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Satya Nadella talks about learning from cricket, buying LinkedIn and more in interview

In a new interview, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella talks about a number of subjects, including learning management lessons from cricket, why buying LinkedIn is a good idea and more.

In a chat with Bloomberg, Nadella explained what he learned from his favorite sport, cricket:

I grew up in India, and this was pre-India becoming a cricketing power and winning even its first World Cup. We were playing a cricket match, and that was the first time we were playing a club that had some overseas players. These were Australians. We were in such awe of these overseas players, and we sort of were watching rather than competing. A business manager of the team saw that I was fielding very far away from the action and just watching. He put me right next to the action, and it was a great lesson to say, "Look, when you're on the field, you compete. You can have a lot of respect for your competition, but you should not be in awe of them."

He also talked about the recent decision by Microsoft to acquire LinkedIn for $26.2 billion, even though historically the company has not had much success with major deals:

There are key things that I'm looking at as we look at acquisitions. The first is, is the core business that we are buying something that we feel is healthy, we're excited about, that's got momentum? When I look at both Minecraft and LinkedIn, they're great businesses that are growing. And so, in fact, if anything, our core job is to take that franchise and give it more momentum. In the case of Minecraft, it's the biggest PC game, and we are the PC company. Their growth was moving to console. We have a console. Therefore, we were a perfect owner. Same thing with LinkedIn. They're a professional network for the world. We have the professional cloud. Time will tell, but I'm very, very bullish.

Nadella also talked about how hard it is to change the culture of as big of a company like Microsoft. In addition, he believes that cloud computing, AI bots, machine learning and augmented reality devices like the HoloLens will be a part of a big technology shift in the future:

To me, it's the ultimate computer. If you think of your field of view as a human becoming an infinite digital display—so not only do you see the analog world, but you are able to see in it digital artifacts, any screen you want, any object you want. So that's what we're doing with HoloLens [Microsoft's augmented reality goggles].

