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Bill Gates to Step Down from Microsoft 742

Posted by Zonk
from the i'm-sure-you-have-more-to-say-than-i dept.
Geoffreyerffoeg writes "According to Microsoft PressPass, Bill Gates will be leaving his role at Microsoft in July 2008. He'll be staying with the company, but is also moving to a more fulltime position with the Gates Foundation. 'Microsoft Corp. today announced that 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 adviser on key development projects.' CTO Ray Ozzie will assume Gates' role of Chief Software Architect, and CTO Craig Mundie will also take on more leadership responsibility."
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Bill Gates to Step Down from Microsoft

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  • Holy Sh*t (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 15, 2006 @04:01PM (#15543587)
    Time to sell off my M$ stock...
    • Re:Holy Sh*t (Score:3, Interesting)

      by derniers (792431)
      he will have a lot more fun giving away $30 billion than staying at MSFT
      • Re:Holy Sh*t (Score:3, Informative)

        by 70Bang (805280)


        I think it was '93 or '94 when asked what he intended to do with his money (long-term) and he said he planned to give away at least 95% of it [vs. leaving it as an inheritance]. Even retaining 5% for "the rest of your life" living expenses is a substantial sum.

        There was an article in Forbes(?)|Fortune(?) about five years ago about his financial manager and the limits he had (big, interesting article). I think it also confirmed his intentions of off-loading his monies. His financial manager (at that ti
  • He's not leaving (Score:5, Informative)

    by Shippy (123643) * on Thursday June 15, 2006 @04:02PM (#15543589)
    He's going to stay chairman. This is a transition of his Chief Software Architect role. From the first line in the article:
    Working full time at Microsoft through June 2008, Gates then will continue as chairman and advisor while increasing Foundation efforts; Ray Ozzie and Craig Mundie to assume expanded roles.
    • That's right. In fact, the title of the article, although it grabs your attention immediately, is very wrong. He is just not going to do as much actual work, but he is still chairman.

      Oh, and a note to those that are saying that we can't make fun of him anymore: we still can, because he *started* microsoft. What will we do when he dies? We will still make fun of him!
    • by mjmalone (677326) * on Thursday June 15, 2006 @04:11PM (#15543713) Homepage
      Being the chairman of the board is very different from being an employee for a company. The chairman of the board is _not_ an employee, he is an owner and is supposed to represent the interests of the owners. Owners != Employees. Basically, sounds like Bill is stepping down from his day-to-day activities managing the organization. But he still has billions of dollars tied up in an ownership position -- it would be incredibly stupid of him not to protect that investment.
      • chairman of the board

        I thought when you get that card you have to pay everyone else $50. And yes, I do think that is appropriate use of money. :)
    • Chairman... (Score:5, Funny)

      by Spy der Mann (805235) <spydermann.slashdot@nOsPaM.gmail.com> on Thursday June 15, 2006 @04:15PM (#15543759) Homepage Journal
      He's going to stay chairman.

      He's replacing Ballmer!?!? O.o
    • by jcr (53032)
      I've never met Ozzie, and I wasn't favorably impressed by Lotus Notes, but it was at least shipped on a schedule.

      We've seen that MS fails utterly when trying to make major innovations in their products. If they switch instead to shipping bug fixes and minor feature additions on a 12 to 18 month cycle, they might be able to preserve their near-monopoly for a decade or more. Another Longhorn though, and they're in serious trouble.

      Meanwhile those of us in the rest of the industry will benefit as MS becomes
    • by Anonymous Coward
      June 2008 was the initial plan, but due to some schedule slippage, he will actually be released in 2015.
  • by Average_Joe_Sixpack (534373) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @04:02PM (#15543597)
    That borg icon finally got to him ... should be ashamed of yourselves!
  • by sakusha (441986) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @04:02PM (#15543599)
    Same as the old Boss.
  • Thank you (Score:5, Funny)

    by murat (262137) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @04:02PM (#15543604)
    Thank you Bill, for everything you've done for the industry and the world.
    • by LewsTherinKinslayer (817418) <lewstherinkinslayer@gmail.com> on Thursday June 15, 2006 @04:06PM (#15543650) Homepage
      Thank you Bill, for everything you've done for the industry and the world.

      Signed, Steve Jobs

      -- PS: I'll fucking kill you.
    • Re:Thank you (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Geoffreyerffoeg (729040) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @04:18PM (#15543803)
      I think he's serious. Gates did force a power-hungry company on us - but he forced a power-hungry company that made a profit from popularizing the personal computer. I doubt the PC would be quite as popular today as it is if it weren't for Gates.
      • by Surt (22457) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @05:17PM (#15544385) Homepage Journal
        I can't see how someone familiar with the history of the computer industry could think that ... if anything I think the PC would be quite a bit more popular today had MS never existed.
      • Re:Thank you (Score:3, Interesting)

        by itsNothing (761293)
        Who moderated this guy?

