Today, Microsoft announced that it would put one of its main products on Linux for the first time, selling a version of its database software to run on the open source OS.
Until now it has only sold the product, called SQL Server, to run on Windows, reflecting the tight integration Microsoft has traditionally used to protect revenues from its own operating system.
"I think it was a religious thing," Merv Adrian, an analyst at Gartner, said of Microsoft's unwillingness under Steve Ballmer, Mr. Nadella's predecessor, to move beyond Windows. "We would love to have seen this Linux thing five years ago, we were telling them that's what they should do."
Mr. Ballmer had taken a forceful stand against Linux, at one point describing the open source code as a "cancer" eating into the commercial software business.
However, Mr. Nadella said the change in strategy would give Microsoft a shot at the much bigger part of the database market that does not run on Windows, and denied that it would lead to a 'cannibalisation' of Microsoft's operating system as customers opted for Linux instead.
Nadella added that "I want us to be aggressive in going after all opportunities." Asked if this was a direct attack on Oracle, the leading database software company, he replied: "They are the incumbents, absolutely." The new software is not scheduled for release until mid-2017. For more on this story, see the full Financial Times report here.