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Microsoft's consumers want to know: 7 questions for Satya Nadella

Mark Hachman | Feb. 7, 2014
It's back-to-school time for Satya Nadella, Microsoft's new CEO.

6. Will Bing's search share ever catch Google's?
According to comScore, Bing's search share for December stands at about 18.2 percent, far behind the 67 percent Google holds. That's enough to make Bing a viable player in search in its own right, but not really enough to be truly competitive. Microsoft's Bing Rewards — essentially bribes for searching with Bing — aren't a good long-term solution.

I'd like to know whether Nadella cares. Search share is one of those metrics Wall Street loves, but arguably it's becoming increasingly irrelevant over time. If Microsoft's rumored Cortana search engine can serve up the information you want without a manual search, does that help or hinder Microsoft's online efforts?

7. What do you expect Bill Gates' role to be? And for how long?
The Gates angle is one of the most interesting unanswered questions of Nadella's tenure. According to reports, Gates will contribute a third of his time (whatever that means) to assist Nadella as technology adviser. While Gates is expected to provide political cover (who's going to go against a CEO with Gates on his side?), it's still not clear what responsibilities Nadella will hand off, if any. Eventually, Microsoft will be Nadella's company, and his alone — but it's not clear when that will be.

These seven questions obviously ignore the pillars of Microsoft's business that Nadella knows intimately. His track record there speaks for itself. It's the other parts of the business where he will be tested. Some of these questions have hung in the air since Ballmer announced he would step down. It's up to Nadella now to answer them. 

 

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