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Microsoft CEO decision puts focus on the cloud

Tuesday, 4 Feb 2014 | 3:12 PM ET
Gates gives nod to new Microsoft CEO
Tuesday, 4 Feb 2014 | 12:00 PM ET
CNBC's Josh Lipton, Engadget Managing Editor Dana Wollman and CNET Senior Editor Dan Ackerman discuss Satya Nadella as Microsoft's new CEO and Bill Gates' new role at the firm he founded.

Microsoft named company insider Satya Nadella as its CEO on Tuesday, highlighting the role of the tech giant's cloud computing business as a part of its future.

"Satya's got the right background to lead the company during this era," said Microsoft founder Bill Gates. "There's a challenge in mobile computing. There's an opportunity in the cloud. And the various business groups he's worked in—he's driven innovation, gotten architectures put together that really meet the needs of our customers."

Nadella was most recently executive vice president of Microsoft's cloud computing and enterprise division.

(Read more: Microsoft's new CEO: An insider and a 'cloud' man)

"It's a clear vote for remote and cloud computing as a major part of [Microsoft's] future" at a time when PC sales are lagging, said CNET Senior Editor Dan Ackerman.

"Windows 8 hasn't stopped a decline in PC sales, nor is it driving upgrades," he said.

Choosing a 22-year veteran of Microsoft may have been a safe bet, according to Engadget Managing Editor Dana Wollman, but the new chief has his work cut out for him.

"Nadella has never led a company before," she said. "He's an engineer by training, with some additional background in business. [Former CEO Steve] Ballmer was the opposite: a businessman who happened to work in the technology industry."

—By CNBC's Althea Chang