Humorists strike gold with Nadella's promotion, Gates' job change

Humorists strike gold with Nadella's promotion, Gates' job change

The Onion and Andy Borowitz take aim at everything from old, bulky CEOs to Windows 8.1 installation issues

Humorists stuck a minor gold mine yesterday when Microsoft anointed Satya Nadella, a veteran company insider, as its new CEO, proving that funny can be found in the most unlikely places.

Nadella, 46, was named Microsoft's third-ever CEO. Along with Nadella's new role, Microsoft also announced that co-founder Bill Gates had quit his job as chairman of the board and would serve as Nadella's advisor on technology and product selection issues.

Both moves - the former long expected, but the latter somewhat a surprise - brought out the comics.

In a faux story, The Onion quoted a fictitious Microsoft employee who bemoaned the "brand-new thin, mobile CEO", a reference to Nadella's svelte silhouette, and wished for the old days, when technology CEOs "were so large they took up entire rooms".

While that may have been a dig of sorts at ex-CEO Steve Ballmer's bulkier shape, it also reminded readers of the time when computers themselves were warehouse-sized and required climate-controlled space to run without melting down.

The ultimate slam, however, was reserved for The Onion's last line: "Despite their difference in size and ability, tech CEOs of today were still essentially the same calculating, unfeeling machines underneath their exteriors."

Meanwhile, Andy Borowitz, a humorist whose work appears on the New Yorker magazine's website, took aim at Gates' new job.

"Bill Gates' first day at work in the newly created role of technology adviser got off to a rocky start yesterday as the Microsoft founder struggled for hours to install the Windows 8.1 upgrade," Borowitz wrote.

Borowitz continued in that vein, "reporting" that Gates and Nadella spent "tense" hours behind closed doors, eventually failing to get Windows 8.1 to install on Gates' PC.

Like The Onion, Borowitz saved his most scathing bit for the end.

"A Microsoft spokesman said only that Mr. Gates' first day in his new job had been 'a learning experience' and that, for the immediate future, he would go back to running Windows 7," Borowitz's piece ended.

That was a reference to complaints from vocal critics of the two-headed Windows 8.1, which offers the traditional Windows desktop user interface (UI) and one dubbed "Metro," that features colorful tiles and mobile-style apps.

Hewlett-Packard leveraged that frustration -- without the humor -- when it began marketing Windows 7-powered PCs to consumers from its sales website.

So far, no China-based publication has taken The Onion or Borowitz at face value, as one did almost a year ago when the latter claimed that a North Korean missile test had been delayed because the program relied on Windows 8.

Borowitz, for one, has been an equal-opportunity jokester. In September 2012, he said that Apple had urged users of the company's then-new Maps app to "not try to go anywhere" and "stay at home" or risk getting lost.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed. His email address is

See more by Gregg Keizer on

Read more about it leadership in Computerworld's IT Leadership Topic Center.

Follow Us

Join the New Zealand Reseller News newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags IT industryMicrosoftThe OnionCIO roleIT LeadershipIT management



Kiwi channel comes together for another round of After Hours

Kiwi channel comes together for another round of After Hours

The channel came together for another round of After Hours, with a bumper crowd of distributors, vendors and partners descending on The Jefferson in Auckland. Photos by Maria Stefina.​

Kiwi channel comes together for another round of After Hours
Consegna comes to town with AWS cloud offerings launch in Auckland

Consegna comes to town with AWS cloud offerings launch in Auckland

Emerging start-up Consegna has officially launched its cloud offerings in the New Zealand market, through a kick-off event held at Seafarers Building in Auckland.​ Founded in June 2016, the Auckland-based business is backed by AWS and supported by a global team of cloud specialists, leveraging global managed services partnerships with Rackspace locally.

Consegna comes to town with AWS cloud offerings launch in Auckland
Veritas honours top performing trans-Tasman partners

Veritas honours top performing trans-Tasman partners

Veritas honoured its top performing partners across the channel in Australia and New Zealand, recognising innovation and excellence on both sides of the Tasman. Revealed under the Vivid lights in Sydney, Intalock claimed the coveted Partner of the Year 2017 (Pacific) award, with Data#3 acknowledged for 12 months of strong growth across the market. Meanwhile, Datacom took home the New Zealand honours, with Global Storage and Insentra winning service provider and consulting awards respectively. Dicker Data was recognised as the standout distributor of the year, while Hitachi Data Systems claimed the alliance partner award. Photos by Bob Seary.

Veritas honours top performing trans-Tasman partners
Show Comments