Microsoft turned 40 on Saturday.
To mark the milestone, co-founder Bill Gates sent a letter on Friday to the company’s employees, urging them to stay focused on future products.
“I am thinking much more about Microsoft’s future than its past,” he wrote. “I believe computing will evolve faster in the next 10 years than it ever has before.”
Though still a Goliath in the tech industry, Microsoft has trailed rivals such as Apple in both hardware and software for smartphones and tablets.
Since CEO Satya Nadella took office last year, the company has made significant progress. Sales of its Lumia phones and Surface tablets are growing. Microsoft Office, the widely popular software suite, finally released a version for Apple's iPad.
But Gates hinted that the holy grail will be making advances in artificial intelligence.
"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 wrote. "Under Satya's leadership, Microsoft is better positioned than ever to lead these advances."
Here is the full text of the letter, as shared by Twitter user Amit Roy Choudhary, a blogger who covers Microsoft:
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 to drive and 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.
Microsoft did not immediately respond to a request for comment.