Bill Gates is now Founder and Technology Advisor

And the winner of the race for Microsoft's next CEO is: Satya Nadella.
Microsoft confirmed today that Nadella is indeed the tech giant's new CEO, and this appointment is effective immediately. This means former CEO Steve Ballmer is officially retired and relieved of his duties.
"Today is a very humbling day for me," said Nadella in an internal memo to Microsoft employees. "It is an incredible honor for me to lead and serve this great company of ours. While we have seen great success, we are hungry to do more. This is a critical time for the industry and for Microsoft. Make no mistake, we are headed for greater places — as technology evolves and we evolve with and ahead of it. Our job is to ensure that Microsoft thrives in a mobile and cloud-first world."
Nadella, who was born in 1969 in India, studied Electrical Engineering at the Mangalore University before moving to the U.S. to study computer science at the University of Wisconsin. From there he worked at Sun Microsystems before finally making his way to Microsoft to work on research for the company's online services division. He's been with Microsoft for over 20 years now and has held several roles, such as the business division on Office, helping to build the Bing search engine, leading the Server and Tools business, and transforming Microsoft’s cloud business.

Satya Nadella 
Ballmer, who announced that he would be retiring as Microsoft's CEO within a year last August, gave a modest congratulations to Nadella as he officially leaves the company after 14 years as CEO and 33 years total with the company.
"I have absolutely no doubt Microsoft is in good hands, with Satya and the rest of the senior leadership team that is in place," said Ballmer. "We have so many strong leaders… the future of Microsoft is incredibly bright."
Another big announcement alongside Nadella's appointment to CEO is that Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is stepping down as Chairman of the Board of Directors today and will instead have a more active role in the company as Founder and Technology Advisor. This new role means that Gates will devote more time to the company and support Nadella in shaping technology and product direction at Microsoft. 

"I'm thrilled that Satya has asked me to step up, substantially increasing my time at the company," said Gates. "I'll have over a third of my time available to meet with product groups and it'll be fun to define this next round of products working together."

The announcement regarding Gates' new position goes hand-in-hand with rumors that were floating around yesterday, saying that Gates was expected to have a more hands-on role in the company once again. 

Microsoft is in the middle of a whirlwind of changes right now as part of a huge restructuring process. The main goal behind the restructuring is unifying Xbox, Windows Phone and PC units, which shows that devices and services are the center focus. 

Microsoft has been struggling in the smartphone and tablet space while competitors like Apple and Google/Samsung dominate mobile. According to TechCrunch, Android's global market share surpassed the 80 percent mark as of November 2013 while Apple's iOS was at 12.9 percent and Microsoft's Windows Phone had just 3.6 percent. 

Aside from that, Microsoft has been dragging its feet when it comes to offering more attractive apps to complement Windows Phone hardware (such as that provided by Nokia) to lure customers in; Microsoft's first homemade tablet, called Surface, was also largely a flop at launch because Windows RT was seen as a half-baked Windows product that didn't run legacy apps, and the Windows 8 Pro version was much too expensive for the typical consumer, and Windows 8 in general created a storm among users who just wanted their Start button back and the live tiles on their desktops to go away. 

The Xbox One had some issues last year as well when Microsoft considered allowing third party companies to ban used games on the console. It also tried to implement the new "always-on" digital rights management (DRM) system. Microsoft later retracted these features after major complaints.

Satya Nadella's first "interview" as Microsoft CEO

A new CEO and bringing Gates in to help call the shots on future products may be the key to avoiding any further catastrophe. In fact, Gates was the one who originally threw around ideas for smartphones and tablet PCs at Microsoft before Apple launched its respective products -- meaning he could bring some great ideas to the table and try to push ahead of competitors.

Prior to Nadella's CEO appointment, a lot of names were reportedly considered during the search. One of the top names frequently mentioned was Ford CEO Alan Mulally, whom many were rooting for because of his reputation as a turn-around guy. He successfully helped Ford return to profitability after becoming CEO in 2006 when the No. 2 automaker had struggled during the late-2000s recession. It was also the only American major car manufacturer to avoid a bailout fund from the government. 

While Mulally has been close with Microsoft and Ballmer in the past, he grew tired of the rumors regarding his potential move to Microsoft, and confirmed that he was staying with Ford early last month. 

Congratulations to Nadella for stepping up. Check out this video of Gates welcoming him to the top spot in the company: 

Source: Microsoft

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