be good, and get MS back in line and down their proper path.... towards world domination err best business practices.

Bill Gate is the President of MS, and his role is not just an honorific work. So no, Bill Gates is part of the problems of MS.

Wow... I hope this is the case...

But last I check, Bill was trying to leave his baby, in good hands to eventually walk away without looking back.

How is this gonna work out...

Why everyone thought it is a good thing? It just shows that Satya doesn't have a vision by himself and won't take responsibility.

acrodex said,
Why everyone thought it is a good thing? It just shows that Satya doesn't have a vision by himself and won't take responsibility.

Or isn't a prima donna who lets his ego get in the way. If you could consult with one of the greatest minds out there on an issue and don't, that speaks very poorly of YOU.

I don't think Gates is a greatest mind for today's tech and product, especially in details. Otherwise MS won't be in today's trouble. The new CEO need to know what's wrong with MS's product today and make tough decisions, However, getting Gates involved in decision process, would shift the responsibility to Gates.

acrodex said,
Why everyone thought it is a good thing? It just shows that Satya doesn't have a vision by himself and won't take responsibility.

That's one point of view. Another is that if you have a resource as impressive as Gates, why would you not want to use him?

Chikairo said,

Or isn't a prima donna who lets his ego get in the way. If you could consult with one of the greatest minds out there on an issue and don't, that speaks very poorly of YOU.

Or, on the contrary, he knows very well how things work and wants to have his six covered and not ending stabbed in the back.

Gates actually has great eye for today's products, believe it or not...

But Satya, is looking to his butt as well. And why not use the best thing available, in Bill Gates...

Fritzly said,

Or, on the contrary, he knows very well how things work and wants to have his six covered and not ending stabbed in the back.

Ah, true. MS is known for its political culture... One of the reasons I'm glad Sinofsky us gone - how much talent did he drive off?

I am also impressed and reassured if this comes to be.
I like the thought of a future orientated specialist at the helm and an old hand providing some stewardship.

I think this could be a great new era for MS. The strategy is working (we all know it, albeit slowly). Now is the time to have a mix of vision and soul.

Kara Swisher, this woman is unbelievable. I don't what she says if she turn out to be wrong. There is no chance at all she can be right.

This guy is a joke. What qualification he has to CEO of msft? Have he ever managed a international company before? He was just promoted from senior manager a few years ago. Does he know anything about mobile?

Oh God!

Because people are stupid

For example, some customers asked for the back of the start menu but MS gave us a start button.
And now, some shareholders asked for the head of the Ballmer / Bill Gates and MS is trying to play card, suggesting a Bill Gates's pawn in the position of CEO.


agreed. not a good first move. playing safe and using his boss as an excuse to cover his posterior.

go ms! lol.

definitely not a good sign of things to come. just wait and see.

Commenting is disabled on this article.