97 Comments
  • I first thought cricket as the carrier cricket. LOL
  • What cricket is a name of a wireless carriers?
  • In the US we have a wireless carrier called Cricket wireless
  • ... a subsidiary of AT&T?
  • What's the reason of down vote on this comment? :P I don't understand
  • I first thought cricket as the brand of lighters.
  • LOL
  • lol nobody thought of the insect? :P Satya always says he has learnt a lot from Cricket. :) Cricket for life :)
  • Jiminy Cricket
  • Hey Ohhh!
  • So did I! lol
  • If he would have taken a fraction of the billions he paid for LinkedIn and hired some app developers, Windows Phone wouldn't have been flushed down the world's toilet.
  • Incorrect. You need to understand brand names and the fact that LinkedIn already had millions of users, just like how Skype has meaning beyond its capability. The fact that Google, Facebook, and Salesforce all wanted the company tells you Microsoft did not pay more than what the market says it is worth. Salesforce says they would have paid more than Microsoft. I'm guessing you're not in CRM and have no idea how big of a company Salesforce is, but you are a Windows phone user so that makes you qualified to guide Microsoft on this acquisition? Find me any analyst who actually agrees with you and I may be persuaded. Also, the connection you make between LinkedIn and Windows phone is beyond crazy. The two are not connected. News flash: Windows Phone peaked in 2014. Time to catch up and realize that already.
  • Also came to light that Salesforce was willing to pay more than what Microsoft paid so they actually got a good deal.
  • People don't realize how big of a deal Salesforce is and how powerful they are. The CRM industry is swimming in cash. HP and Salesforce are working closely on the Elite x3 too, they were at the private press event back in February with their own presentation.
  • Who cares? My point is the app gap driving people away from WP, not what the tag for LinkedIn was.
  • I agree.
  • Think big choderus !!:P app gap u talking things take time !! And as mentioned plethora times there was a change of leadership for phone acquisition ( linked with windowsphone should be microsoft main concern ) then smartphone market is already saturated and they made their tries !! Now they are working with what they are special and taking a bigger way round to get windowsphone running high as windows10 mobile unified running across all screens !! Be patient and see how it fares ahead
  • Wow, Cricket that game really matures you to take bold decisions. Who else can understand better than an Indian.
  • That sounded a bit racist...
  • No, no brother never. I just meant how beautiful he comparec tech market to a sport. That is subtle.
  • How is that racist, plus he's making a statement as an Indian too.
  • Why not tell them what Customer Relationship Management means and how salesforce capitalized and built a company instead of being facetious or ridiculing the fellow?
  • Why not tell them what Customer Relationship Management means and how salesforce capitalized and built a company instead of being facetious or ridiculing the fellow?
  • You know, I spend a lot of time in comments and explaining a lot to people every day. However, it doesn't mean I'm obligated each and every time to take off from work to explain something to someone that they themselves can research. Each one of us is capable of searching, reading, and learning on their own without having someone "explain it like I'm 5". I told the person where they were wrong and gave them some big hints as to where. They can take the next step. If you can spout off an opinion in comments about a topic you don't know about, you can certainly also take the time to go and read on it to correct that error. I already write whole editorials telling people where they are wrong, it gets tiring to do everyday when I could be reviewing a laptop, or that new NuAns phone.
  • You are sometimes rather overly optimistic. You will find that often people simply cannot do basic research. It seems natural to those that can, but not to those that can't. We all have different skill sets. Still, you have not got the time to teach people this and I'm hardly surprised at that. I think you'll just have to accept a fair proportion of 'misses' when you post such articles. That said, all that 'stay on the field and compete' stuff seems to be the opposite of MS's business approach as experienced by the Windows Phone devotee. Can't wait for a new CEO. I miss Bulmer. Plus he was always so entertaining on stage.
  • If you're referring to your reply to my original post, then you are mistaken because all you did was a bunch of explaining about nothing I was talking about.
  • No disrespect but people on here do love to mouth off, too much self imortance i think.
  • You are a Microsoft apologise, I have yet to see you write a serious critical article of Microsoft when they have blundered and stuff over!
  • I think there is a difference between critcising and wanting to an journo to trash a brand,  he did say WP peaked at 2014. There are so many article were he points both the pros and cons well.. which is what i want a good journo to say share his expereince rather than trashing a brand or making wild predictions!    
  • Listen Daniel. You only need to understand one thing and that will explain all. Guys like Nadella are in the business to get rich, nothing else. Now you research what the LinkedIn deal brings Nadella's personal bankaccount and you have your answer. Really, there is no other reason to buy LinkedIn. Sure, you can explain with 20 reasons why this a good deal for MS but Nadella and his kind will never make the deal if it does not make them rich.
  • Do you have proof that this deal made "Nadella rich"? Would be interesting to see what you have found.
  • There is no deal yet. My guess, this will fill Nadelle's pockets with 200 million. US dollar. And that's why the guy is excited.
