"This is the first real black eye from Nadella since he took over for Ballmer. To his credit he apologized quickly, but this does shed light on a real issue—that women are being paid less than their male counterparts in Silicon Valley and that there's a real gender gap," said Edward Baig, tech columnist for USA Today.
Microsoft posted a memo from Nadella on its website that addressed his comments made at the conference. He states that he answered the question "completely wrong" and that he thinks "men and women should get equal pay for equal work." Nadella also adds that "if you think you deserve a raise, you should just ask."
Baig noted that the gender gap issue is not going to be solved overnight but the fact that this has become a big story, especially with Microsoft being a well-known tech company. This misstep for Nadella has the potential to force some positive change, Baig said.
"I believe Microsoft wants to move on from this as quickly as they can and focus back on what they're doing with Windows 10, which of course is the huge windows initiative announced a week ago," he said.