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The road ahead

Microsoft today announced a bit of news that will come as a big shocker to many -- the scheduled retirement of its founder, Bill Gates. Set for July 2008, Bill Gates will start his transition out of the company commencing now, with the help of Microsoft's chief technology officer Ray Ozzie.

Bill Gates and friend Paul Allen started Microsoft back in 1975, and since then, Gates has been pretty much at the helm of the company. Although Gates stepped down as CEO several years ago to focus more on development, he very much remains involved in the day-to-day business at Microsoft with the help of Steve Ballmer. According to Microsoft, Gates retirement is stretched out for two years in order to help create a seamless and smooth transition for Ozzie and the rest of the company.

Effective July 2008 Bill Gates, chairman, will transition out of a day-to-day role in the company to spend more time on his global health and education work at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The company announced a two-year transition process to ensure that there is a smooth and orderly transfer of Gates’ daily responsibilities, and said that after July 2008 Gates would continue to serve as the company’s chairman and an advisor on key development projects.

Although Gates will remain Microsoft's chairman, he will no longer be giving his attention to Microsoft's development and affairs in the same manner that he has been doing. One of his largest roles in recent years has been the involvement with Windows Vista, set for release in 2007. When the Vista project began, Microsoft announced publicly that it would be the largest project in the history of the company. Since then, Gates has been involved on the technical aspects of Vista's development.

Outside of Microsoft, Gates and his wife Melinda are founders of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, an organization that endows funding, grants and donations to schools, health organizations and charities around the world. The foundation is the largest of its kind, and has given away nearly $30 billion to help fight such diseases as cancer and AIDS. Gates said that he wishes to spend more time with the foundation and focus more on education work and health issues.

"This was a hard decision for me, I'm very lucky to have two passions that I feel are so important and so challenging. As I prepare for this change, I firmly believe the road ahead for Microsoft is as bright as ever," Gates said. Microsoft said that Ozzie will continue to report to Gates and at some point will transition over to reporting to Ballmer. "Bill and I are confident we've got a great team that can step up to fill his shoes and drive Microsoft innovation forward without missing a beat," said Ballmer.

While the industry has been speculating about Gates's retirement for years, it has become official today. Gates remains one of, if not the most, highly respected businessmen in the industry and is still the world's richest person.

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Good for Him
By Homerboy on 6/15/2006 5:33:43 PM , Rating: 3
The foundation is the largest of its kind, and has given away nearly $30 billion to help fight such diseases as cancer and AIDS. Gates said that he wishes to spend more time with the foundation and focus more on education work and health issues.

Being that people always bash ole Billy Boy, they seem to forget the amount of goodwill and donations MS and Mr. Gates have done for the world as a whole. At least he is one rich person that puts his power and money to GOOD use throughout the world.

Hopefully with more time to dedicate to his foundation and charities he and his wife can do even more good for us all.

RE: Good for Him
By One43637 on 6/15/2006 8:04:31 PM , Rating: 2
Being that people always bash ole Billy Boy, they seem to forget the amount of goodwill and donations MS and Mr. Gates have done for the world as a whole. At least he is one rich person that puts his power and money to GOOD use throughout the world.

i also share that sentiment. he's a rich person, but at least he helps contribute to charities around the world.

RE: Good for Him
By Tuor on 6/16/2006 2:29:08 AM , Rating: 2
You don't understand. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation *is* a charity. It is *their* charity, and it does a lot of good things for a lot of people. If this is indeed where he would like to put in more of his time and attention, then I applaud his move and wish him well.

RE: Good for Him
By peternelson on 6/16/2006 5:19:31 AM , Rating: 3

Maybe there is some altruism there, but I think there are also big tax benefits from giving away some of your money to good causes.

RE: Good for Him
By zsdersw on 6/16/2006 6:32:36 AM , Rating: 2
Few, if any, acts are truly selfless.

