Interview of Microsoft’s Satya Nadella at SMX Advanced

Monday night at SMX Advanced in Seattle, Danny Sullivan sat down with Satya Nadella, who is the Corporate Vice President of Microsoft’s newly-created Search & Advertising Platform Group. In this role, he leads the engineering team for Microsoft’s Search, Advertising, and Commerce platforms.

The first impression I got from the conversation is just how extremely well spoken Satya is. A few other interesting things came out of the conversation:

  1. A clear sense of humility regarding Microsoft’s current place in the market. At one point, Satya commented on how small the current market share is, that they don’t “have much to lose”.
  2. Microsoft has 55M users use Live Search per month. Satya indicated that this was about half of Google’s reach. But the problem is that Microsoft does not get each user to use them nearly as often as they use Google, and the challenge they fact is to increase the engagement of customers with Live Search. If I was Google, that reach number would scare me. As Microsoft improves their search result quality, it seems likely that they will have no trouble at all at getting people to discover that.
  3. Microsoft intends to increase the integration of search into Windows Messenger and Outlook.
  4. There are four major areas where Microsoft feels that they have differentiated themselves:

The net conclusion I took away from all this is that it’s still very, very early in the search game. Google and Yahoo! should be very, very afraid of the potential of Microsoft. Microsoft has far more cash, and spins off far more profit then Google and Yahoo! combined. Combine that with the reach they already have, and they remain a very dangerous competitor.

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