Why Microsoft chief Satya Nadella says he was “always bothered” by Bill Gates’ original company vision

In the early days of Microsoft, Bill Gates had ambitious goals for his budding technology company, one of which was outlined clearly from the company’s very inception.

The goal? “A computer on every desk and in every home.”

However, in an interview with USA Today, Microsoft’s current chief executive Satya Nadella said that vision had “always bothered” him.

“When I joined the company in 1992, we used to talk about our mission as putting a PC in every home, and by the end of the decade we have done that, at least in the developed world,” Nadella said.

“It always bothered me that we confused an enduring mission with a temporal goal.”

Gates’ goal was one with an easily identifiable end point, which didn’t foresee the direction the company would take once every home had a computer in it, Nadella said.

Since being at the helm, Nadella says he has tried to view Microsoft’s new ventures with a culture focus, telling USA Today, “any decision about a new product or a new hire, I’m always thinking about that sense of purpose and culture”.

Read more: Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella on why all businesses should be thinking digital

Despite this, he says he didn’t take on the role with a mission for drastic change but rather to foster a sense of purpose.

“I didn’t start this (CEO) journey with a very explicit goal of change. I’m not an outsider. In fact, I’m the consummate insider. But I also have a worldview, a sense of purpose for this company,” he said.

Speaking at Dreamforce in 2015, Nadella told attendees he didn’t believe any one device would be the be all and end all.

“I don’t think about any one device as the be all and end all of computers,” Nadella said.

“I think about mobility being centered on the mobility of human experience across all devices instead of the mobility of one device.”

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