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Last Updated Wednesday November 20 2019 09:28 PM IST
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Unknown Satya Nadella everyone loves to know

P Kishore
Special Correspondent @ Malayala Manorama
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Satya Nadella Satya Nadella speaks at a function. File Image: Reuters

Taking a fond look at his wife, a friend proudly said: “She is a classmate of Satya Nadella...!”

These days wherever you go, you get to hear these kind of dialogues. Nadella was my classmate, my wife's brother-in-law, our house is just opposite Nadella's, I used to carry around Nadella when he was a toddler..etc. There are others who claim that they were contemporaries of Nadella. They might have studied senior or junior of Nadella in school or college.

This is something that happens to anyone who is suddenly catapulted in to high office and hence celebrity status, world over. Funny, but there would be hordes who happily claim that the new celebrity, while he was a kid, pissed on his lap. Next thing, you get a description of his great looks and great character. But because Nadella happens to be a bald head with dark framed glasses, admiration about looks are being spared, mercifully. As for admiration of character, no one seems to know him closely, to offer gems of anecdotes.

Satya Nedella Microsoft CEO Satya Nedella gestures while attending a company event. File Image: Reuters

Who is this Satya Nadella? He was the son of a senior IAS officer, and son-in-law of another senior IAS officer, both are of Andhra cadre. He has three children too. But the moment he was chosen to be the third CEO of 38-year-old Microsoft, the game changed. He became the third person, and the first Indian, Microsoft opened its window to let in the CEO, after Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer. His real name is Nadella Satya Narayana. After reaching the shores of US of A, he tweaked his name, like most of the American NRIs, to call himself Satya Nadella. Just like many a Gopal tweaked his name to G.O. Pal.

Americans came to know that there are good engineering colleges in India other than IITs, after they heard that Nadella is not an IITian. He is just a product of Mangalapuram University, to which Manipal Institute of Technology, where he studied, was affiliated to in 1987, when he passed out in Electronics & Telecommunication engineering. Like all smart boys aspiring for a career in US, he too fiddled with GMAT and GRE and crossed over the Atlantic for higher studies. Armed with MS from University of Wisconsin and an MBA from Booth School of Business under Chicago University, Nadella was set for life. First job in Sun Microsystems. Joined Microsoft in 1992.

Even after putting 22 years of service very few has known or even heard of Nadella in Microsoft. Just before being elevated to the office of CEO, Nadella was executive vice-president of cloud and enterprises division. When he took over cloud business in 2012, it was $16 billion in size, by the time he left it grew to $20 billion in two years. Surely, Nadella fits Microsoft's scheme of things.

The world got a taste of what is inside Nadella's bald head, when he answered a question about how women employees can ask for a raise in a women's technology conference recently. He suddenly talked about Indian Karma philosophy. Just put in your Karma and don't expect result. It created a furore around the world and Nadella had to apologise. “I answered that question completely wrong,” he said later.

Microsoft has only 29 per cent of women employees. In most of IT companies in Kerala, women techies are more than 45 per cent. And they move up the ladder faster than men too due to superior communication skills.

Last Post. Nadella takes over Microsoft when Android has stolen a march over Windows and Samsung has decimated Nokia in smart phones. Microsoft has bought Nokia for $ 7.2 billion. Let's see how Nadella fights hard battles in these soft terrains.

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