Microsoft's Nadella: More Than Talk - InformationWeek

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08:36 AM
Michael Endler
Michael Endler
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Microsoft's Nadella: More Than Talk

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella proves he can be a man of action with the biggest layoff in company history and other concrete steps to reshape Microsoft. Now what?

Microsoft Office For iPad Vs. iWork Vs. Google
Microsoft Office For iPad Vs. iWork Vs. Google
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

They say talk is cheap, but that's not necessarily true if you're Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. Microsoft stock is up more than 20% since he took over in February and has reached heights never attained under predecessor Steve Ballmer. Microsoft released lots of products during that period, but if you look at what people were really responding to -- at the things for which Nadella was responsible -- it was Nadella's language.

Now it's more than talk. With the announcement of 18,000 layoffs, Nadella has shifted into action. He's no longer reshaping, tweaking, and re-contextualizing what Steve Ballmer left behind, or making the sorts of moves that can remain invisible to outside observers. He's now begun remaking Microsoft according to his vision, and in so doing he's moved to a new stage of leadership, one where actions will increasingly speak louder than words.

It's a big step up from his early days as CEO. Nadella's been justly praised, but it's hard to know how much different Microsoft's product line would look if Ballmer were still in charge. On his way out, the former CEO reportedly gave the go-ahead on Office for iPad, for example, and one assumes Microsoft would have continued to beef up Azure under Ballmer, just as it has under Nadella. That's not to say Nadella hasn't exerted his authority. He reportedly axed the Surface Mini at the eleventh hour, and a lot of the cloud momentum Nadella's currently hyping stems from work he oversaw in earlier roles.

[Does Satya Nadella have Microsoft back on track? Read Microsoft Faces 4 Big Challenges.]

Still, almost everything Microsoft released during Nadella's early reign was already well into development under Ballmer. Nadella didn't bring new products; he brought new packaging for those products, new strategic sensibilities, and a new business vocabulary. His poetic delivery and hipster attire contrast sharply with Ballmer's salesmanship and bombast, a PR victory all by itself.

But by early July, Nadella's rhetoric had begun to grow repetitive. He'd been recycling key talking points to developers, partners, and other key constituencies as he wound his way through Microsoft conferences and events. A recent press tour engendered a lot of goodwill. But as his description of a cloud-driven world full of personalized digital experiences grew more familiar, the topics he wasn'taddressing became more obvious.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

Before the layoffs, Nadella appeared almost pre-emptive in his references to first-party smartphones and tablets, for example. They were normally limited to enthusiastic platitudes about the Pro 3, or vague intentions to integrate Nokia and build the Windows Phone market, with help from partners. He seemed to bring up devices, not only to assure audiences that Microsoft hadn't forgotten about its challenges, but also to stop the conversation before it started.

Layoffs seemed inevitable; Microsoft was already undergoing a restructuring effort when Ballmer stepped down, and in absorbing Nokia's device business Microsoft took in some skills overlap that had to be consolidated. But it did not seem inevitable that Nadella would enact the largest job reduction in company history. Even not counting the Nokia layoffs, 5,500 other job cuts -- which included changes to the Windows team and its testing process -- constitute Microsoft's second-biggest layoff ever. It's not clear if these efforts to make


Michael Endler joined InformationWeek as an associate editor in 2012. He previously worked in talent representation in the entertainment industry, as a freelance copywriter and photojournalist, and as a teacher. Michael earned a BA in English from Stanford University in 2005 ... View Full Bio
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User Rank: Apprentice
7/26/2014 | 9:35:27 AM
Microsoft layoffs
Is Nadella doing layoffs only in the U.S.?Do these layoffs include other countries?If it is in the U.S. he needed to think about unemployment for these indiviuals.Microsoft migh start making a profit,but the U.S. taxpayer will be loosing monies because of it!!
User Rank: Apprentice
7/26/2014 | 9:53:36 AM
Re: Microsoft layoffs
They are mostly Nokia employees but some Microsoft too.
User Rank: Apprentice
7/26/2014 | 10:29:42 AM
Protracted Layoffs
Microsoft has 80 billion dollars in cash. But ultimately, the employees are not mad at

layoffs,they are mad at the protracted layoffs.   The way the layoff is done makes it

rather clear:

A.  Nadella wants employees (Americans) to infight and stab each other

B.  Nadella wants the best employees (Americans) to go away

C.  Nadella wants the survivors (Americans) to be weakened.


Which begs the question: why?

