Without a doubt the Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) of today is very much a different firm than the Microsoft of 40, or even 20, years ago. While the company’s flagship Windows business is going nowhere fast, in the last decade new divisions within Microsoft have seen rapid growth as the demands of the market shift.
It wouldn’t be a huge stretch to imagine that the Microsoft in 40 years would be a very different company than the Microsoft of today. The way we interact with computers is changing; the HoloLens might be the new paradigm for the computing input of the future much like how the mouse and touchscreen were the disruptive forces of the past.
As Microsoft celebrated its 40th anniversary on Saturday, its founder, former CEO, and now technology adviser Bill Gates sent out a memo to the company’s 100,00 employees letting them know where the company is headed. Naturally the email got leaked, and it’s a worthwhile read. Check it out in its entirety below:
Tomorrow is a special day: Microsoft’s 40th anniversary.
Early on, Paul Allen and I set the goal of a computer on every desk and in every home. It was a bold idea and a lot of people thought we were out of our minds to imagine it was possible. It is amazing to think about how far computing has come since then, and we can all be proud of the role Microsoft played in that revolution.
Today though, I am thinking much more about Microsoft’s future than its past. I believe computing will evolve faster in the next 10 years than it ever has before. We already live in a multi-platform world, and computing will become even more pervasive. We are nearing the point where computers and robots will be able to see, move, and interact naturally, unlocking many new applications and empowering people even more.
Under Satya’s leadership, Microsoft is better positioned than ever to lead these advances. We have the resources and drive to solve tough problems. We are engaged in every facet of modern computing and have the deepest commitment to research in the industry. In my role as technical advisor to Satya, I get to join product reviews and am impressed by the vision and talent I see. The result is evident in products like Cortana, Skype Translator, and HoloLens — and those are just a few of the many innovations that are on the way.
In the coming years, Microsoft has the opportunity to reach even more people and organizations around the world. Technology is still out of reach for many people, because it is complex or expensive, or they simply do not have access. So I hope you will think about what you can do to make the power of technology accessible to everyone, to connect people to each other, and make personal computing available everywhere even as the very notion of what a PC delivers makes its way into all devices.
We have accomplished a lot together during our first 40 years and empowered countless businesses and people to realize their full potential. But what matters most now is what we do next. Thank you for helping make Microsoft a fantastic company now and for decades to come.
What the Microsoft — or even computing — of 40 years in the future looks like is anyone’s guess. But with Microsoft’s enormous R&D budgets and the exceptional innovation it has shown in the last few years, its future will no doubt be exciting.