LAGUNA BEACH, Calif.-Microsoft Corp. Chief Executive Satya Nadella is pushing the company to shed its not-invented-here approach and learn where it can improve.
"We want to push to be more of a learn-it-all culture than a know-it-all culture," Mr. Nadella said Monday during an appearance at The Wall Street Journal's WSJDLive 2016 global technology conference.
One of Microsoft's challenges has been its early success with Windows and Office. "Early success is probably the worst thing that can happen in life," Mr. Nadella said.
He acknowledged Microsoft's missteps in mobile phones.
"We clearly missed mobile," Mr. Nadella said. "There is no question."
But he is pushing Microsoft into new areas. Mr. Nadella noted the big bets Microsoft is making in augmented reality with its HoloLens device, and the investments it is making in artificial intelligence. Last month, the company moved to concentrate its artificial-intelligence operation in one group.
"You've got to be able to add unique value and be on the hunt for the next big category," Mr. Nadella said.
Microsoft shares hit an all-time high Friday, trading as high as $60.45 before closing at $59.97, after the software giant reported big gains in its Azure cloud-computing business the previous day. The stock set a new high again Monday, closing at $61.
Microsoft shares stagnated for more than a decade as Mr. Nadella's predecessor Steve Ballmer put the company on a strategic path that trailed rivals such as Apple Inc. and Alphabet Inc. on emerging technologies, including mobile computing and web search.
When Mr. Nadella took over as CEO in February 2014, he pulled back from Mr. Ballmer's bet on mobile phones, and moved aggressively into cloud computing.
Mr. Nadella also has put Microsoft on an acquisition binge. In June, Microsoft agreed to its largest acquisition ever, a $26.2 billion purchase of LinkedIn Inc., the professional social-network. The deal, which is expected to close by the end of the year, will give Microsoft control over the vast pool of data held by LinkedIn.
Last month, Microsoft's business-software rival Salesforce.com Inc. said it would push regulators to block the deal, arguing that the deal would give Microsoft an unfair competitive advantage because it could block rivals' access to the data on its membership.
Mr. Nadella said Microsoft intends to be clear with regulators that it will be a responsible "custodian" of LinkedIn's data.
Write to Jay Greene at Jay.Greene@wsj.com