RE: Good for Him
By TomZ on 6/16/2006 8:41:07 AM , Rating: 4
I think you are wrong in this case. Bill Gates is donating not just his money, but his time, as well as the value of his name. He is deeply concerned about some of these issues that the world faces, and he understands and has risen to the responsibility of his great wealth. I find it refreshing and inspiring in our otherwise cynical, dog-eat-dog world.

RE: Good for Him
By PT2006 on 6/16/2006 8:15:04 AM , Rating: 2
Maybe there is some altruism there, but I think there are also big tax benefits from giving away some of your money to good causes.

Think about what you're saying here. Rather than pay 30% of 30 billion dollars, they donated 100% of 30 billion dollars.

People attempting to get tax credit don't donate 99% of their wealth, they donate just as much on the fringe of the tax bracket so that they avoid the highest tax bracket. Gates really is philatropic, you'll come to that realization if you do that math.

more opining on bill
By proamerica on 6/15/2006 10:08:46 PM , Rating: 2
In terms of his charity I give him all the credit in the world. Millions upon millions of people have used Microsoft to make money, and benefited from Bills charities. If I was him I would put the money in education somehow. To me education is one of those things that solves other problems by virtue of the knowledge bestowed upon the educated...

Maybe a national network of primary school academies dedicated to helping average students become better than average. The potential of the average person is vastly underestimated and largely unrealized. In our merit based school system students are punished for being behind the curve rather than encouraged, its a viscuous circle. Somebody needs to reach out on a large scale and try and change that for millions of kids in America who are taught to believe they can't achieve.

ASIDE from his charity, I think discussion about Bill Gates, or Microsoft's impact on the world are misplaced. MS is simply the "chosen company". As we all know compatibility is what drove MS to the top. But in reality it could have been any company that pulled it off. If not for Bill Gates it would have been someone else.

RE: more opining on bill
By creathir on 6/15/2006 11:13:12 PM , Rating: 2
Right place... right time...
There were many other companies that did this very thing at the time Microsoft came along... Microsoft just happened to see IBM was on the verge of something big...
- Creathir

RE: more opining on bill
By fungry on 6/15/2006 11:17:45 PM , Rating: 2
well Bill Gates atleast had the morallity?? [if that is how you spell it] to donate a large sum of money. Unlike many businessmen around the globe who are stingy and selfish enough to keep it for themselves.

RE: more opining on bill
By Nekrik on 6/16/2006 2:04:40 AM , Rating: 2
It was the right plance and right time, but I think it's the combination of his influence, his wealth, and his generosity that is unique. IBM, Apple, etc.. don't show the level of commitment to helping as much as he does.

RE: more opining on bill
By lethalchronic on 6/16/2006 12:47:13 AM , Rating: 2
Not that I disagree with the fact that so many "average" people have a much greater potential but this world needs for those people to fill those average positions in the economy. These jobs really are the backbone of this nation.

The only "solution" to this is to have robots or some form of automation to do the mundane blue collar work, freeing the minds of people to fill more creative roles.

By gramboh on 6/16/2006 12:19:09 PM , Rating: 2
A great leader and visionary with real ethics who wants to make a difference in the world, and is.

Laughing at the trolls in this thread whining about buggy systems. Do you have any idea the scope of compatibility/debugging an OS with the install base of Windows? Imagine if everyone in the world ran Linux, nothing would work, ever. People would spend their lives reconfiguring and recompiling.

RE: Amazing
By stmok on 6/17/2006 11:06:49 AM , Rating: 1
by gramboh on June 16, 2006 at 12:19 PM

Imagine if everyone in the world ran Linux, nothing would work, ever. People would spend their lives reconfiguring and recompiling.

That's the biggest generalistic bit of bullshit I've heard this week. Since when does every user need to reconfigure and recompile anything in Linux?

Does every Ubuntu, OpenSUSE, PCLinuxOS, Linspire, Mepis, etc, etc user recompile or reconfigure anything? All they do is point and click. Even updating is point and clicking.

