More than half, Silicon Valley Engineers were born Overseas

May 28, 2015

Satya Nadella CEO | Microsoft

A year ago, when Microsoft made an announcement of CEO appointment it surprised everyone, when it named Satya Nadella.  The long search finally ended for Ballmer’s successor. Many were expecting that the company would appoint an outsider to steer the company founded by the Bill Gates into the future, but definitely nobody expected the unknown 22-year Microsoft veteran to be appointed. The company also attempted to massage all concerns by strategically making the announcement that Bill Gates was substantially increasing his time at Microsoft.  But it is still not clear whether Bill Gate really dedicated upto 30% of his time to Microsoft.  Nevertheless Nadella has created a mission statement to drive Bill gates founding company Microsoft forward by having focus on both mobile and cloud.  So far, he seems to be successfully steering the software giant in the right path.


A year later, the company feels not only new but also fresh and it less concerned about the legacy of windows. While few of them argue, Nadella is just running Steve Ballmer’s Microsoft, but he deserves higher credit for his 12 month tenure in the highest role of the company.  Under Ballmer, the company was much focused on protecting windows at any cost.  For Ballmer, his biggest regret at Microsoft was window vista. It’s an operating system that was overly ambitious and it look much time to hit the market. Vista distracted the company from the growing mobile threat and at the same time the company was not fully prepared for the iphone and the dominance of Android on mobile and Google on web.  Perhaps most tellingly, Ballmer had a laugh at iPhone initially. Apple, American Multinational Technology Company recently sold seventy five million iPhone’s in mere ninety days .this number was one or two times more, but it was seven times more than all the lumia window phones sold in the 90 days.


Few of the Ballmer’s product plans, Nadella has executed, but it appears that he chose to take a slightly different path which Ballmer would have not chosen. Take office for ipad, it’s a good example. While there had been rumors for years behind the scenes, which engineers have been working closely to create a truly great app. Microsoft previously had plans to launch an iPhone with the free document viewing, but dumped those plans in favor of requiring an office 365 subscriptions.  In 2013, Office for iPhone eventually made a debut and many were frustrated with office 365 requirement.  Within the two month’s of Nadella’s appointment as CEO, office for ipad launched with free reading and only for editing purpose office 365 was required.  And after few later months, Nadella took another bold step to make the apps free across iOS and Android.  That was ‘nt really Balmer decision, but is was Nadella decision.


After stumbling with its launch of Xbox one, Nadella was also very quick to appoint a new xbox leader Phil Spencer, who was appointed less than two months after the appointment of Nadella as CEO. He quickly killed the Kinect bundling at the same time promising an increased focus on gamers.  After few a months, Microsoft has surprised many by acquiring Minecraft for $2.5 billion. It was a first major acquisition as the new CEO.  Even though buying Minecraft looked unusual but it was actually a genius move for the Microsoft. Minecraft already generates very strong revenue and the company expects to break even from its purchase by the month of June.  That’s definitely look’s much better acquisition than Ballmer ‘s 6.2 billion write-off of Microsoft’s 2007 acquisition of aQuantive.  Apart from financial, in the long-term it is most likely to play into Microsoft’s cloud services plan and the company has been already used it to help demonstrate its new Hololens headset.


Nadella is also making few daring bets on mobility and ways to make consumers love Microsoft again.  A surprise Acompli acquisition has also resulted in an outlook mail app for iOS and Android that people are praising far and wide and it was rumored that sunrise acquisition could produce similar results.  Nadella teamed up with Dropbox (a easiest way to store) so that it can integrate its cloud service with office versions for iOS Android and Windows. It is a new approach which is clearly designed to get consumers respect and like Microsoft apps as well as services. While having the long term benefit of convincing them to use the Microsoft account instead of Apple ID or Google.


These recent acquisitions are a key as to where the company is heading in the  next five years and why Nadella is moving very fast in order to reposition the company. He has made few changes to windows that most consumers would not even notice, like making it free for device makers who create devices with screens under 9 inches.


Nadella at a recent press event for Windows10 has said, we want to move from people needing windows to choosing windows, to loving windows.  It is our bold goal, that love is lacking and as Microsoft moves to what Nadella calls “ windows as a service “then the idea of operating system does become less relevant.



If Microsoft can continue to surprise all with its new bold visions for the future with Windows like Hololens. The company is also considering having a continued focus on cross-platform software and services. In the second year as CEO, it could be even more exciting for Nadella.  For now, he has shaken up Microsoft and has presented a vision as to how the will to thrive against strong competition helps to succeed. His will also helped him to make a big impression in a year.


The latest reminder of the critical role which the immigrants play in the US economy, especially in the hightech sector is Nadella‘s selection as Microsoft’s new CEO. In the Silicon Valley, immigrants are ubiquitous, in the nation’s best computer science program as well as in software companies across the nation. The immigrants are not only the founders of the company but a few of them even lead the America’s most important technology companies.


Both Engineering as well as entrepreneurial talents are not only rare, but they are valuable.  As Silicon Valley is the world capital for technology startups, the US population is less than five percent of the world’s population. It is not surprising that the majority of the world’s talented; engineers as well as entrepreneurs are not born in America but are born in a foreign land. They have made a wise decision to immigrate to America inorder to fulfill their dreams

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