New Microsoft CEO an unknown to the Canadian channel

The one constant the Canadian channel community has about the new CEO of Microsoft Satya Nadella is that they don’t know anything about him.

Harry Zarek, the president of CEO of CDN Top 100 Solution Provider Compugen, for example admitted to not knowing Nadella.

HarryZarekSmall“Don’t know him so can’t comment on his personal style. I do appreciate the board realizes this is a very complex business and having a deep understanding of technology is critical to leading Microsoft. It appears that an internal leadership role is the best for the company. This is a strong rebuttal to the Wall Street detractors whose only interest is to strip the business of its retained earnings to pay the shareholders,” Zarek said.


Brian Bourne, the president of CMS Consulting and a long time backer of Microsoft in the channel, also did not know Nadella too well.

However, Bourne said he heard at the MVP Summit in November of 2013 that Nadella was really driving hard to get the on-premise and cloud teams to work better together.

BrianBourne“I think this will be critical for Microsoft to bring to market a competitive, and hopefully leading hybrid cloud solution.  I’m also optimistic that with Gates stepping away from his chairman role and back into a role where he can influence technology decisions that we’ll see more innovation from the company,” Bourne said.


In distribution, both Ingram Micro Canada president Mark Snider and Tech Data Canada president Rick Reid found the appointment of Nadella positive.

Snider said Nadella’s long, 22-year time at Microsoft means he helped create the current vision.

MarkSniderSmall“This… should require little ramp up time.  We’d expect very little disruption given he is an internal candidate and the street seems to agree. The move appears in line with Microsoft’s continued transformation from a software company to service- and device-focused company. Ingram Micro remains excited about this new evolution of Microsoft’s leadership, and our relationship in Canada with Microsoft has never been stronger. We feel Satya’s appointment will only accelerate our growth and partnership,” Snider said.

Reid told CDN that Nadella’s appointment brings exciting times to Microsoft as they build momentum in new markets for Windows devices and cloud services.

RickReid3“It’s great to see that Microsoft has moved swiftly in appointing Nadella which will allow the company to maintain momentum in their second semester.  We’re looking forward to meeting Satya Nadella as Microsoft is an extremely important partner to Tech Data Canada and our Corporation as a whole,” Reid said.



Bradley Brodkin, president of CDN Top 100 Solution Provider High Vail Systems, believes Microsoft will continue to be a major force in the enterprise.

“What I’ve read so far seems to be that he was nurtured by Ballmer, but knows the enterprise and cloud sides of their business best.  Perhaps he might put more emphasis or the BING platform as a back-end offering to the enterprise, that would be interesting,” Brodkin said.

Some solution providers found the Nadella appointment to be a great relief.

Joe Ussia, the president of CDN Top 100 Solution Provider Infinite IT Solutions of Mississauga, Ont., said that after almost half a year without a formal leader it’s with great relief that Microsoft has named someone to take helm of the company.

“Satya Nadella brings several years of experience to the role, having spent time in the trenches over the past two decades.  His selection makes sense to me considering the monthly reoccurring cloud revenue stream is where the IT industry is heading.  His leadership style is quite different than his previous two predecessors, which we anticipate, as a Microsoft partner, will enhance value to us as a channel partner in turn enabling us to deliver more remarkable solutions to address the mission critical business objectives of our clients,” Ussia said.

Dave Frederickson, Long View’s vice president, business development, said he was thrilled with the appointment of Nadella.

“This offers a good blend of stability and innovation for Microsoft and it’s customers. Satya’s background in the enterprise and cloud is very positive for partners like Long View, as we both understand what it takes to be successful and to drive the agenda around Hybrid IT in the enterprise,” Frederickson said.

The cloud also came into the discussion of Nadella’s appointment. Charles Weaver, the CEO of the International Association of Cloud & Managed Service Providers, wants to know what Nadella will do in terms of Microsoft’s cloud strategy.

“In my humble opinion, there is one question which needs to be addressed by Nadella: what is Microsoft’s private cloud strategy? Just take a look at companies like IBM and you can see where they believe the MSP and cloud providers should be heading. Microsoft cannot just rely on Office365 to survive. MSPs (i.e., the entire IT channel) need to re-engaged. The channel used to be responsible for selling a lot of Microsoft products. Those days could return, depending on what Mr. Nadella decides in these next few months,” he said.

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Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Former editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

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