I use my boxes for application development and engineering uses. (FEA and CFD applications)...I spend less time needing to secure and update a Linux box than I do a Windows one.

I'm not sure where your ignorant ass has been, but its clear you have no clue of Linux, let alone used Linux to begin with.

If the world suddenly switched to Linux, this is what you have.

(1) A major fallout of security companies. Companies like Kaspersky Labs, that delibrately FUD about open-source solutions with fake statistics, will go out of business.

Why? Because they feed on the Microsoft Money Train. They rely on Microsoft's inability to properly implement security mechanisms in their OS, as part of their business...Take that away, and those companies will die. (Actually, watch how they will grow really desperate first with lies, and then die out).

(2) Linux doesn't require gulliable morons like you, to lay down cash everytime there is a new release. On some distros, you just update, and that's it...You're on the latest version without needing to re-install anything. Unlike Windows, Linux is really free, not percieved to be free when bundled with a system. (Windows does add cost to the system when its bundled with it).

(3) People will actually learn something. Instead of continually act like morons by clicking on anything. They won't act like helpless children when a problem arises. They will learn and understand that tools provided by security companies are a joke.

(4) Linux doesn't create problems, then provide solutions for those problems at a price. Microsoft does...Ever heard of Windows Live OneCare? Do you know what this is? This is a way to get the users (You) to pay for Windows issues. And they are NOT solutions! They are band-aids so that you will continually pay them indefinitely on subscription services!

(5) Linux doesn't force people into upgrades. Notice how you need Windows Vista for your upcoming DirectX 10.0 games (not to mention the hardware upgrades), and those people still using Win98/etc are now forced into a position where they must upgrade to WinXP. (Since MS is no longer providing patches...This has started in this month's "Patch Tuesday". MS no longer provides fixes for those users).

(6) Windows is inflexible. You can't trim it down to meet your exact needs. You can't add REAL security mechanisms to it (like SELinux, grsecurity, ExecShield, etc), and you are a slave to the limitations as dictated by Microsoft. You can't do anything about it, but take it up the butt.

(7) Considering MS has basically f**ked up its "Windows Genuine Advantage", are you honestly saying people won't get suspicious as to what WGA actually sends to Microsoft? What about those poor bastards with RMA'ed (repaired) notebooks that have continual pop-ups telling them their copy of XP is not legal, when it actually is? (Yes, it is a common problem).

(8) Security on open-source completely shits on Windows. Anyone who've used both easily knows this. Hell, even Trend Micro (a well known security company) admits this. =>

Ever heard of ExecShield? grsecurity? SELinux? These are security mechanisms that can be implemented without spending a dime. To do the same/similar in Windows, requires you to (a) spend $$$$ on the Windows equivalent OR (b) Buy Windows Vista.

(9) Linux allows you to re-use your old PCs for those who don't need to have the latest or greatest OR for other purposes (home file server, router/firewall, etc). Its a known fact that people throw out old PCs or PCs that are loaded with enough malware to surprise everyone...Computer hardware is NOT bio-degradeable. Forcing everyone to get new hardware with every new release of Windows is indirectly contributing to the degradation of the environment. (Most people don't know what to do with old PCs, and its more often thrown into dumps/tips).

I don't know why you needed to drag Linux into this. Bill Gates stepping down to lesser responsibilities has absolutely got nothing to do with Linux. That's a Microsoft thing. But I had to respond to your ignorant bullshit of a comment.

RE: Amazing
By RyanLM on 6/17/2006 8:00:03 PM , Rating: 2
That's the biggest generalistic bit of bullshit I've heard this week.

That is sorta what I got from your rant.

I have made this point before, but not for reasons from the person you were going after.

MS created the Defacto Standard, linux has no defacto standard. In short, progress slows down.

