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New CEO Satya Nadella Needs to Make Microsoft More Like Google

Satya Nadella needs to refocus and support the company’s formidable R&D talent to restore the software giant to greatness

About two years ago, Microsoft’s research arm described something amazing in a blog post. It had developed a contact lens equipped with a tiny chip that could measure blood sugar by analyzing tears. No longer would diabetes patients need to prick their fingers to check insulin levels. And instead of intermittent reports, a person would receive a steady stream of data and get warnings when they were needed most. “The team envisions a way to automatically display important information—including abnormal glucose or insulin alerts—in the lens wearer’s view,” Microsoft researchers wrote in the December 2011 post. “It could alert the wearer when their glucose levels indicate that they should stop eating, or remind them when it’s time to eat a snack.”

Microsoft earned a few pats on the back in the press for this announcement. But that reception was nothing compared with what Google basked in last month when it unveiled—wait for it—a contact lens that can measure blood sugar levels. Hundreds of stories celebrating Google’s innovative thinking appeared, many portraying the lens as a natural extension to Google Glass. “Google doing amazing things,” wrote one commenter on the company’s blog post about the invention. “Again.”