When you think about Microsoft, Bill Gates comes to mind more often than Satya Nadella. While Gates founded the company, Microsoft has a new boss who calls the shots. Satya Nadella is the CEO of this tech giant, and the man who has recently scaled Micrsoft to great heights.

He earned this position through business skills and crafty entrepreneurship. He’s a man known to be successful in his field. But, there are moments when he suffers defeats like any other person. If you need some inspiration, you’ll enjoy this article about the 5 failures of Satya Nadella and how he overcame them:

1. Not acquiring TikTok

Acquiring TikTok seemed like a game-changer for Microsoft, but that dream was short-lived. It was a chance to expand their market reach and customer base. His failure to acquire TikTok also marked one of Satya Nadella’s defeats as the CEO of Microsoft Corp. However, that didn’t mark the end of his hunt for the next big thing.

At first glance, the pursuit of the social network doesn’t seem like a logical investment for the tech giant. It has no connection to their core business models. However, many would argue that the tech giant could’ve used the platform to maintain business momentum. Most importantly, it would help boost the stock prices, even further.

According to analysts, Microsoft needed to tap into new markets to sustain its rapid growth. Doing this would also help with the long-term growth of the market size. Even before he set his eye on TikTok, Nadella was looking for a growth driver for the company.

The failure to seal the deal doesn’t mean he’s done with that pursuit.  And his next target may not necessarily be a social network. It could be any ground-breaking innovation that will scale the company.

Risk-taking is also important if you want to accomplish great things. There was immense tension between the US and China when Nadella was pursuing TikTok. Nevertheless, that didn’t stop him from initiating the negotiations for the purchase of this platform. That shows you how far he can go to achieve results.

What startup founders can learn

Sometimes a great opportunity may slip between your fingers. However, that doesn’t mean it’s the end of the road for you. While people say opportunities come once, things are different in practice. Countless opportunities pop up when you’re running and growing a business. Take a page out of Nadella’s book – don’t let the loss of one opportunity mark the end of your pursuit of others. The failed opportunity could actually be a lesson on how to acquire the next big thing in your industry.

2. Leaving the consumer market

The exit of Microsoft from the consumer market is among Nadella’s biggest regrets. According to him, he failed to commit consumers who were loyal to Microsoft.

While he never mentions the users he failed, anyone can tell who he’s talking about. He failed to commit to their massive Windows user base. He backed down on his promise of developing a Windows phone. To make things worse, when he abandoned the Windows phone, the market was in great shape.

Among his the most important ways in which he failed Mircosoft consumers was his failure to invest in informative marketing and his failure to follow through with the Windows phone. Not to mention the lack of universal applications that cut across all platforms. In all these ways and more, he broke his commitment to users.

The cost of deserting these users was greater than a few annoyed customers. As Nadella discovered, mobile platforms are not only vital to consumers but also to OEM and developer relationships. Furthermore, they’re an integral part of future innovations like smart wearables, smart speakers, and smart homes. Therefore, by abandoning the Window phone, Mircosoft passed an important bridge to the future.

What startup founders can learn

Before withdrawing a product or service because you believe it’s failed, it’s important to conduct market research. Sometimes the good elements may offer great potential to tap into. You may assume a product or service is unreliable when it actually offers a lot of opportunity for growth. Nadella didn’t realize this until it was too late. As a result, he discontinued an entire sector with potential in the market.

3. Working with a former CEO

It’s no doubt that Satya Nadella is a brilliant mind. But what happens when you work in a company with the former CEO and founder as a board member? Well, as Nadella has discovered, board meetings with a former CEO like Bill Gates can be pretty intense. Let’s face it – as much as the former CEO let go of their seat, they still need their goals to be upheld.

At the same time, you’ve got your own goals to achieve in the company. While this doesn’t exactly count as a failure, it’s a major challenge that Nadella has to put up with. He’s got to balance between the former CEO’s goals for the company and his own.

What startup founders can learn

If you’re a co-founder of a startup, you’ve got to establish what your goal is while simultaneously offering your co-founder flexibility. You should adopt new concepts from members of your time – that’s what makes a venture successful. Nadella has demonstrated this well at Microsoft. He accommodates constructive suggestions from others.

Lessons from Satya Nadella’s failures

1. Nothing is beyond reach

There’s nothing in Nadella’s background to boast about, especially given the daily struggles he had to grapple with when he was young. Even so, these challenges didn’t affect his dreams and ambitions. He was born in an impoverished community in India, where the thought of having a future CEO in the village was farfetched.

Satya didn’t allow his background to be the reason why he was not achieving his dreams. Instead, he invested his time in learning. After gaining his degree from college, he went abroad. At Wisconsin, he pursued a Master’s program in Computer Science. It’s this degree that created an opportunity for him to join Microsoft Corp.