Linux could be a defacto standard, but we would need to start picking things like:

Single Installer
Single Web Browser
Single Window Manager
Single Update Manager
Single Development Enviroment
Single 3d Graphics, Audio, etc Standards
On and On..

Mind you, Linux has good products and standards, but there is rarely One.

Lets pretend we are an ISV, what do you want to support? The windows platform or the Linux Platform, ignoring installed base. The laundry list of questions you would need to go through just to get started. While people may bitch about MS taking years between releases many forget people build businesses around these products, there has to be a good development cycle, not just random releases for differnet parts of the OS weekly.

However, I started by talking about progress. DX vs OpenGL is a good example, one keeps pushing along, another gets slopppy seconds extensions. DX is pushing the industry forward.

However, MS does this more than people realize. Storage Technologies, Media Technologies, and so on.

What's More, I do not see much innovation coming from the linux camp. I see constant me too, and catch up technologies. Once a week you hear about something coming out of MS Research, or some new technology partner working with MS to do something new and faster.

Linux is good for many things, but it is far to disjointed to cause real progress. Windows itself isnt the end all be all, however more importantly it has a company with real people, thousands of real people driving ahead in unified effort to do something. While there is effort on the linux front, it is hardly unified.

RE: Amazing
By Master Kenobi on 6/19/2006 11:47:42 AM , Rating: 2
Agreed. Stop bashing windows, and declaring Linux the greatest thing since sliced bread. Both are good. Microsoft just knows how to do business in the world. Tons of flavors of Linux, each with seperate development groups and cycles, makes for terrible competition. Heres an idea. Linux groups all get together, decide on some friggin standards, and make 1 end all Linux distro, and keep it on a development cycle. THEN you might compete with Windows. Until then, no.

RE: Amazing
By gramboh on 6/19/2006 12:47:06 PM , Rating: 2
Too busy to address each point in the rant. Generally, Linux CAN be good as a desktop OS for a single user/small dev group environment. It CANNOT be successful in a mid to large size organization. Imagine people who know nothing about Linux trying to learn to use than environment, and the IT/org supporting the platform, what a pain. MS is the ONLY solution for organizations.

By UsernameX on 6/15/2006 5:23:55 PM , Rating: 2
A little over 30 years in the company. It's weird to think Microsoft without Bill Gates attached to it.

Best of luck to the guy.

RE: Cheers!!
By QarK on 6/16/2006 3:10:45 AM , Rating: 2
Hmm. Who would replace him? Microsoft is not Microsoft whitout William Henry "Bill" Gates III. I think this is very sad.

Next election of the United States president i want see Bill Gates on candidate for the presidency.

RE: Cheers!!
By AstroCreep on 6/16/2006 9:10:52 AM , Rating: 2
It's weird to think Microsoft without Bill Gates attached to it.

It really is. :/ Ah well, onward & upward, I reckon.
I'd really like to see Ballmer step down too; I don't think he has the vision to run the company (Hell, look at the current stock status)...

RE: Cheers!!
By TomZ on 6/16/2006 10:08:22 AM , Rating: 2
I agree, I don't have confidence in Ballmer either.

By hoppa on 6/15/2006 9:04:40 PM , Rating: 2
This headline is rather misleading. When I read it, I thought, oh, Gates is done for good. Hardly. He is stepping down from his position into another position at the same company, and will be devoting more time to a different company. Hardly the definition of retirement.

RE: retirement?
By Bonrock on 6/15/2006 10:20:49 PM , Rating: 2
He is stepping down from his position into another position at the same company, and will be devoting more time to a different company. Hardly the definition of retirement.

Well, Gates is currently involved with Microsoft very heavily on a day to day basis. He will be retiring from that position, but will remain the chairman--that's usually not a full-time position that requires day to day involvement with the company. So, yes, it is pretty fair to call it retirement.

