Sat, Mar 01, 2014 - Page 15 News List

Microsoft needs focus under new CEO: Thompson


Microsoft Corp chairman John Thompson, who led the recent search for a new chief executive officer that resulted in the appointment of Satya Nadella, said the challenge facing the software maker is how to direct the company’s ample resources in the right direction.

“The issue for us is, quite frankly, about focus,” Thompson said in an interview with Bloomberg Television.


“One of the reasons we chose Satya Nadella is he has a strong technology background. He understands exactly what needs to happen to move Microsoft forward,” he said.

Thompson, who has been a Microsoft board member since 2012, replaced cofounder Bill Gates as chairman earlier this month at the same time that Nadella was named CEO to succeed Steve Ballmer.

The appointments amounted to a changing of the guard at the Redmond, Washington-based company, which is the world’s largest software maker. Ballmer and Gates remain on Microsoft’s board, with Gates spending more time on company strategy.

Thompson said he never envisioned being chairman and plans to spend much of his time mentoring Nadella, whom he described as “young and aggressive and open-minded.”

While Thompson praised Microsoft’s cloud programs like Azure and Office 365, he said the company needs to focus “on how we become even more relevant to consumers.”


He said it would be “interesting” to see how Nadella “augments” the devices and services strategy that Ballmer unveiled more than a year ago, partially to address that issue.

Thompson also said not to expect a strategy discussion at the company’s regular board meeting this month, Nadella’s first as CEO.

Still, Nadella will update the board on his strategy in the “not-to-distant-future,” he said.

Thompson serves as CEO of Virtual Instruments Inc, a San Jose, California-based maker of software that tracks application and hardware performance. The company had anticipated going public this year, he said, and while such a step is possible in the second half, it will more likely take place in the first six months of next year.

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