Satya Nadella: Microsoft must 'push boundaries' to make sure it doesn't miss the next smartphone

Key Points
  • Satya Nadella explained to Business Insider Poland how he revamped Microsoft's culture
  • "It's one of the fundamental challenges of can't be too far ahead, you can't be too far behind"
Satya Nadella speaking at the 2016 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
David A. Grogan | CNBC

Satya Nadella is determined not to rest on the laurels of Microsoft Office, if a new interview with Business Insider Poland is any indication.

In the interview, Nadella said that he wants Microsoft to be able to "push boundaries," giving the HoloLens as an example:

Now, the challenge is that at some point, the concept needs to be replaced by a new idea. Otherwise, how do you renew yourself? And in order to build a new concept, you need to build a new capability and that's where your culture can get in the way.

Under Nadella, Microsoft has made a monster bet on LinkedIn, and amped up its Surface line to near par with rival Apple. Less well known is its HoloLens project, a headset that is considered one of the frontrunners of so-called mixed reality technology. The product, which is billed as "the first self-contained, holographic computer," marries Microsoft's gaming expertise with XBox with workplace productivity applications, like uses in healthcare and architecture.

We hired silicon engineers many, many years ago, in order to now dream the dream that we can even create the assets able to do the holographic computing.

That is capability building: having that foresight, forcing yourself to do things that are not the easy to do. It's not about the next day, the next quarter, next year. It's one of the fundamental challenges of leadership and you got to get it right: you can't be too far ahead, you can't be too far behind. To be able to yet see those corners is all it is about.

Despite his success, Nadella is faced with a monumental task — keeping Microsoft ahead of rivals in hardware, gaming and cloud, while deepening its relationships with businesses. It comes after Nadella has admitted the company "clearly missed the mobile phone." Nadella told Business Insider that after the mobile phone, the next category of personal computing will be a "fabric of devices."

"It's about your mobility, your ability to get work done as an individual or as a team, when you have lots and lots of screens and computers around you," Nadella told BI.

For the full interview, see the article at