I'll answer why:  Nadella is doing the classic practice of "software corp raider"

perfected by elite Indian upper managements throughout Silicon Valley.

Target are companies like:

A. Cisco, Qualcomm, VMWare, Intel, Motorola, Nokia, Sun, Adobe

B. IBM, Oracle, Microsoft, LinkedIn,Amazon

C. Facebook, Google, Twitter, Apple

The tactics are the same everywhere:

1. Layoff thousands of American engineers (sometimes by smal cuts),

2. Nearly concurrent hiring Indian new grads by thousands, or outsource

to Indian contracting companies.

End Result A. tier companies are nearly completely Indianized, or

defunct: ~70% Indian engineers

B tier companies are Indianized: ~30-60% Indian engineers

C tier companies are generally newer and last refuge of

American nerds: <30% Indian engineers


Guess what: C tier companies are being targetted by Indian diversity guru

Vivek Wadhwa for not welcoming women in tech, while he carefully

spare A tier and B tier from his indignation.  Ask these companies their

diversity data, you will find a huge majority of Indian enginers.


What does this have to do with Nadella?  Is Nadella innocent?

No.  1 month ago, even as Nadella was planning for this current

protracted layoff, he renewed 100 million dollar IT contract with

Indian outsourcing giant Infosys.  It's remarkable that Nadella thinks

India test engineers could be retrained to become

competent software engineers (bypassing much more stringent

interview process), yet the laid off American test engineers could

not be retrained in IT!

With the current layoff, Nadella also announced that Microsoft's

x0,000 vendors, many of them Indian outsourcing giant like

Infosys, Tata CS, HCL, wipro, individual contractors could

keep working for 18 month and take 6 month break.  These Indian

contractors are given MORE time than the laid off American

employees, and they are given a lot more ramp-up training

than American new grads, who have to pass much more stringent

interview process!


Now I have to go back to H1b visa.  Indian outsourcer giants

take vast majority of total H1b visas every year for the last 10+ years! 

Infosys is being sued for discriminating against Americans,

and abusing H1b visa.  Yet they are getting contracts from US

government as well as tech giants like Microsoft, Cisco, IBM.   Why?


Answer: Years of H1b visa abuse by Indian outsourcers have enabled

importing almost 1 million Indian software "professional"s into the US,

devastating American IT workplace of only 2 million

software jobs.  These million strong invaders ganged up on American

nerds, discriminated against American nerds,

only hired Indians/promoted Indians, stole credits, stoled client information,

spied on company's IT, stole projects, force Americans to work doubletime

(American time and Indian time), etc. 


By doing this, legions of Indians rose to middle and upper ranks in US tech

giants, further rewarding this nepotistic nonAmerican practice by indians.

Because Indian economy remain in doldrums, and Indian outsourcing

industry is doubling their invasion zeal, they are planning to bring in

another million Indian software "experts" to occupy American IT 100%.


Do you think it's wrong?  If so, go to "" to stop this!

If you think this is fine:  then look at:

A. Target outsourcer CIO singing praises of Target's Indian IT,

then bang!  40 million credit cards hacked, CIO out on her ass.

B. Look at Obamacare website, outsourced to Indian contractors,

unusable and had to be reworked by Google engineers.

C. Look at Ebay, occupied by Indian engineers, hacked with

100+ million records stolen.


Indian IT are very good bait-and-switch and very good Big Brother

spying on your email and cutting Americans' tech talent pipeline. 

Not so good at delivering.  

Think what it would be like if American IT is 100% Indianized,

in another 10 years. 

User Rank: Apprentice
7/26/2014 | 1:01:57 PM
Eastern Indian Microcrap
Another reason not to buy Microsoft EI-Microcrap. Eastern Indians and other Asian companies that take over American companies simply demolish them, starting with the Americans, and move a majority of the potions overseas to "rebuild the brand" which is always a complete BS story. They also do so to harbor as much information on Americans as possible to sell it to other countries and companies yet we are too stupid as a society to see this. Don't give India any more of you hard earned money. India is a country that prides it's self with inequality and their citizens are rather inhumane people, borderline animals. At least when you buy Apple a majority of the sale stays in the US Market. Do your research!!!
User Rank: Apprentice
7/26/2014 | 1:42:13 PM
Let's be a little more serious about the word 'action.'
Michael, it should be a concern to you that you judge Nadella as a man of action only when he fires people.