  • Smh. You 'guess'. You people make me sick. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Just wait with getting sick until your sure my guess is wrong. We will find out in due time.
  • So after the deal goes through you will be able to back up your accusations with some facts? or will you still be guessing?
  • I worked for CEO's for 24 years....their all the same. Let's wait until the deal is done and we will know what Nadella put in his pocket.
  • I mean if you can provide foood, shelter, and facilities that MR nadella requires may be he may be inclined to work for free!   I mean its a commercial company and the that man is tasked with making choices that make mroe money for the company and help grow and sutain that giant corporation!  So what do you expect him to do ?     
  • It appears that expectation of a surface phone has dissuaded customers from buying present Lumia's. Things are likely to change after first quarter of 2017. Even google see windows phone as a threat. That is why they are denying google maps to windows phone customers and put several hurdles before them like preventing linking of google account to outlook app
  • I give you a +1 for that, I'm a Windows Phone user and I see it clear as day...no longer will i apologize for them. He has been a terrible CEO who has made one bad decision after another, to see all those Lumia phones and employees thrown to the dump...Microsoft could have been the #2 or even #1 smartphone maker. The pipeline had over 20 Lumia devices which could have easily added another 100 -150 Million Windows Phone user in the 2 years since they took over.
  • Not without upping their marketing game. Their "Really" campaign for Windows Phone was brilliant but nothing else materialized. Sad...
  • Yeah marketing
  • This i can agree with MR NUttela has ingel handedly demolished any future for window phone ingle handedly! 
  • Ballmer wanted Nokia, Nadella and others on the MS board did not. Ballmer pushed the deal through. Ultimately, Ballmer is to blame; Nadella had to put things right, whether you like it or not. Being a CEO is not about being popular; it's about doing what's best for the majority of the shareholders. He knows Windows Mobile is dead in the the comsumer space, and he knows the fabled Surface Phone isn't going to make any difference. For enterprise, who knows. It's a gamble.
  • Windows Phone has been much more of a sales and marketing failure than a technical failure.  Microsoft needed to commit to whatever it took to market Windows Phone to 20% market share, and then third parties would have developed all the apps we needed.  They were never willing to do that.
  • "Look, when you're on the field, you compete. You can have a lot of respect for your competition, but you should not be in awe of them." That's why Windows Mobile is so successful!
  • No one is calling Windows Mobile successful. Nice trolling though. You're presence around here is on thin ice.
  • Did you wake up on the wrong side today? Making passive aggressive community threats. You're slightly belligerent today Danny
  • I'm waiting for the moment you guys actually break that thin ice. This vhyr guy is quite annoying :D
  • waaahhhhhhh.  Crybaby.  Why because we bring a realists point of view to the table instead of the fanboy view of everything is awesome....well guess what buttercup.....its NOT ok.  Thats why I bailed on MS totally last month.  I had enough with the waiting for the awesome.  I own the awesome now...APPLE.
  • I love my WP, but even you, Daniel, have to admit that it gets tiring finding out that "There's NOT an app for that." or "There's an app for that, but it works like crap."
  • "Poems! The laddie reckons himself a poet!" Anyone???
  • Hint: it's from a movie made by a band about an album...anyone?
  • Don't know the movie, but could swear Idris Elba said this to a suspect on season 3 or 4 of Luther.
  • The Wall
  • Excellent work! Thank you.
  • To there i an app for that but it works liek CRAP.. thats the biggest prob for me than not having an app itself.. i mean when i compare wm10 and droid.. wm 10 just as an od is for superior in deign language and even performance i dare say... but when i compare the apss  running even the same ones... droid bit the life out of wm10 apps and thats were the problem is!  I love wm10 and can get by it.. but if you are dependet on a large set if apps wm10 is nto the answer!
  • *Your
  • If you have watched cricket(It looks like you have). You will appreciate it more. This statement includes a subtle but very beautiful analysis.
  • You mean windows not windows mobile.
  • I guess thats one thing that Nutella forgot about games, business etc...Never learned enough from cricket I guess. When your playing you compete....with your team,  and your goods....not compete....with the competition against your own team.   SIMPLE business logic there moved to the terminology of cricket.  that may get it thorugh satya's obvoiusly small brain.
  • There is always something that will be left. one cannot achieve everything in a single life. You should try!
  • Of course there's something left...however,  not once when I owned my two businesses,  did I sell a competitors product,  or use a competitors product...>THEY WERE THE ENEMY,  THEY WERE TAKING SALES AWAY FROM ME.   I did not come on the competitors stage all smug and glib and dance around....I did not take my competitors product and use it full time when I had my own of the same product that I was trying to sell.  NUTELLA is a NIMROD!
  • 'There is always something that will be left...'. Often, but in this case I think MS are making every effort to erase Windows phones completely. We can only hope they miss something.
  • Really frustrating to see ignorant people like you saying someone has a small brain, it's like the definition of irony.
