Review of Hit Refresh

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When he became Microsoft’s third CEO in 2014, Satya Nadella knew Microsoft had to change its culture to prosper; its new core aspects had to be empathy and access. With 24 years of Microsoft experience, Nadella countered institutional complacency when he asserted that Microsoft had to expand its global reach. He believes technology can transform lives by improving the distribution of goods and services and by helping society solve problems such as global warming with technology, such as advances in quantum computing. Writing with Greg Shaw and Jill Tracie Nichols, Nadella is optimistic that humans, given the tools, will work together to make the world a better place. He asserts that Microsoft promises such tools. Nadella believes that the success of his bold, optimistic vision depends on cooperation from partners, governments and citizens working together. 

About the Author

Satya Nadella became Microsoft’s third CEO in 2014. He was formerly the executive vice president of Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise Group and president of the Server and Tools Division. 


Making a Leader

When Satya Nadella learned that he would be named as the third CEO in Microsoft’s 40-year history, he asked himself literally existential questions: “Why does Microsoft exist? And why do I exist in this new role?” Over the course of his 24-year career at Microsoft before his appointment as CEO, Nadella saw fossilization in the organization’s culture and drift from its core values. He believed the company needed to return to its original mandate: democratizing technology and enshrining empathy as a value. As the father of a child with special needs, Nadella understood technology’s awesome power to improve lives. He wanted empathy to drive Microsoft’s transformation.

The Cloud

In 2008, Nadella thought Microsoft was in danger of becoming obsolete. It was falling behind Apple and Google in smartphone and tablet technology as well as in search and online advertising. As data collection on servers became more costly and unwieldy, cloud technology emerged as the next frontier. He believed that investing in massive data centers by pooling resources would transform the economy of computing. Nadella recognized the Cloud’s potential and harnessed Microsoft’s expertise to turn Windows Azure into what’s expected to become a $20 billion business if it follows its current track.

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