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Nadella new Microsoft CEO, Gates steps down as chair

Reuters

Microsoft has named company veteran Satya Nadella its next chief executive, with Bill Gates stepping down as chairperson to become a "tech adviser".

The new Microsoft chief executive officer, Satya Nadella. (AFP)

Microsoft named company veteran Satya Nadella as its next chief executive officer on Tuesday, ending a longer-than-expected search for a new leader after Steve Ballmer announced his intention to retire in August.

Nadella is only the third chief executive in Microsoft's 39-year history, following co-founder Bill Gates and Ballmer.

Microsoft also said John Thompson, lead independent director, would succeed Gates as chairperson.

Gates will assume a new role as technology adviser and retain a seat on the board, the company said in a statement.

Shares of the world's largest software maker were up 1.1% in premarket trading following the news.

The choice of Nadella was widely expected, and investors and analysts are already weighing how effective the 22-year veteran will be in re-igniting the company's mobile ambitions and satisfying Wall Street's hunger for cash.

'Slow erosion'
Microsoft faces a slow erosion of its PC-centric Windows and Office franchises and needs to somehow challenge Apple and Google in the new realm of mobile computing.

At the same time, some investors are campaigning for retrenchment and a bigger cut of the company's massive cash pile.

Most agree that Nadella's background in creating Microsoft's internet-based, or "cloud," computing services makes him a safe pair of hands to take the company forward, but there remains a question over his ability to make Microsoft a hit with consumers or with impatient shareholders. – Reuters

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