With the recent appointment of Satya Nadella to CEO of Microsoft it highlights and cements a trend in software-world – the importance of search right up to the top. As the online world diversifies and new products and areas take centre stage the fact still remains that search is the primary sphere of internet use worldwide. Not only that but it provides the money that keeps the online world spinning and all the new innovations coming – the majority of advertising revenues are sourced this way.
For all that social media takes the spotlight, the true star of online is still search. People use it on a daily basis globally, and its importance doesn’t look like stopping any time soon. As a result perhaps this latest CEO appointment, and others before it, prove how vital it is to have people who understand search right at the top.
So which of our lead players are run by a search specialist? Well, all of them really and then some. Original search specialist-turned-CEO is Google’s Larry Page. With Google from the outset he was instrumental in creating Google’s search engine and laying the foundations for it becoming the success it is today. He momentarily passed his CEO crown to Eric Schmidt, less au fait with the world of search, however he has since stepped back in to the role.
Although Google are diversifying to a huge degree, and Larry no longer has any visible ties directly with search, it could be said that his deep understanding of it means he doesn’t have to worry over what is still likely considered a crux of their operations.
Yahoo’s Search CEO, Marissa Mayer also has a strong search background, having come from Google search. Her role within it was customer-facing however her knowledge and understanding of it will be water-tight. Her latest role may prove a tricky one in terms of getting Yahoo back to where it should be in terms of search however her background will no doubt help with this.
Commentators posit that it will be new partnerships (with Google or Microsoft most likely) that will comprise Mayer’s plan of action for driving Yahoo search forward. Arguably the possibility of them regaining strength in that area by themselves will be all but impossible, given that they gave their search technology to Microsoft.
And then there is Microsoft itself with Nadella now at the helm. Nadella is also ex-Google and his beginnings at Microsoft were within search. He was originally given a hefty task by being given a clunky product to oversee (Microsoft Windows Live MSN Search, as tricksy a product as its name) however Bing is now up and running and a healthy second competitor to market-leading Google.
So far Bing has been quite indistinguishable from Microsoft in terms of its own brand however with Nadella’s background he may look to change this. It’s quite different from what potential candidate Stephen Elop may have done should he have taken the role; it’s possible that he may have got rid of Microsoft’s search element altogether.
It’s not just these companies that recognise and support the importance of and need for good search specialists – AOL and Facebook also have plenty of search specialists within their own senior management teams.