Microsoft’s new CEO on his first priorities, Nokia and Microsoft’s future

Microsoft's new CEO on his first priorities, Nokia and Microsoft's future

Looking like a man who’d been CEO of a major corporation for years, not just hours, Satya Nadella answered a range of questions during a sit-down/webcast at Microsoft’s headquarters this afternoon.

He stayed high-level, but among Nadella’s poised responses was a glimpse at what the newly appointed chief exec plans to prioritize first.

"Both internally and externally, there’s a lot to learn," Nadella, who’s described himself as a lifelong learner, said. "I’ve spent a lot of time at Microsoft, but there are parts that are going to be new to me. Therefore, there’s going to be a lot for me to learn."

He said he’d be focusing on spending time with three constituent groups at the start: customers, partners and investors. Nadella will hit the road, and have his "best listening skills" turned on. Making sure the company is in touch with perceptions that are grounded in reality is also a priority, but Nadella said Microsoft is on the right path.

"The strategic frame that we have around devices and services is great," he said. "We’re not waiting for our entry into mobile first, cloud first. [But] we need to get more specificity, more focus on what it is we can uniquely do."

Sticking to the script

Nadella reiterated many of the themes from his email to employees and post on Microsoft’s website. He talked about the malleable power of software, an industry that respects innovation over tradition and how important Nokia and Surface are to Microsoft’s future strategy.

"Devices are where [software] experiences come together," he said. With Nokia under its wing, Microsoft will be able to "bring the core capability that we have with Surface and Xbox, [and] encapsulate these experiences."

In speaking about mobile, Nadella noted that the term doesn’t just refer to phones. For example, the industrial internet and Internet of Things are part of a mobile strategy, and areas where Microsoft will focus moving forward. Thanks to a heritage of software that is "still very relevant," Microsoft has the groundwork to move forward.

"We have to do new things," Nadella said, "but we should be confident in our history of software."

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