Show an ad over header. AMP

I am the FIRST

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella says tech giant is through being cool

If software developers don't see Microsoft as the coolest trillion-dollar tech company out there, CEO Satya Nadella is OK with that, he told Axios in an exclusive interview as Microsoft's annual developer conference kicked off Tuesday.

Driving the news: "My sales pitch to anybody, whether it’s an intern or a college grad joining Microsoft is, hey, if you want to be cool, go join someone else," Nadella said. "If you want to make others cool, join Microsoft."


Why it matters: With Windows less dominant, and Microsoft having given up on its own smartphone platform, the company is trying to woo developers by embracing rivals' platforms, offering tools that can write programs that run just about anywhere.

While Apple, Google and Facebook typically spend a lot of their developer conferences focused on their own products, Microsoft used this week's Build event to focus almost entirely on a bunch of under-the-hood changes that Nadella says will help other companies succeed.

  • "In fact, you could be building an iOS app or an Android app, or an app for (Google's Cloud) or AWS, and still, you’ll want to come to a Microsoft developer conference," Nadella told Axios.

Between the lines: Tech giants have always competed for the attention, enthusiasm and labor of independent software makers.

  • Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer used to run around on stage yelling "Developers, developers, developers!"
  • Nadella says coders remain just as important to today's Microsoft, but he prefers to show his appreciation in other ways.

Rather than promoting Microsoft's own image, Nadella aims to paint coders themselves as cool. He has characteried them as "the original creators" and points to Microsoft's transformation of GitHub into a service where programmers can not only share their code, but also get paid.

  • "The sponsorship program on GitHub is the biggest program for essentially tipping software developers in the open source community," Nadella said. "We have lots of plans to expand that. You can even have organizations supporting our open source projects."

Yes, but: One area where Microsoft badly could use some cool points is with Windows, its 35-year-old operating system.

  • Nadella teased a significant update to Windows, noting during his keynote that he has been testing it in recent months.
  • He declined to share any further details, but did say he thinks Windows is exiting the pandemic stronger than it was coming in, as many people rediscovered the power of a PC.

Context: A number of Microsoft's efforts to modernize Windows have stumbled, including the recently shelved Windows 10X — the company's latest attempt to create a slimmed-down OS to better compete against Chrome OS and other mobile devices.

The big picture: Nadella notes that more software programmers are being hired today in traditional companies than in technology businesses.

  • "It’s not about the West Coast of the U.S. or the East Coast of China, but pretty much every company in the world, in every sector," Nadella said

Why the startup world needs to ditch "unicorns" for "dragons"

When Aileen Lee originally coined the term "unicorn" in late 2013, she was describing the 39 "U.S.-based software companies started since 2003 and valued at over $1 billion by public or private market investors."

Flashback: It got redefined in early 2015 by yours truly and Erin Griffith, in a cover story for Fortune, as any privately-held startup valued at $1 billion or more. At the time, we counted 80 of them.

Keep reading... Show less

Scoop: Facebook's new moves to lower News Feed's political volume

Facebook plans to announce that it will de-emphasize political posts and current events content in the News Feed based on negative user feedback, Axios has learned. It also plans to expand tests to limit the amount of political content that people see in their News Feeds to more countries outside of the U.S.

Why it matters: The changes could reduce traffic to some news publishers, particularly companies that post a lot of political content.

Keep reading... Show less

Scoop: Amazon quietly getting into live audio business

Amazon is investing heavily in a new live audio feature that's similar to other live audio offerings like Clubhouse, Twitter Spaces and Spotify's new live audio platform, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: As with Amazon's efforts in podcasting and music subscriptions, the company sees live audio as a way to bolster the types of content it can offer through its voice assistant, Alexa, and its smart speaker products.

Keep reading... Show less

Hurricane Ida exposes America's precarious energy infrastructure

The powerful hurricane that plunged New Orleans into darkness for what could be weeks is the latest sign that U.S. power systems are not ready for a warmer, more volatile world.

The big picture: “Our current infrastructure is not adequate when it comes to these kinds of weather extremes,” Joshua Rhodes, a University of Texas energy expert, tells Axios.

Keep reading... Show less

"We must go further": 70% of adults in European Union are fully vaccinated

About 70% of adults in the European Union are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, said Tuesday.

Why it matters: The milestone makes the E.U. one of the world's leaders in inoculations, after an initially lagging vaccine campaign, the New York Times notes.

Keep reading... Show less

What Elizabeth Holmes jurors will be asked ahead of fraud trial

Jury selection begins today in USA v. Elizabeth Holmes, with the actual jury trial to get underway on Sept. 8.

Why it matters: Theranos was the biggest fraud in Silicon Valley history, putting both hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of patients' health at risk.

Keep reading... Show less

Insights

mail-copy

Get Goodhumans in your inbox

Most Read

More Stories