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Satya Nadella. Photo: Microsoft

Critics argue that the impact of technology has grown so large that society can't afford for companies to release products just because they can, without fully anticipating issues like privacy and security. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella couldn't agree more.

What they're saying: "Tech is becoming so pervasive in our lives, in our society and our economy, that when it breaks, it’s not just about any one tech breaking or one company breaking," Nadella said in an exclusive interview with Axios. "It impacts us all."

  • Whether it is security or AI ethics, Nadella said the industry needs to be more proactive about anticipating malicious uses of the technology they develop.
  • "You can’t, as a tech provider, platform creator, say, hey, I’ll scale this and then worry about the unintended consequences," Nadella said. "That’s just not going to be acceptable in society, first. And then regulation, of course, ultimately will catch up."

Between the lines: Nadella also said that where once it was Microsoft that may have lacked for competition, now it is other companies that merit close antitrust scrutiny.

  • "I think it’s pretty self-evident, right? I mean, when you look at, broadly, what is happening in the advertising space, what’s happening in certain platforms and the restrictions on those platforms, I think it’s clear as day where there is competition and where there isn’t."

My thought bubble: Nadella didn't name names, but if I were Tim Cook or Sundar Pichai, I'd take his comments personally.

The big picture: Microsoft, of course, learned all this the hard way.

  • In the early 2000s it paused work on all its projects to bolster security after its products fell prey to a wave of viruses.
  • Around the same time, it became more restrained in its business practices after a decade spent fighting antitrust battles in the U.S. and Europe.

"There used to be a boss I worked for who said, hey, you should never make the same mistake twice," Nadella said. "And I think it’s a good thing for us, as individual companies and as an industry. You can’t say, hey, I’m making the same mistake again and again and at greater scale. That just is not good."

Go deeper

Microsoft sets up nonprofit to cut software-related carbon emissions

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Microsoft announced on Tuesday that it is teaming up with Github, Accenture and Thoughtworks to establish a nonprofit aimed at cutting emissions across the software industry.

Why it matters: Software is an overlooked factor partly responsible for driving up carbon emissions from the tech sector. Companies that develop software used across the IT industry, including Microsoft, need to address this in order to fulfill their own ambitious climate goals.

Updated 5 hours ago - Technology

From Malcolm X to "Free Britney," new media shapes the justice system

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

True crime documentaries, podcasts and social media campaigns are bringing new attention to real-world legal proceedings — and are often affecting the outcome.

Why it matters: New media platforms can instantly put a national spotlight on cases that have long been forgotten or buried under red tape.

Updated 7 hours ago - Health

The next big bottleneck in the global vaccination effort

Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

The world still needs more coronavirus vaccines, but an additional bottleneck has emerged in many low-income countries: They need help getting shots in arms.

Why it matters: Increasing vaccination rates across the world is both a humanitarian necessity and the best way to prevent dangerous new variants from emerging, but it increasingly requires complex problem-solving.