Steve Ballmer earned a standing ovation from 13,000 Microsoft employees at his last company-wide meeting, which he used to take a side-swipe at rivals including Apple.
Ballmer was visibly moved as he told colleagues the software vendor has "unbelievable potential in front of us", a rehash of a quote used in Microsoft's first-ever employee meeting in 1983.
The departing Microsoft chief executive made his way off stage to the strains of Dirty Dancing ditty The Time of My Life, earning rapturous applause from those in attendance, Reuters reports.
But Ballmer kept his emotions in check as he stuck the knife into his rivals one last time.
While Apple is about being "fashionable", Amazon.com is about being "cheap" and Google is about "knowing more", Microsoft is about "doing more", he claimed.
"Only our company and a handful of others are poised to write the future," he said. "We're going to think big; we're going to bet big."
Ballmer used his swansong to reflect on Microsoft's journey from a software-centric company into devices and services, arguing it would make the firm more powerful. He also harked back to his decision to drop out of university to join Microsoft in 1980, only to be asked by his father what a PC was.
According to Reuters, 13,000 Microsoft employees attended the event, which was held at Seattle's KeyArena, with an estimated 25,000 more tuning in via webcast.
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