Outgoing Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer has given an emotional final speech to employees of the firm as he prepares to leave the software giant.
In an employee-only meeting on Thursday, Ballmer urged the company to continue its hard work, telling staff they can out-compete rivals such as Apple, Amazon and Google in the race for technology supremacy.
Reuters reported some snippets from the speech, as relayed by employees in the meeting, with Ballmer using some of the same quotes from earlier Microsoft meetings to urge the company forward.
"We have unbelievable potential in front of us, we have an unbelievable destiny," said Ballmer. "Only our company and a handful of others are poised to write the future. We're going to think big, we're going to bet big," he said.
"I believe in you, I believe in the mission. We've been a great company for years. We will be a great company for many more years." Reuters reported that Ballmer was visibly moved as he delivered these words.
Ballmer also attacked some of the firm's key rivals, arguing that Apple was just about being "fashionable", and Google about "knowing more", but Microsoft is about "doing more".
Some 13,000 staff were in attendance for the meeting while another 25,000 were said to have watched a webcast of the event. Ballmer received a standing ovation from the crowd on giving his speech. He left the stage to Micheal Jackson's Wanna be Startin' Somethin', the song played at the company's first employee meeting in 1983.
Ballmer is set to be replaced at some point in 2014. Former Nokia chief executive and ex-Microsoft business chief Stephen Elop was the front-runner for the role, although new rivals have emerged, with recent reports citing Ford chief executive Alan Mulally as a candidate.
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