RE: retirement?
By creathir on 6/15/2006 11:10:32 PM , Rating: 2
Usually board members in major corporations like Microsoft meet once or twice a month to discuss company details. They usually are not even EMPLOYEES of the company, but rather major share holders. The chairman is usually reserved for the majority shareholder, unless they of course decline the position.
- Creathir

RE: retirement?
By fungry on 6/15/2006 11:15:59 PM , Rating: 2
May be so but retirement could be considered a complete step down. Any how, he is retiring from his technical job at Microsoft.

World's Richest?!?
By Mclendo06 on 6/15/2006 5:38:35 PM , Rating: 2
quote: still the world's richest person.

Maybe the richest person in the United States, but in the world? I thought that was some monarch in the Middle East or something.

RE: World's Richest?!?
By Reflex on 6/15/2006 5:55:59 PM , Rating: 2
You are reffering to the Sultan of Brunei who is not as wealthy as Gates($15 billion in wealth for the Sultan last I heard). Also, generally monarchs are not considered against businessmen since they claim their country's fortune as their own, which is not really an accurate measurement.

RE: World's Richest?!?
By masher2 on 6/15/2006 6:52:13 PM , Rating: 2
> "who is not as wealthy as Gates..."

While true, Gates has pledged to give away 99% of his wealth before he dies. He's on track to do just that.

> "since they claim their country's fortune as their own, which is not really an accurate measurement."

There's no such thing as an accurate measurement for anyone at that level. Take Gates for instance. If he tried to convert his fortune to cash, he'd wind up driving down the price of MS stock to nothing, and get about five cents on the dollar.

Start of something to come?
By crystal clear on 6/16/2006 2:18:55 AM , Rating: 2
Sounds very wierd now -but I will not be surprised to hear in a 2 year time , a news item "Gates announces himself as
candidate for the next President"

Who knows whats in his mind?

RE: Start of something to come?
By smokenjoe on 6/16/2006 2:57:54 AM , Rating: 2
he has the morals for it. This could be the first bid for that sopt. If microsoft demonstrated the same kind of corperate morality that Gates is claiming it would be a far diffrent company now. bit is not hard to be nice to people after you stomp on everyone to get to the top. Not that it is not great he is giving to charity but it would be nice not to see his personal life and buisness life to be so diffrent.

RE: Start of something to come?
By TomZ on 6/16/2006 8:46:06 AM , Rating: 2
He has said in interviews that he has no interest in the presidency, and he also has said that he is not qualified.

You need to think of him as the nerdy engineer that won the lottery. Engineers, by their vary nature, would not be good politicians, because they can't lie to themselves and live in an alternate reality like politicians have to. I realize that this is expressing a stereotype of engineers that may not be true in all cases, but I truly believe that Bill Gates is too honest to be a politician.

Hats off to Bill!
By Gamingphreek on 6/15/2006 8:37:08 PM , Rating: 2
Wow you cant say enough about the guy.

Very classy individual! Seriously what guy that is that wealthy (Donald Trump *cough*) does HALF as much as what Gates has done.

If more people were like him (Morally not necessarily financially) this world would be a better place.

My hats off to you Bill!

RE: Hats off to Bill!
By QueBert on 6/15/06, Rating: -1
RE: Hats off to Bill!
By QueBert on 6/16/06, Rating: -1
RE: Hats off to Bill!
By jtesoro on 6/16/2006 3:47:49 AM , Rating: 2
Read an article about him in Time when he won Persons of the Year with wife and Bono. Interesting how he applies his business practices on how he deals with his charities' partners. Missing your targets for distributing medicine? You guys are out! I'm putting words in his mouth, but that's the kind of philosophy implied. Too much aid organizations are grossly ineffective and getting away with it. Gates' method is kinda "business-ruthless" but I think that's what's needed to get things done.

RE: Hats off to Bill!
By masher2 on 6/16/2006 9:27:26 AM , Rating: 3
> "Gates' method is kinda "business-ruthless" but I think that's what's needed to get things done. "

Exactly so. Too many billions have been squandered on "charity" by people who just want to feel good by writing a check, without realizing (or caring) how little of any of that money does any good.

