When former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer gave his infamous "developers, developers, developers" chant in 2000, he may have been a little overenthusiastic, but the sentiment was right.
It was true 30 years ago when Windows 1.0 came out, and it's true today: Without developers to build great apps for Microsoft's platforms, the company is sunk.
Speaking at a pair of Microsoft events in the last week and a half, Nadella proved that he may not be as outgoing as his predecessor, but he's still focused on developers, developers, developers.
"We think about building technology so other people can build technology and make things happen," said Nadella at last week's Microsoft Envision conference.
The difference is that Ballmer wanted those developers to write code for Windows and Windows only. Nadella's game isn't to consolidate Windows' power among developers, but rather to make sure that Microsoft stays a part of the conversation, everywhere, on every device.
It's a two-point game plan: Give Microsoft developers basically whatever they want, to write software any way they want, for whatever operating system they want. And then, turn that goodwill into a gentle, but effective, sales funnel towards the Microsoft Azure cloud.
It's a huge and necessary leg up if Microsoft wants to topple Amazon in the cloud wars. And just as importantly, it comes as programmers look to move away from Windows and towards developing for iPhone and Android.