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Why does Microsoft exist? An interview with CEO Satya Nadella

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Playing a long game

Yesterday's Windows 10 hardware launch was without question the best Microsoft event in ages — and arguably the tech launch event of the year. Microsoft unveiled its first-ever laptop, showed off an updated Surface Pro 4, and announced a new lineup of phones, all while articulating a confident, aggressive strategy of turning Windows 10 into the underlying software service and platform for virtually everything in your life.

That huge bet might not pay off — Apple and Google are still formidable competitors, and the road back to mobile relevance will be a long one — but it's more vision and purpose than we've seen from Redmond in years. So I sat down with new Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella at the soon-to-open Microsoft flagship store in Manhattan to ask him how he'd changed the entire vibe at Microsoft in the past 18 months, and what he hopes to accomplish in the next 18 months. We also talked about how he plans to keep his Windows OEM partners happy even as Microsoft's Surface Book laptop competes directly with their high-end products, and just how he plans to get back in the phone game.

Short answer? Nadella is playing a long game, and he's insisting Microsoft start by focusing on what he calls the "leading indicators of success" like customer engagement and usage, instead of the "lagging indicators" like profits and revenue. It's an entirely new culture at the company, and it culminates in Nadella's vision of why Microsoft exists — "to make things so other people can make things." It was a direct and interesting conversation — watch it above.