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Gates to Step Down

I think there’s spring fever in the air.  As one wag noted, “First Scoble, and now Gates!”.   At 4:30 this afternoon, one of the 20th century’s giants of industry, Bill Gates, anounced he was retiring. In June 2008, Bill will become Chairman and Advisor to Microsoft, and continue in a part time role, as needed.  He will be focusing his attention on the $29 billion Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  Craig Mundie and Ray Ozzie will collectively assume the technology strategy and oversight role that Bill played as Chief Software Architect, and will report to Steve Ballmer.

Of course, the signs have been there for everyone to see for a while:

  1. Steve’s promotion to CEO.
  2. Ray Ozzie’s prominent role since being hired only a short time ago.
  3. The continued growth of the Foundation, despite its giving away massive amounts of money.  Bill has often commented that it’s difficult to give wisely and effectively.

No doubt this will come as a relief to Bill Gates, Sr. as well.  He’s well on in his years, but has been a pivotal force at the foundation since its inception.

I’ve only been back to Microsoft a few times since leaving, and it hasn’t seemed the same as when I left.  As of today, it likely will never be the same again. 

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