Although I have only worked for Microsoft as an intern, there was a noticeable difference between the first summer (Ballmer Dynasty) and the second (Nadella Era). Part of that difference was a more innovative atmosphere among leaders and fellow devs. Can Satya turn around the decline of Microsoft? I have no crystal ball, but his leadership is a step in the right direction.

(Satya Nadella) looks the part of a modern technology C.E.O., certainly more than Gates does now or than Ballmer ever did. In Apple’s famous 2006 commercial, in which the staid, uninteresting guy is the P.C. and the hip, cool one is the Mac, Nadella would play the Mac. He is fit, with closely cropped hair. He wears black-rimmed glasses and has even been seen in a hoodie. In his short tenure, he has already used a metaphor with overtones of Zen to explain to the troops what he wants (“a team of rowers working together at the highest level”). One of the reasons the board chose him, according to someone familiar with the process, was that he was an “insider who had the best of what an outsider could bring.” He actually talks to people outside the company, from competitors to venture capitalists. This is unusual in a company that people describe as insular. “You talk about the rise and fall of empires or families or anything; being insular is the best way to sort of kill yourself,” says Nadella.

The Empire Reboots from Vanity Fair. ■