When a new chief executive officer comes on board, he usually does a bit of cleaning. It happens with just about any companies. It happened when Larry Page took over. It happened when Steve Jobs returned to Apple and it sure as heck happened when Tim Cook took control of Apple with major changes. Now, it's Microsoft's Satya Nadella's turn. However, while the previously mentioned changes instituted by those CEOs appear orderly and planned, it is difficul to put Nadella's latest changes in that category nor does it appear we'll see the end of it and see Microsoft on the verge of a new era.
First, there is the executive resignations including the former CEO of Nokia Stephen Elop. In all, four senior executives were shown the door. Now, comes news that Microsoft is planning to layoff more than 1,200 employees from its ad display division. It spoke to the failure to compete with other ad companies, in particular, Google (Bloomberg).
Furthermore, Microsoft is selling to Uber its image collection group within Bing. If Bing was healthy and competitive, it's unlikely this transaction would have taken place. Taken a long with layoff in the display ad group, you have to be worry whether Bing is working out worse than Microsoft is letting on.
Having said that, a lot is riding on Windows 10 to reinvigorate the PC market, and to a lesser extent, the mobile phone market where Microsoft is struggling against Android and iOS. So far, things are looking well in the Windows beta stages. Microsoft desperate needs Windows to continue its dominance and bring in much needed revenue to cover the rest of the company to give Nadella time to grow other Microsoft's core businesses.
Balmer has done a great deal of harm during his reign. Sure, Microsoft made tons of money but on core products like Windows and Office while the rest of the company languished or simply failed to innovate. For the moment, it appears that Nadella is a more astute CEO who knows the culture under Balmer has to go. However, it'll take time as the latest changes has not instill confidence in the market or among its supporters.
Whether you're an Apple or Google fan, you have to appreciate the competitive value that Microsoft represents in multiple markets. And as always, more competition the better.
Still, it would be nice if Microsoft had something more to share than what appears to be all bad news.