Microsoft Has Been Completely Reborn Under CEO Satya Nadella

Satya Nadella has led a major transformation at Microsoft Inc. (MSFT)  just three years after being named its CEO.

Microsoft, by many accounts, was in dire shape before Nadella took over in 2014. Windows 8 had debuted with poor reception, it was struggling to navigate the smartphone revolution and Zune, the company's iPod lookalike, was considered one of the worst product flops in tech history. There was no doubt that Microsoft had maintained a longstanding legacy in Silicon Valley, but many agreed that it needed a new strategy to compete against its more nimble counterparts like Apple Inc. (AAPL) and Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL) .

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Nadella, the third CEO in Microsoft's 42-year-long history, is largely credited as carrying the company successfully into the 21st century. Before he became chief executive, Nadella served as executive vice president of Microsoft's cloud and enterprise group, which speaks to many of the strategic moves made throughout his tenure so far.

Under Nadella's leadership, Microsoft has embarked on a major transition toward becoming a cloud computing giant through its Azure platform. Microsoft's move to the cloud has led to reorganizations inside the company, the latest of which led to job cuts in the company's global marketing and sales team. The layoffs are said to have affected thousands of employees. 

Nadella has organized two other rounds of layoffs -- one being the largest in Microsoft's history -- during his tenure, but employees still seem fairly happy with the CEO. 

Wall Street has been applauding Nadella, too. Shares of Microsoft have more than doubled since he became CEO. Most of Microsoft's biggest bulls are betting on the fact that the company is a strong growth story build on continued success in the cloud, all under Nadella's leadership.

Here are some of the biggest moves Nadella has made at Microsoft so far: 

1. Microsoft's monster $26.2 billion acquisition of LinkedIn


Two years into Nadella's term, Microsoft scooped up social networking site LinkedIn -- the largest acquisition in the company's deal history. Unlike Microsoft's acquisition of Nokia, which resulted in a costly write-down of $7.9 billion, the LinkedIn deal has helped build out Microsoft's portfolio of services, as well as lent a hand in connecting the company with new movers and shakers in Silicon Valley.

2. Nadella eases Microsoft's war with Apple
2. Nadella eases Microsoft's war with Apple

It's no secret that Microsoft and Apple have been engaged in a bitter feud for several decades, but during Nadella's tenure so far the rivalry has somewhat simmered down. Microsoft announced in 2014 that its Office apps would be available on the iPad, which brought Kirk Koenigsbauer, corporate vice president of Office 365, on stage at Apple's WWDC event a year later. Satya Nadella made bigger waves when he used an iPhone at Salesforce.com Inc.'s (CRM) Dreamforce event in 2015 to demo a new Outlook app. 

No doubt, the competition remains strong between Microsoft and Apple, but the companies have shown they can be civil since Nadella became CEO.

3. Microsoft returns to consistent profitability
3. Microsoft returns to consistent profitability

Microsoft posted its first-ever quarterly loss six months before Nadella took over as CEO. Under his leadership, Microsoft has been nicely profitable under and continues to see near double-digit gains in its cloud business.

4. Microsoft releases its first laptop
4. Microsoft releases its first laptop

In 2015, Nadella stewarded Microsoft's jump into the portable PC market when the company released the Surface Book, its first-ever laptop. Like the older Surface Pro, the Surface Book had a detachable screen, attached to the keyboard with a signature "dynamic fulcrum hinge" that's lasted into the later Surface models, including the Surface Pro, which was released earlier this year. 

At the time of its release, the Surface Book was heralded as Microsoft's true challenge to Apple in the crowded laptop market.

5. Microsoft's launch into the cloud gets some clarity
5. Microsoft's launch into the cloud gets some clarity

Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer began Microsoft's ascent into the cloud computing market, but Nadella is largely credited for cementing the move. While Microsoft's Azure is widely considered second to Amazon Web Services in terms of the public cloud, Nadella has scaled out Azure quickly and successfully since its release in 2010. 

Microsoft doesn't give specific revenue figures for Azure, but said in its most recent earnings report that Azure revenues grew 90%. Intelligent Cloud sales, which includes Azure, were $6.9 billion during the quarter, up 14% from the prior year.

6. Shares of Microsoft burst through a record
6. Shares of Microsoft burst through a record

In October, Microsoft's stock rocketed to fresh all-time highs -- beating the record set in 1999, a time when the tech giant was basking in its role as the king of PC computers. Shares were propelled higher after Microsoft posted stronger-than-expected results for the 2016 first quarter, driven by impressive gains in the Cloud and Office businesses. 

Shares are still hovering around their new all-time high hit in early November.

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