Forty years ago, Microsoft was nothing but a tiny startup powered by a massive vision. Bill Gates and Paul Allen, both college dropouts, shared a dream that was seemingly impossible in 1975: to put a computer on every desk in every home.
Today, it's hard to believe that Microsoft is only 40-years-old. The software behemoth boasts a workforce of nearly 123,000 employees and a Redmond, Washington, campus of 8 million square feet. Its Windows operating system, now more than 30-years-old, powers millions of devices around the world.
After his rise to fame as Microsoft's CEO and world's wealthiest man, Gates has scaled back his role at the company. A philanthropic man, he chose to redirect the bulk of his efforts towards the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which aims at improving the quality of life within impoverished countries.
Although his role at Microsoft is considerably smaller, Gates remains invested in its future. He currently serves as technical advisor to Satya Nadella, who stepped into his CEO shoes just over a year ago. Gates also spends a lot of time collaborating on reviews for new Microsoft products like HoloLens, Cortana, and Skype Translator.
In honor of Microsoft's 40th birthday on April 4, the former leader wrote an email to employees detailing his vision for the years to come, providing advice for the journey ahead. The email was originally tweeted by Amit Roy Choudhary and confirmed by Microsoft.
Gates sees a future in which Microsoft continues to broaden its reach to global users and businesses. Technology, while ubiquitous in our daily lives, continues to be unreachable for many people who lack the expertise or funds to use it. Gates encourages the people at Microsoft not only to drive technology, but to bring those innovations to new audiences.
"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," he wrote.
Microsoft has come a long way in 40 years, Gates notes, but now it's time to think about the future. "What matters now is what we do next," he concluded.
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