Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has chronicled how he had to "rediscover Microsoft's soul" when he took the top job in 2014.
In a new book, titled Hit Refresh, Nadella tells the story of his childhood in India, through to his ascent up the hierarchy at Microsoft that led him to the chief executive spot.
Nadella has been widely acclaimed for refocusing Microsoft, reshaped its goals to be cloud focused, and looking to pioneer in areas like artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality.
At a launch event in London, Nadella said that he had to re-establish the purpose and goal of the vendor and take it beyond its PC roots.
"When I joined Microsoft in 1992 we used to talk about getting a PC in every home and in every desk as our mission," he said. "It was tangible, clear, succinct and in some sense very empowering because it was clear what the company was for and what we were trying to get done.
"Even by the late nineties, at least in the developed world, we had more or less achieved that, and after that it was a bit unclear - what is our purpose?
"So that was what I thought was important to start asking in 2014, it's quite an existential question, why does Microsoft exist?"
Nadella said that, on this existential journey, he went right back the first product Microsoft created - interpreters for the Altair 8800 - and formed a culture within the company that would lead to its focus not just being on technology.
"Those are the two things I've focused most on," he said. "The sense of purpose and mission, and the culture. Those are the two bookends.
"Of course you have to get a lot of things in the middle right - your products, your technology, your business strategy… but what is ignored is what are the necessary conditions for you to get those things right? I believe it's that sense of purpose and culture.
During Nadella's tenure Microsoft has reshaped its mission statement to focus more on people, so that it now reads: "At Microsoft, our mission is to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more."
Nadella said that, moving forward, Microsoft has given itself three pillars with which to achieve this mission - AI, mixed reality and quantum computing.
He said that the challenge now is to apply these three areas to Microsoft's purpose.
"My main thing about these three technologies is not to claim that Microsoft is going to be the only company that does these technologies," he said.
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