Trending: Expedia cuts 3,000 jobs, including 500 at new Seattle HQ — read the internal email to employees
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella speaks at Microsoft Envision in New Orleans earlier this year. Photo by Kevin Lisota / GeekWire.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella speaks at Microsoft Envision in New Orleans earlier this year. Photo by Kevin Lisota / GeekWire.

“We are the company that stands for builders, makers and creators.”

That’s how Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella described his company at the WSJDLive Conference in Laguna Beach, Calif. on Monday evening.

microsoft logoToward the end of a wide-ranging interview with Wall Street Journal Editor Gerard Baker that touched on everything from Microsoft’s mobile mishaps to its pending LinkedIn acquisition, Nadella was asked about Microsoft’s brand.

Baker pressed Nadella, noting how many people feel like they need Microsoft’s products but not necessarily love them.

The CEO began by describing a photo Microsoft employees use internally for motivation: Someone walking out of a store with an Xbox console, hugging it.

“To me, that’s a fan of Xbox,” Nadella said. “We have brands inside of Microsoft that have fans. We have fans of OneNote. Believe it or not, we have great fans of Excel — I’m one of them.”

Continued Nadella:

Photo via Microsoft/Minecraft
Photo via Microsoft/Minecraft

“The bar of consumer products in particular is such that if you don’t stand up to it — and not just once but continuously — you will get punished for it. To me, the Microsoft brand has always stood for being the company that has got a bit of a utilitarian bend to it, which I think is a good one. That’s who we are — we are the company that stands for builders, makers, and creators. That’s the brand that we want.”

Baker came back with a follow-up response, asking Nadella if it bothers him that Microsoft’s brand isn’t as well known to younger consumers as an Apple, Facebook, Google, or Amazon.

Satya Nadella speaks at Microsoft Ignite 2016 (GeekWire Photo/Kevin Lisota)
Satya Nadella speaks at Microsoft Ignite 2016 (GeekWire Photo/Kevin Lisota)

Nadella said that those customers will know Minecraft and Xbox.

“To me, having a set of brands and set of products for that demographic and especially kids and college students — it’s super important to us,” he said, adding that “I don’t want to sort of devalue a lot of other things that we do for different audiences only to the exclusion of this.”

While Microsoft’s brand may not as “popular” as other tech giants, its bottom line certainly isn’t hurting. The company beat expectations with $22.3 billion in revenue for its most recent quarter last week as its stock price reached all-time highs. Its market cap is now nearing $500 billion — third to only Apple and Alphabet as the world’s most valuable tech company.

Microsoft shares stayed relatively flat for the decade or so before Nadella took over in 2014. He’s certainly part of Microsoft’s recent resurgence of sorts, focusing on the company’s cloud computing business and helped rebuild the company’s status as a tech powerhouse. A number of stock analysts last week upgraded their outlooks on Microsoft, and MarketWatch even dubbed the company the “comeback kid.”

Nadella has also helped change the culture internally at Microsoft and he was asked about that during Monday’s interview. The CEO echoed his earlier comments about being a “learn-it-all” culture versus one that is a “know-it-all” culture.

Here are some other tidbits from Nadella’s interview with WSJ:

Like what you're reading? Subscribe to GeekWire's free newsletters to catch every headline


Job Listings on GeekWork

Find more jobs on GeekWork. Employers, post a job here.