Gates isn't just writing checks to feel good, or to garner image brownie points, however. He wants his money to make a difference...and it is.

no bill :<
By kibets on 6/15/2006 5:31:06 PM , Rating: 2
It will be a sad day to see him go but I can completely understand he has plenty of $ for his retirement.

I've used his products since Atari basic in 1979!

RE: no bill :<
By smilingcrow on 6/18/2006 9:54:55 AM , Rating: 2
Bill’s departure could offer a Genuine Advantage to Microsoft. For Bill also; now he can start playing with Linux at home without feeling guilty.

Up or down?
By peternelson on 6/16/2006 5:25:43 AM , Rating: 2

I was wondering, will this cause microsoft stock price to rise or fall, either upon this announcement, or on Bill's departure/retirement?

eg some may think the company might be more likely to falter without his insightful leadership. OR some may say good riddance, and it will deflect some of the anti-Gates sentiment from the company.

RE: Up or down?
By TomZ on 6/16/2006 8:47:42 AM , Rating: 2
Just watch their stock price today. :o)

I doubt there will be much overall impact on its stock price, since he is not departing for 2 years, and even then, he'll still be pretty involved with Microsoft's strategic management going forward.

By Josh7289 on 6/15/2006 6:41:01 PM , Rating: 2
To think, I just stroll on over to Anandtech, and what do I see in the headlines! Well, I guess once he's done with Vista, that will be it. But what about Vista makes it the company's largest project evar?

Congrats, Bill!
By The Boston Dangler on 6/15/2006 8:08:45 PM , Rating: 2
Who would have thought some scrawny dork would someday rise to be Master of the Known Universe. Gates, and his inner circle, have created an entity whose influence is felt everywhere. I'm talking about influence in the league of the energy, banking, insurance, defense and auto industries.

Love him or hate him, you know his name. Historically, very few men get to conquer the world. Fewer live to enjoy it.

WOW indeed
By ranger203 on 6/15/2006 8:22:39 PM , Rating: 2
I know it's just 2 years away, but it's still sad to see him leave. I mean love M$ or hate 'em, they did greatly help make personal Computing what it is today, and Gates has been there through thick & thin. My hat's off to you Bill!

Poor Ray
By Andres Mendez on 6/15/2006 9:02:14 PM , Rating: 2
I hope he gets a good phase-in, otherwise he'll have big shoes to fill...

on a lighter note, what kind of retirement plan is Bill planning on getting? AARP? :P'0 and sqlsrv'05
By InternetGeek on 6/16/2006 6:49:58 AM , Rating: 2
If'05 and sqlsrv'05 are any measure of things to come i believe good things are coming.

This is disturbing
By vingamm on 6/16/2006 8:17:51 AM , Rating: 2
Microsoft with out Bill Gates is like baseball with out a bat. With all the jokes and all the finger pointing that we sometimes do (like Bill is actually responsible for the holes and security issues in Windows), I can not see that company with out him. The man is an icon in business and technology. Good luck to him and we will miss you. On the brighter side, Ray Ozzie will has a very good name to make fun of :)

Gates is an "icon" alright...
By Beenthere on 6/16/06, Rating: -1
eh ??
By das mod on 6/15/06, Rating: -1
By shadowzz on 6/16/2006 11:33:58 AM , Rating: 3
This site needs a block list.

Good News
By Nelsieus on 6/15/06, Rating: -1
good call
By syne24 on 6/16/06, Rating: -1
RE: good call
By Visk on 6/16/2006 1:54:58 AM , Rating: 1
I guess he bail out before the failure of vista about to go down


RE: good call
By Nekrik on 6/16/2006 2:05:45 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, maybe it'll fail like all the others, right to the highest install base of any OS out there :)

"If they're going to pirate somebody, we want it to be us rather than somebody else." -- Microsoft Business Group President Jeff Raikes

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