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Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella could have worked at Amazon — but he took a hard-charging offer to run Bing instead

  • Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos tried to get Satya Nadella to jump ship, according to a profile of Nadella in Fast Company.
  • Then-Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer had different plans, the magazine reports.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella could have gone down a very different career path.

Nadella has spent almost his entire career working up the ranks at Microsoft. But at one point, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos tried to get him to jump ship, according to a profile of Nadella in Fast Company.

"Early on, Jeff Bezos was trying to recruit him [to Amazon]," North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, a former Microsoft manager, told the magazine. "It was my job to re-recruit him."

While Nadella was being groomed as Burgum's protege, then-Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer had different plans, Fast Company reports. Ballmer reportedly wanted Nadella to run Microsoft search engine Bing.

"Steve was very clear," Nadella told Fast Company. "He just said, 'Look, this is the most important challenge I have. I don't think this is maybe even a smart decision for you, but I want you to do it. Think wisely, and choose. And by the way, if you fail, there's no parachute. It's not like I'm going to come and rescue you and put you back into your old job.'"

Though Bing may not have the same glamour as Amazon, Nadella took the challenge — and it's lucky for Microsoft that he did. While Nadella's appointment as CEO was met with some skepticism, shares of Microsoft were trading at all-time high levels on Monday, dating to its IPO in March 1986.

For more on Nadella's reboot of Microsoft, see the full profile at FastCompany. com