  • sure mbrdev...I see now he is all intelligent,  all knowing...thats why his phone is in the *******...he's not ceo worthy...he's just a cubical boy pushed into the position.  Unlike myself who is driven, pushes his employees to do better,  create better,  instead of going **** it,  im gonna use my competitiors products...yep.  for sure....thats ironic for sure...whatever. I love the cubical boys talk here.  Bow down to the almighty satya...he knows best.  meanwhile, in CEO and Presidents land,  My feet are kicked up having a cocktail pondering what im going to do at my new job,  something I LOVE doing,  not because its a job...im dumb..yep!  
  • Did he talk about firing most of the people that were working for these companies after he acquire them?
  • You do realize that is standard when you buy a company, right? It's called eliminating redundancy. If you buy a company with their own PR and sales force do you keep them or use your own? This is business 101. Also, the only company here affected that you are referring to, I'm guessing, is Nokia mobile, which was a choice to reverse that acquisition.
  • Problem is, the narrative we all saw went something like this: MS: We want OEMs to take up the torch and make loads of Windows Phones, they're really cool! Nokia: We know how to do that. Sounds like a great idea. MS: Must destroy Nokia, kill, kill... Hmm. I think MS need some PR. Yet again...
  • Totally
  • And the Nadella haters will be here in 3 2 1... Sh*t, I already missed it. :D
  • Have any of them used the hilarious "Nutella" yet?
  • Not yet, but I'm sure they will :D
  • OH OH>...me me me!
  • Nutella!
  • NUTELLA
  • If cricket is anything like American baseball, I'd be in as much awe as watching paint drips racing down the wall. It can't be though, never seen a fat cricket player in stock photos.
  • Never saw any cricket players standing around chewing tobacco and scratching their nuts either.
  • Is Microsoft giving preferential treatment to competing consoles for Minecraft development, over their own less successful console?
    Just trying to understand the business strategy.
  • Considering that Minecraft: Pocket Edition on Windows Phone lacks features that all other versions of PE have, including iOS, Android, Kindle, and GearVR, yes, it appears they are.
  • Of course they are!  Nutella is a ****** that has no idea how to progress microsoft as a brand,  with their own tools.  I have no words to say regarding his total lack of vision and drive.  His previous positions would suggest he is qualified,  however,  his performance to date has been terrible.  Hey,  must be that 7.8 million a year going into his bank at which point he does not care!   I would turn MS around in the devices/mobile department in 2 years on just his base salary!  don't want any more  700,000 a year  and I will have MS phones relevant and awesome.  You have to have vision,  not necessary to have all the skills,  but vision and build a team of awesome people around you to fulfill that vision.  AKA Mr. JOBS and his crew....
  • But only the phone bussines??? What about the others? :
  • That didn't really started with Satya. It's been like that since Steve Ballmer.
  • Cricket for life :)
  • When someone mentions microsoft and their leadership of the past few years since Nutella took control....all I hear is Crickets.
  • It would be nice if Microsoft would apply "when you're on the field, you compete" to Windows Phone.  Microsoft has been on the field but not competing with Windows Phone for a very long time.
  • Thats what happens when you have an asshat running the show.  Using iphone instead of nokia/microsoft phones...for the past 2-3 years....he's a joke...
  • He uses a 950 XL as his personal mobile. iPhone only for business uses.
  • bah ha ha....I uses iphone 100 percent of the time...why would he use an iphone for business when he's the F$(King CEO of Microsoft?  Thats like saying I am the CEO of air canada,  but I fly westjet for business purposes....
  • Sometimes this guys intelligence really shines through, but other times it doesn't (in mobile). The cell phone have becomes our primary method of communication and is predicted to continue overtaking the PC, yet without OEM's how can you rely on them? Microsoft has had plenty of time to build it's own cell phone outside of the last Lumia devices that were devices made by the Nokia D/S division and re-labeled Microsoft. Satya is going to make the same mistake Ballmer made years ago; under estimating the importance of mobile both I'm the consumer and business space. For example, the iPhone was king for years, but Samsung has over taken them. So while it takes a well prepared OS with an app eco- system or bots in the future, with good hardware, it odd possible to get a for hold in mobile. Microsoft need to have a clear direction, solid OS, apps, and stand out hardware to make forward progress in mobile whether it's
    business or consumer space.
  • I dont see any of ....what do you call it.....intelligence....yeah.  thats it.   Nutella has none.  he's a **** that has no idea how to run a technology company.
  • They don't need to sell hardware to be successful in mobile. Hence the app ecosystems and enterprise productivity Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • woo hoo down votes for the TRUTH is awesome!..fanboieees....
  • I swear, the more i read your comments the more i think you're Donald Trump. Give us facts to all the gibberish nonsenses your spewing out of your ass then we'll take you seriously. Until then, don't crossbreed Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I still fail to see the strategic importance of LinkedIn that warrant spending such a huge amount on them.
    Even Satya can't name one. He's banking on time to tell that they made the right choice. This purchase is a waste of resources however way you sugar coat it
  • agreed 100%.  it is a waste of money to buy business facebook.  because that is what it is.....facebook for cubical dwellers.  Ruds05,  I do not have close set eyes,  orange skin,  a bad blonde wig or walk around like I own the world.   I tell the truth....toss in some scathing humor and i guess humorless people don't get it.  thats all.  
  • Networking and instant database of connections for business & enterprise. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android