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Nadella's book "Hit Refresh" goes on sale Tuesday. Photo: Microsoft

If it seems like Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is all over the media, it's not your imagination. He has a new book out called "Hit Refresh," and the promotional interviews have generated some new nuggets:

Microsoft should not have bought Nokia's phone business. It's long been clear that Nadella didn't like the deal, which he rapidly unwound upon becoming CEO. But in the book, Nadella makes it clear he had voiced his opposition directly to then-CEO Steve Ballmer.

  • "I voted no," Nadella writes, referring to an open poll Ballmer did of the senior leadership team. "We were chasing our competitors' taillights."
  • He noted that months later Microsoft wrote off the entire value of the deal and laid off thousands of former Nokia workers. "It was heartbreaking."

Nadella once shadowed Reed Hastings. Concerned that he had spent his entire career at one company, he spent a year being mentored by the Netflix CEO, who was a member of Microsoft's board.

  • "I had not seen any other large organization or a fast-growing organization from the inside," Nadella said in an interview with the Washington Post. "He let me do that for a little while. That was the kind of thing I sought out.

Thoughts on AI worries: Both Nadella and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates think Elon Musk's concerns about machines with smarter-than-human intelligence are overblown.

  • "The so-called control problem that Elon is worried about isn't something that people should feel is imminent," Gates told WSJ. Magazine as part of a joint interview with Nadella. "This is a case where Elon and I disagree. We shouldn't panic about it. Nor should we blithely ignore the fact that eventually that problem could emerge."

The need to control design and data: Nadella raised what he says are more pressing concerns, including the near-term issues resulting from machines making decisions based on data fed to them by humans.

  • "There are still a lot of design decisions that get made, even in a self-learning system, that humans can be accountable for," he said. "So we can make sure there's no bias or bad data in that system. There's a lot I think we can do to shape our own future instead of thinking, 'This is just going to happen to us.'"

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
38 mins ago - Technology

Intel CEO wants to compete against Apple

Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger hasn't given up on the idea of the Mac once again using Intel chips, but he acknowledges it will probably be years before he gets that chance.

  • In the meantime, he is focused on powering Windows machines that give Apple CEO Tim Cook a run for his money.

Why it matters: In getting pushed out of the Mac, Intel not only lost a customer, but picked up a new rival.

43 mins ago - Health

Education secretary reveals limits to Biden’s mask push on states

U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, in an "Axios on HBO" interview, said he's reluctant to withhold federal funding from states that won't enforce school mask mandates because he doesn't want to hurt students.

Why it matters: Cardona's comments suggest there are limits to how far the Biden administration will go in pressuring states to adopt universal masking — or vaccine mandates.

Mike Allen, author of AM
54 mins ago - Axios on HBO

GOP senator smacks Trump

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) told “Axios on HBO” he’s not sure former President Donald Trump would win the Republican nomination if he ran in 2024 — a rare voice of criticism from within the party.

  • When I raised the conventional wisdom that Trump would be expected to win the nomination, Cassidy jumped in.“
  • I don't know that,” the senator said during our interview in Chalmette, La.