Nadella Initiates Microsoft Transformation

by Matt Klassen on March 6, 2014

Just weeks after taking the reigns of Microsoft, a job that came with the responsibility to transform the stagnant tech giant, CEO Satya Nadella has initiated the much-anticipated shake-up of company’s upper level leadership, molding Microsoft in his own image as he prepares to move out of the shadows of the tech world and battle its most formidable enemy: Google.

To that end, the company’s VP of business development and the VP of marketing have been relieved of their duties, with both positions being filled, at least in the short term, from within the company. Further, Mark Penn, the company’s former VP of advertising and strategy, has been shifted exclusively to the strategy side of things.

It is the latter shift, with Penn moving to strategy, that analysts consider the most telling in regards to Nadella’s overall plan, as Penn has served previously as a heavy-hitting political advisor to Bill and Hilary Clinton and will likely bring his potlicial clout to bear on Google as Microsoft tries to fight for some elbow room in today’s tech market.

While mentioned briefly, the first round of Nadella’s corporate shuffle broke down like this: Tony Bates, executive vice president of corporate evangelsim and business development, and Tami Reller, executive vice president of marketing, have been given pink slips, according to reports, while Eric Rudder, executive vice president of advanced strategy, will assume Bates’ mantle temporarily, while marketing executive Chris Capossela will take over Reller’s role and spearhead the company’s revamped marketing strategies.

Mark Penn, formely the company’s executive vice president of advertising and strategy, was relieved of a portion of his duties, giving up all advertising responsibilities to reportedly focus exclusively on corporate strategy going forward.

These changes, Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group, explains, single Microsoft’s renewed efforts at competing with arch tech rival Google. “In the battle with Google, Penn’s political background should prove very powerful,” Enderle told the E-Commerce Times. This “allows [Microsoft] to better defend against and attack Google, which has emerged as its biggest problem, largely because [Google’s] ad-funded model destroys the product-based model that currently sustains the computer industry and Microsoft.”

Further, the shifts also signal a renewed concern with Microsoft’s image, branding, and marketing efforts, as clearly Nadella was not satisified with Ballmer’s appointment of Reller as the company’s image has suffered in recent years.

But don’t expect the changes at the top to stop there for Microsoft, as there is much that Nadella needs to undo regarding Ballmer’s negative impact on this company. In fact, analysts are confident that there’s more shake-up to come as Nadella attempts to transform Microsoft’s caustic culture and rebuild Microsoft in his own image.

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