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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