You know, I had a great deal of respect for Nadella. When I met him he seemed to have his head glued on and understood the plight of his customers. But this apparently all changed when he took the CEO's seat.
What was a brilliant engineer that looked towards creating products that businesses of all sizes needed for prices they could actually afford has become twisted into merely carrying the banner forth with different verbiage. Nadella is banging the "cloud" drum as loud as he can, not realising that it will never be an option for many of us, and won't be an option for most of us until he accepts that we don't move on three-year refresh cycles. The cloud has to be cheaper than 5 year refresh cycles for the commercial midmarket and 10 year refresh cycles for the smallest businesses.
That's before we get into data sovereignty concerns or what Microsoft laughingly terms "support" for both Office 365 and Azure. What is on the table today is not okay, and it's not the the foundation of a stable, mass market future.
Yes, there will always be a niche group of businesses - mostly those that are developer heavy and/or cloud evangelists that would use the cloud even at thrice the price - that will eat whatever is put in front of them without asking nasty questions about value for dollar. Yes, for certain workloads cloud computing makes good sense for enterprises...especially those that massively overpay for their IT as it is.
But the cloud isn't going to build tomorrow's sysadmins. An MSDN account no individual can afford (and most SMBs won't buy) isn't a replacement for Technet. Ever increasing SPLA prices aren't going to keep service providers and the channel alive, and "one app development style to rule them all" won't help your developers if everyone loathes Metro and refuses to uses Metro apps.
Microsoft under Nadella is accelerating the decay that it was experiencing under Ballmer. Ballmer was making bets on Metro, the Cloud, Mobile and so forth...but he wasn't busily sawing off his traditional markets, products and services like Nadella.
Now, maybe I'm horribly, completely, world-endingly wrong. Maybe I am the last hold out of a dying past and the world actually wants this cloudy, subscription-based, US law applies to your data and you have no rights world. Maybe everyone in every other part of the world has the ability to "just charge more" whenever Microsoft decides to turn the knobs on their pricing and maybe the whole world is okay with Microsoft having so much control over monthly business IT costs that they have a knob that gives them tangible effect on the global economy.
If, however, I'm not completely batshit bananas here then many - if not most - businesses agree with me that we have yet to be convinced that this is the future we want to buy into. If that's the case, then Microsoft under Nadella is taking a gigantic risk. Killing off their partner and channel ecosystem by pieces, telling the sysadmins and technologists who supported Microsoft for decades to fuck off and kicking non-niche SMBs and the commercial midmarket to the curb.
They are betting on the cloud - and mobile - to the point that they are willing to simply throw away all previous segments and businesses, and along with it any hope of being viewed by the general public, sysadmins, or people who sign the cheques as different (let alone better) than Oracle.
They are prepared to bet reputation, goodwill and market share all on cloud and mobile. If they are wrong, they are done. They are actively pruning and eliminating their backup plans.
I am willing to admit I could be the crazy one here. I don't get paid billions, Nadella does. But if there is a coherent strategy here that is something other than "wildly gambling with the jobs of 100,000+ people" I honestly can't see it.
Microsoft feels to me like Sony did in the 90s. I looked to Sony's actions and said "you can't keep making these proprietary formats, or putting rootkits on your CDs or charging 3x what everyone else does for electronics, etc." Everyone said I was mad then; Sony was a legacy. Sony would endure.
Well, Sony hasn't fared well. And in large part it's because of the overwhelming contempt with which they've treated their customers. Microsoft, on the other hand, seems prepared to add partners, developers and staff to the list of groups they treat with contempt, which makes me less than positive about their long-term outlook.