There are many methods by which a CEO can demonstrate activity. In my mind, firing thousands of people is not one of them.

Note that I don't mean that (in this case) the company might well need to dismiss those employees (especially the ex-Nokia employees) that are in parts of the business in which it's no longer planning to be involved.

But take care with your usage of the word action that includes mass firings. It shouldn't.

Frankly, I'm also worried about Nadella's inexperience in the top role.  As we all know, this is his first CEO position. It's in a large, notable technology company. And it's a company that he's been a part of for over twenty years.

This first large-scale mass firing may be a more reckless move characteristic of a brand-new CEO looking to make his mark (and thinking, incorrectly, as you do, that he can be a "man of action" by firing thousands of people.)

I wish that he had seasoned himself with CEO positions at other tech firms before taking the reins at Microsoft.

Also, don't forget the board tactic, as common as it has been over the past 30-40 years, of bringing in a new CEO, having him do the tasteless task of mass firings, and then dismissing him and bringing in the long-term choice for CEO.

That way, the remaining staff get to associate their bad feelings about the firings with their fired CEO, and get to feel good about the new guy coming in.
User Rank: Apprentice
7/26/2014 | 4:29:58 PM
Re: Eastern Indian Microcrap
Mr. Blair:


Travel much? Read much? Do you have any friends from outside your ethnic community?

Try what George of Seinfeld tried and get some friends from outside your own community. USA is a great place to do that. 

By your logic, East European Orthodox people shoudl be taking over our cloud support industry, Russians our search & ad industry, etc.. Or, are you only particularly paranoid about East Indians? You really believe this guy is a plant from Indian govt to take over the US? 

Chill out. Get a beer, take a ddep breath, and most importantly, get out more and meet people. All's well with the world. It's not as scary as you think. 



User Rank: Apprentice
7/26/2014 | 5:02:44 PM
Re: Microsoft layoffs
Still the question are the layoffs in the U.S. mainly or other countries???
User Rank: Ninja
7/27/2014 | 1:14:45 AM
Re: Eastern Indian Microcrap
@ Blair: I am not an Indian and also not in American IT. I am neither anti American nor anti Indian. Since I am neither benefited nor harmed by Indianization of American IT, I can share my neutral non biased non emotional perspective on this: Having visited both countries and visited their universities, I found Indian youth to be well ahead of their American counterparts. They are more hungry and thus more hardworking. And yes there are issues of work ethic. On the corporate side, yes Indian managers do prefer Indian talent. However think of this way, if American IT companies had not lowered their costs by hiring low cost Indian labor, they would have been uncompetitive globally in terms of Pricing.
User Rank: Ninja
7/27/2014 | 1:27:39 AM
An acquisition mistake?
I am just curious if Microsoft had to dump Nokia hardware, plants, employees, patents then why did they buy Nokia in the first place?
User Rank: Apprentice
7/27/2014 | 10:02:15 AM
Re: Eastern Indian Microcrap
The cost saving of IT Indianization is greatly overrated.

Firstly, Indian IT uses a lot of bait-switch tactics.

Secondly, Indian IT introduces a lot of IT moles to

monitor your company's critical functions.  Google

"Indian corporate spying"  this is endemic even in


Thirdly, the cost savings are always temporary if at

all.   Long term competitive advantage will be critically

damaged by short term outsourcing IT because IT

is extremely critical.


I'll give you a few examples:

A. Target outsourcer CIO singing praises of Target's Indian IT,

then bang!  40 million credit cards hacked, CIO out on her ass.

B. Look at Obamacare website, outsourced to Indian contractors,

unusable and had to be reworked by Google engineers.

C. Look at Ebay, occupied by Indian engineers, hacked with

100+ million records stolen.

I could give you 100 examples if I have the time.

With 1 million Indian IT worker occupying American IT

jobs 50%, the devastation they are wrecking on American

companies and American IT workers' sanity are massive and

long term.

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