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If someone wanted to give me a lesson on differences between rest of the world and tech-obsessed United States, yesterday was a perfect day. I met with several people yesterday, most talked about England’s struggles to win the match again Soca Warriors, and not one mentioned […]

If someone wanted to give me a lesson on differences between rest of the world and tech-obsessed United States, yesterday was a perfect day. I met with several people yesterday, most talked about England’s struggles to win the match again Soca Warriors, and not one mentioned Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates’ decision to step down from active duties at Microsoft to focus on more charitable enterprises. (CNN Money has a special report that covers all you ever want to know about Bill Gates.)

In fact, it wasn’t till I saw MSNBC I got the news. A lot has been said about Gates’ moving on, and I guess it came as a surprise to many, because everyone thought Steve Ballmer was going to get the boot. Who knows – he just might quit, now that Bill won’t be there to hang out with him anymore?

In many ways Gates leaving is a good thing for Microsoft, because the company needs to learn without the nagging question: What will Bill Say? Microsoft is battling on many fronts, and it is not easy for the company to win many of these skirmishes. It needs to get some new blood and new tactics. As for Bill, well his decision to focus on charity and helping the world – well let that be a lesson for other fat cats – money is only money after a point, unless you do something with it.

Update: I got a chance to chat with Mark Ward of BBC who has included me in his reactions to the Bill Gates decision to step down.

  1. Microsoft is very much begining to evolve with their products, and I think that Bill leaving will prod them to do this even moreso. As for fat cats, Bill has always been a rather amazing one. I think it will be cool to see him get into charity more, because he is a very interesting force in the world and will do some amazing things with that money, this won’t be the last we hear of him I think.

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  2. Reember he will still be the chairman on MS board and who knows if his ghost contunue to haunt redmond .

    i think it is more of a smoke and mirror act to ease off pressure & unusuall public secruitny which is faced by MS’s top brass . this pressure usually come from the fact that he is the richest man in world . with Billg going in background it will be gone (well somewhat )

    remeber what Buffet said when BillG opted to take the role of Cehif Mentore and give CEO post to Ballmer ” Not a sparrow will fly in MS without his knowledge ” . i agree with him
    people like bill gates never retre they just can’t they either die or thrown out by Board of Director . he ha s done nothing do deserve the second option and for First one ” You never know “

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  3. Bill may not be out of the running yet, but in another 10 to 20 years, almost all of the first generation IT entrepeneurs will be looking at retirement. It will be interesting to see what changes that brings to the computer world.

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  4. Looked to me on the Channel 9 video that Mr. Ballmer was about to do the Snoopy dance – he came across THAT happy!

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  5. I was passing by building 34 and heard chairs cracking and MS security personal rushing towards the executive parking lot, a bald old man was swearing I am going to fucking kill CNN ;-)

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  6. Everyone’s talking about how nice it is that Bill is devoting all his time to charity, but his foundation still makes money. In fact, it’s a great way to make money. The government can’t tax it as much (if at all, I don’t know) and he can still do business. He is very philanthropic, but running a foundation is not a selfless thing to do.

    Haven’t any of you read God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater?

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  7. Mr William (Rosewater) Gates, sorry Bill Gates, will permanently be at Microsoft untill death break them appart !
    The question is : who dies first?
    As a Gates real admirer, I would certanly prefer he lives through Microsoft !
    Wil it be possible? We will perhaps discouver it sooner or later …
    Now, on another line of thinking, I would definetelly say that the software revolution in progress is quite influenced by Bill Gates himself ! Regardless how awckward this seems to be, and the Open Source paradigm shift going on …

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  8. (The above was definitely not written by me)

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  9. Business, as everyone knows, is about constant change and evolution. At some point, everyone loses the ability to “get it”. New technologies, new business models, new everything eventually mean that someone else has to run the show. This isn’t a failure or an admission of some kind of weakness — it’s recognition of a fact. Gates needed to hand the company over to people more connected with what’s going on in technology today, and it was an incredibly wise and brave decision for him to do so.

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  10. But honestly who cares?

    MS died when the Web took over the desktop. They can only grow like they used to at one point if the adopt IBM’s global services model, and forget about playing the headless visionary.

    Marc

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  11. Om, I have to disagree with you a bit. I think from PR and WallStreet POV, it’s a terrible time for Bill to annouce this considering the continuing delay of Vista, threat from Google, and the coming launch of SP3.

    However, I’m interested to know Who do you think will be the perfect CEO for MS, if Steve eventually gets axed? I think Meg Whitman will be a great choice…

    Finally, I gotta say, it’s a strange year- first was Scott M., now Bill. Will Larry be next to annouce his transition to yachting fulltime?

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  12. I think that Windows has just gotten to the point where it
    is a big gigantic out-of-control mess.

    Furthermore, if Bill Gates was responsible for, or approved,
    the mind-numbingly stupid Windows Registry, then it is
    about time he moved on.

    He has created a monster and cannot control it.

    Goodbye and Good Riddance.

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  13. Microsoft has global domination for its windows operating system and controls most of that market sector, considering they have been involved in software for longer than one can remember, why have they not tightened the security in there IE web browser.

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  14. I know I’m late on this post, but I find it interesting how much things have changed over the past 4 years with a Windows 7 and Office 2007/2010 release.

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