From the beginning of Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) search for its next chief executive officer, the industry was well aware of the massive task the company’s next leader would face.
The years of Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer’s tenure have come to be known as the “lost decade” by technology writers and industry experts. Ballmer has taken a great deal of criticism for the poor performance of Microsoft’s stock since he assumed the leadership position in January 2000; the stock lost more than 35 percent of its value in the past 14 years, a symptom of Microsoft’s inability to keep up with the changing technological trends. Since its software populates the majority of the world’s personal computers, Microsoft has suffered as a consumer — and even business — with spending increasingly shifting to tablets and smartphones and away from personal computers.
At one time, the company dominated the tech industry, but since 2000, competition from rivals like Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) — companies better positioned to profit off technology’s turn to mobile computing — has left Microsoft playing catch up. Ballmer announced his decision to resign last August, and since that time, speculation as to his successor has run rampant. Microsoft needs a chief executive with a varied technology background and expertise in enterprise software, an increasingly core business for the company, and in Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s executive vice president of cloud and enterprise, the company may have found that person.