Nadella departs from predecessor's practice, will do earnings call Thursday
'It does matter -- big time,' says Wall Street analyst, of CEO participation
Computerworld - Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella will participate in Thursday's quarterly earnings call, a departure from the company's past practice, when former chief executive Steve Ballmer rarely joined calls with Wall Street analysts.
Microsoft listed Nadella as a participant in a one-line announcement on its investor relations website. Geekwire first noticed, and reported on, the CEO's plan to join the call.
The change will put Microsoft in the same league as Apple, whose CEO Tim Cook regularly is on his company's earnings calls, and several other technology firms, like Facebook (Mark Zuckerberg), Hewlett-Packard (Meg Whitman) and Yahoo (Marissa Mayer).
Ballmer did not participate in any of Microsoft's earnings calls from January 2010 on, as far back as Computerworld researched.
Ballmer was not the only technology CEO who didn't bother with earnings reports. Before Steve Jobs stepped down as Apple CEO in 2011, he rarely participated in Apple's. Google CEO Larry Page also does not regularly take part in his firm's calls, nor does Ginni Rometty in IBM's.
The presence of the CEO on a call, however, does not necessarily mean more information. Apple's Cook, for example, never strays from the company's policy of not discussing future plans, although at times he alludes to them in the broadest terms, such as last year when he said that Apple had some "great stuff" and "amazing new hardware" through 2013's final quarters and into 2014, vague comments that one analyst said had "zero information content."
Still, a CEO's involvement means something.
"It does matter -- big time," said Brian Marshall, senior managing director at ISI International Strategy & Investment and a frequent participant on corporate earnings calls. "[It] basically tells the investment community and shareholders that they are important."
Nadella may be on the Microsoft call Thursday for that very reason. Not only is he new to the job -- he assumed the role Feb. 4 -- and so is still relatively unknown to Wall Street, but he has been busy describing his strategy for the company. The earnings call will give him another opportunity to make his case.
He could face some tough questions. While Microsoft shares have gained about 7% so far this year, the company must deal with a wealth of challenges and challengers as it pivots to Nadella's "mobile first, cloud first" strategy -- described as "devices and services" by his forerunner -- as it begins to digest Nokia's handset business, and tries to keep its Windows and Office divisions bringing in billions even as PC shipments contract.
Microsoft will hold its March quarter earnings call tomorrow starting at 2:30 p.m. PT (5:30 p.m. ET). The live audio stream can be accessed from Microsoft's website at that time.
Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Chinese regulators target Microsoft for office visits
- Layoffs cool Microsoft employees' opinion of CEO Satya Nadella
- How Microsoft's CEO sees growth for Windows Phone and Lumia
- Microsoft wants you to forget Windows 8
- Microsoft again writes off Surface inventory, renews profitability doubts
- 'Nadella Effect' makes Ballmer $2.8B richer
- Microsoft reveals bankruptcy of devices strategy by dumping Nokia feature phones
- Microsoft may drag out layoffs for a year
- Surface survives Microsoft cuts, but tablet strategy remains muddled
- As it lays off workers, Microsoft also kills its low-end Nokia X smartphones
Read more about IT Leadership in Computerworld's IT Leadership Topic Center.
- The Social Business: Unlocking the collective knowledge of people Five years ago, IBM observed the planet was becoming instrumented, interconnected and intelligent. 20,000 engagements later, here's what we know and believe about...
- Market Overview: Digital Customer Experience Delivery Platforms Forrester states that businesses today struggle to understand and use the tools necessary to create and manage unified, multichannel digital customer experiences across...
- Enabling Unified Service Delivery Management With the nGeniusONE Platform Today's IT organizations manage diverse business services comprising a host of applications running on many server farms within the data center.
- Transform Your Data Center from Basic to Strategic by Increasing Operational Efficiency and Optimizing Intelligence Find out how data center and facilities management are able to use DCIM solutions and a pioneering "zone" approach to bridge the information...
- On-demand webinar - 7 Keys to Service Catalog Implementation Success Watch this webinar to learn 7 crucial keys to make your service catalog a success!
- Zoning in on Energy and Physical Infrastructure Management In this Webcast you will learn how to develop and execute a strategy to optimize the energy efficiency of your data center. All IT Leadership White Papers | Webcasts