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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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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.

"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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