By Aaron Pressman and Adam Lashinsky
September 24, 2018

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The excellent Breakvingviews.com wondered last week if all the cash Microsoft has on its balance sheet, $58 billion and rising, might be burning a hole in its pocket. The site noted that Microsoft, in its rejuvenation under CEO Satya Nadella, has spent big on acquisitions: $37 billion on LinkedIn, GitHub, and Mojang alone. Might he be plotting another blockbuster purchase, as evidenced by a relatively puny dividend increase?

It’s a great question, and one I intend to pose to Microsoft’s head of M&A, Peggy Johnson, who is appearing this week in Chicago at the first Brainstorm Reinvent. The conference will consider numerous stories of corporate and other kinds of organizational reinvention. Few tales of turnarounds of tired incumbents are better than Microsoft’s, and M&A has been a big part of the story.

Apple has reinvented itself multiple times. One of its latest tricks has been the advent of Apple Pay and the wallet collection of services of which it is part. I’ll interview Jennifer Bailey, the Silicon Valley veteran who runs the business. Monday night our group will hear from the estimable Stanley McChrystal, who has a new book out soon about leadership.

One leader who is about to reinvent himself is Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. He will speak at the conference midday Tuesday on the reinvention of his city.

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McKinsey, founding sponsor of Brainstorm Reinvent, has a few thoughts about the topic. A gaggle of McKinsey consultants wrote this Fortune essay, “Why Legacy Companies Must Reinvent—Or Die.”

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Fortune’s annual Most Powerful Women issue is out this week. Please check out the list as well as this fascinating interview about the surprising preponderance of women running the top U.S. defense companies.

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Finally, when I fly, I catch up on my reading. (I’m the guy who continuously hands the flight attendants old newspapers as the trip progresses.) As someone who has written enthusiastically about the Chinese economic miracle, I strongly recommend this sobering look at the dark side of modern China.

Adam Lashinsky
@adamlashinsky
adam_lashinsky@fortune.com

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