By now you’ve probably heard more than you want to about Alibaba’s upcoming IPO, estimated to become the largest IPO, raising around $24bn and valuing the Chinese e-commerce giant at $160bn or more. But this event bears even greater significance than its size would indicate. Along with TenCent and Baidu, Alibaba makes up a powerful troika of Chinese internet platforms. Alibaba’s rapid growth, profitability and dominance of the massive Chinese internet marketplace is sure to impact the strategies of Amazon, Google, Facebook, eBay, Yahoo!, and others to compete successfully in that enormous market as well as in other Asian countries, not to mention in other regions.
Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s new CEO, has come into the top leadership position at a challenging but potentially exciting time for the company. After fourteen years with Steve Ballmer occupying the role, during which time Microsoft went from being arguably the most powerful player in tech to being “merely” a highly profitable cash machine, Nadella is faced with the opportunity to make the company relevant again, to help it grow and profit in major new categories and thus to reinvigorate the company’s power and valuation, which has languished since 2000. How is he doing? And what are we learning about the importance of the right leadership philosophy, style, and future impact, from Nadella’s initial moves?