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Cognoscenti anoint Nadella as next Microsoft CEO

Gregg Keizer | Feb. 3, 2014
Months-long search may end where it started -- inside the company -- if cloud group's veteran leader gets Ballmer's chair.

There may be some logic to such an arrangement, or even in Gates downsizing his role on the board to assist the new CEO in a more hands-on manner. But the reality is that Nadella, for one, has run a big business: Server and Tools generated $19.4 billion in revenue during 2012, the last full year it was a separate division.

The final fiscal year of Gates' rule as CEO, all of Microsoft booked revenue of $19.7 billion, about the same as Nadella's outfit produced in 2012.

On Friday, investors seemed to applaud the news of Nadella's inevitable ascension to CEO, with shares up 2.4% by 2 p.m. ET, although the price was still down 3% from the last year's high of Dec. 4, 2013.

"Nadella's a fresh face, though not a fresh face in that he's an outsider," said Smith. "That's good news to enterprises, I think, because he has a good track record in the cloud, and done the right things in situations where they have not always done the right things. So people should be somewhat optimistic."


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