Some Microsoft senior leaders complained to Mr. Nadella, saying the new hands didn t have the titles or tenure to attend the two-day event at Suncadia Resort, a mountain getaway 80 miles east of Seattle.

Their presence breached the protocol established by Microsoft s two former CEOs, Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer.

The tech world has left Microsoft s desktop far behind, and the 41-year-old software giant, which has struggled against more-nimble rivals such as Apple Inc. and Alphabet Inc. s Google, has to shed its not invented here bias and overwhelming focus on engineering.

New voices from acquisitions adding to Microsoft s decision-making include Javier Soltero of mobile email and calendar app maker Acompli, Chad Fowler of task-management mobile app Wunderlist and Nat Friedman of Xamarin, a maker of open-source software development tools.

The company s history is littered with deals that failed because the company was intent on promoting its own products instead of offering customers what they wanted.

In three years, they have turned from the backwater of IT to being front and center, said Aaron Levie, CEO of cloud-storage company Box Inc., which both partners and competes with Microsoft.

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