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Microsoft Turns 40: 'What Matters Most Now Is What We Do Next,' Says Bill Gates

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As the late U.S. President John F. Kennedy once told the nation: it's not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country. Microsoft founder Bill Gates took a page from that iconic motivational speech on his company's 40th birthday.

Microsoft turns 40 today, and in an email touting the Big 40, Gates, now one of the world's biggest philanthropists and founder of the biggest software vendor in the world, urged employees to remember where Microsoft came from, its original mission and its mission going forward.

"What matters most is what we do next," he wrote in the six-paragraph letter to Microsoft's 125,000 employees.

Gates started the company with Paul Allen and served as CEO for 25 years before stepping away to focus on humanitarian efforts through a foundation he and his wife Melinda established. While he remains an adviser to CEO Satya Nadella, Gates is promising to donate nearly every nickel he owns to charity.

Calling the birthday a special day, Gates told Microsoft employees that Microsoft was born of a bold idea.

"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," he said.

His top advice to staff is one of personal empowerment.

"Make the power of technology accessible to everyone, connect people to each other and make personal computing available everywhere," Gates wrote in the email.

"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," he added.

Noting that in the future, Microsoft will have the chance to reach more people, it's important to remember that technology is not in the hands of every person in the world. The challenge for Microsoft staffers is to make that a goal.

"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."

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