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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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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.

"Let's face it, we're not changing the world. We're building a product that helps people buy more crap - and watch porn." -- Seagate CEO Bill Watkins

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