Microsoft CEO Nadella wants to hit the road to meet customers, partners, investors

Microsoft's new CEO Satya Nadella plans to use  his 'best listening skills'

Microsoft's new CEO Satya Nadella will be spending a lot of time on the road over the next months meeting with customers, partners and investors to get a handle on what they expect from him and the company.

He’ll be wheeling out his “best listening skills” during these meetings in order to get himself better in tune with what their needs are, he said during a Webcast to introduce himself to the wider world.

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Despite his 22-year tenure at the company, he says there are parts of it he is unfamiliar with, and he will spend time studying up on them. During his years with Microsoft he has worked on servers, business applications, online advertising, search and finally with enterprise and cloud.

After his initial introductory tour he will spend time promoting Microsoft’s devices-and-services mission, fleshing out in more detail what it means exactly with specific examples as new offerings come to market. “I will keep coming to it again and again,” he says. “We will get more specific and focused on what we can do that is not replicable by others.”

Microsoft will attempt to bridge consumer and business sides of its house by focusing on user experiences and how they can be delivered appropriately to individuals in their personal and professional lives, he says. At the same time it will keep the two realms separate for reasons of security and privacy. But at the same time, Microsoft products will strive to do so without forcing users to set up entirely separate social and communications networks.

“Devices are where these experiences come together,” he says, pointing to Microsoft Surface tablets and Windows Phones, which rely on their connections to cloud services to deliver their full range of functionality. He calls this Microsoft’s mobile-first/cloud-first strategy that will rely on the co-evolution of hardware and software.

This helps explain the company’s production of Surface devices and purchase of Nokia’s phone and tablet business. But Microsoft won’t do it all alone; Nadella says creating new partnerships is also on his agenda to bring about the mobile-first/cloud-first vision. The quest: “How do we thrive in that world?”

Tim Greene covers Microsoft and unified communications for Network World and writes the Mostly Microsoft blog. Reach him at tgreene@nww.com and follow him on Twitter@Tim_Greene.

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