During that period, Microsoft was the biggest tech giant in the world. That didn’t stop his ambition. After joining the company, he climbed the ranks until he secured the CEO position.

His journey emphasizes that nothing is beyond reach. Regardless of your family wealth and connections, you can still achieve your goals – no matter how ambitious they may seem. To entrepreneurs, this knowledge is a source of inspiration that they can make it. Persistent drive and great ambition can propel you to great heights.

2. Be creative

Nadella’s career at Google started from the ground level to the top office. This just goes to show how much potential a seemingly small job can offer. In order to achieve this potential, innovation matters, especially in the tech sector. Satya was determined not to remain in that starting position for long. Through innovative thinking, he rose in the ranks gradually.

Over the years, his creativity earned him many promotions. For example, he was once the head of Microsoft search portal development. In this position, his creative approaches made him stand out among the rest of the company. His creative mind is also among the reasons he was considered for the CEO post.

That just goes to show how critical the need for innovation is in the current market. As an entrepreneur, you should be prepared to deploy your creative skills to create a successful business. If you’re targeting promotion in a company, creativity can help you stand out when it matters most.

3. Get ready for the unexpected

Nadella’s first interview with Microsoft was longer than expected. He was called upon to answer many computer-related questions, and he answered them briliantly. However, at the last minute, Nadella got an unexpected question. It was a simple question – “What would you do if you saw a child falling on the crosswalk?” This was a test of empathy which Nadella failed by saying he would call for help instead of picking the child up.

Since Nadella answered all the other questions so well, his answer to this question didn’t cost him his job. Even so, it’s a good lesson for those who want to come across as empathetic. You should offer a helping hand to those who need it.

The moral of this is that you should always display empathy when it’s necessary. Furthermore, always expect the unexpected when you’re meeting with the CEO of that big company that you have your heart set on working for.

4. Teamwork is vital

While he had a brilliant mind, Nadella didn’t succeed alone. If anything, he considers himself part of a bigger team, even now that he’s at the top. According to him, it’s important to be part of a team. What’s more, it’s that very team that will help you reach greater heights. Unfortunately, the road to success is deserted. To avoid the loneliness that comes with it, you need a team. They will push you to achieve your goals and inspire you to aim even higher.

If you want to be a team leader, you shouldn’t blatantly claim that position. Instead, you should prove you are worthy of the title through your actions. To be a good leader, you must offer clarity when there’s a crisis. But that’s only half of it. The second half is about inspiration. Team leaders often motivate their team. They help them find the energy to go on even when they’re exhausted and worn out. You should be able to inspire your team and encourage them to draw on their creativity.

When the people above you notice that you can provide clarity to your colleagues in dire situations, you’ll already be half qualified for promotion. To seal the deal, you need to be able to motivate your team. You should evoke energy among your colleagues even when the atmosphere at the office is very dull. These qualities are what will distinguish you from the rest of your colleagues.

5. Dream with no limitations

How do you define your dreams? Do you consider your current situation when choosing which dream to pursue or do you simply go for it?  Well, the best dreams are those that seem beyond reach. When you accomplish them, the level of satisfaction is unimaginable. Don’t limit your dream, whether you’re pursuing your own business venture or trying to climb the corporate ladder.


Satya Nadella has always encouraged other entrepreneurs to learn from his mistakes. He knows from experience that failures can help you establish a successful career in the business sector.

When you fail, you can learn a lot about what went wrong. More importantly, you’ll know how to address similar obstacles in the future. From his perspective, he has built a successful career from several failures. But to make it to this point in life, he had to choose to treat each failure as a lesson.

However, this doesn’t mean you should aim to fail often. What you should do, however, is look for lessons in your failures and treat them as stepping stones to success.

How Pressfarm can elevate your business

You shouldn’t wait to fail before you invest in marketing and PR for your business. Many startup founders who are just starting out ignore the need for PR because it seems expensive at the outset. However, there are actually PR services designed specifically with startups in mind. Pressfarm specializes in providing PR services designed to fit within the modest budget of a startup while boosting online visibility.

The PR specialists, expert writers and certified designers at Pressfarm can help you create winning content that will make you look good. With a professional press release, engaging guest posts and a captivating media kit, you can introduce your brand to the world in a memorable way. Beyond that, you can make a name for yourself as a thought leader in your field.

Pressfarm distributes this content widely within your niche to help you reach your target audience and win them over to your brand. The Pressfarm team goes one step further, by building a custom media kit that can help you to continue doing media outreach long after they have wrapped up your campaign.

A PR package from Pressfarm could be exactly what you need to build a positive brand image as you’re launching your business.