        Companies throw out Windows (tm) computers rather than try to remove existing spy-crap on them (NY Times article of April 2006, i believe).

        Microsoft itself found 60% of the machines it scanned to be infected with malware.

        Non-technical people are almost completely unable to use the damn things because so many software components can break and the OS provides virtually no assistance in correcting errors.

        In an interview, Bill himself said that there was no point in fixing pro
      • Re:Thank you (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Hosiah (849792)
        I doubt the PC would be quite as popular today as it is if it weren't for Gates.


        Well, now that he's gone, I guess things will never be the same for you. You might as well give up computers forever. You can donate your old machine to users of MacIntosh, Unix, and Amiga, so they can pick up where they left off before BG ever heard of computers.

      • Re:Thank you (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ClickOnThis (137803) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @08:17PM (#15545623) Journal
        Gates did force a power-hungry company on us - but he forced a power-hungry company that made a profit from popularizing the personal computer. I doubt the PC would be quite as popular today as it is if it weren't for Gates.

        Frankly, I think the PC became popular in spite of Bill Gates, not because of him.

        We should really thank IBM, for creating a PC design that (unlike Apple's) could be "commoditized", and then Compaq, for creating the clone industry. That's what really led to the popularity of the PC, not the mediocre software that ran on it.
  • by dankelley (573611) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @04:03PM (#15543624)
    Give the boy credit, for planning to devote his time to charity work.
  • by nstlgc (945418) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @04:04PM (#15543626)
    I bet he just wants to make sure he makes it into heaven after all...
  • by Nesetril (969734) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @04:04PM (#15543633)
    July 2008 - is that before or after Vista ships?
    • Talking of Vista... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jd (1658)
      ...how many Slashdotians have noticed that the blog mentioned in an earlier story from a Microsoft engineer on the delays of Vista has been removed? It says it was without pressure, but I'd probably type that too if Steve Balmer were in the room, armed with heavy-duty chairs.
  • Resume (Score:5, Funny)

    by Thunderstruck (210399) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @04:04PM (#15543634)
    What part(s) of my resume should I brush up when applying for the job of "master villian and arch-nemisis of WonderTorvalds?"

    On a more serious note, there are a lot of people with large emotional investments pent up in disliking Mr. Gates. The transition is going to be tough. It's almost like Inigo Montoya at the end of The Princess Bride. Maybe they should turn to piracy?
  • Oh, no! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Spaceman40 (565797) <blinks@a[ ]org ['cm.' in gap]> on Thursday June 15, 2006 @04:05PM (#15543638) Homepage Journal
    Whatever will we do with the Borg-Gates icon?
  • who knew (Score:5, Funny)

    by User 956 (568564) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @04:05PM (#15543643) Homepage
    "I believe with great wealth comes great responsibility"

    Who would have guessed that Bill Gates was also Spider-man?
  • But his morality is the only morality that company has. At all. This move will make Microsoft into more of a money grubbing, profit-centered, fuck anybody who gets in our way, sociopathic corporation. And they didn't have very far to fall to begin with.
  • by bitrate (460396) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @04:07PM (#15543674)
    ....to create a new Microsoft icon for /. I felt a slight chill as I read the article, realizing that if Bill Gates is stepping down, he must be getting kinda older....which means I'm getting kinda older. It's been an interesting ride through the years with Microsoft. Thanks for everything, Bill, and best of luck with your philanthropy. My city in particular (Windsor, ON, Canada) has benefitted from the B&MG foundation with new computers in our library for public use.
  • by MBC1977 (978793) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @04:09PM (#15543689) Journal
    Gates DID make computers affordable.

    Fair weather and calm seas on your new journey...

    MBC1977
    (US Marine, College Student, Future Business Owner, and Good Guy!)
    • by vertinox (846076) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @04:42PM (#15544071)
      Gates DID make computers affordable.

      I wouldn't say that. He more or less make computers standard or in a sense... Got everything to run on the same operating system.

      If you want to talk about making computers affordable... Then you'll have to give the credit to the Intel, AMD, and Cyrix price wars of 1995-2000.

      (Although if you think about the saying "What intel giveth, microsoft taketh away." then maybe they caused a bit of motivation in that price and speed war)
    • Why do you say that? Before MS came along, people could choose inexpensive computers from Atari, Apple, Commodore. There was healthy, competitive growth. Then IBM came along with the PC which ran DOS, clone vendors cloned that, and the rest is history. But I don't think MS was the factor in making computers inexpensive, it was competition and standards based gear (which IBM initiated with the PC, but before that there were Apple clones). MS has only excelled in making middle of the road software, and mainta
    • What?
      reverse engineering the IBM BIOS made computers available for a cheap price.
    • by aeoo (568706) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @07:05PM (#15545203) Journal
      It's impossible to assign all the credit to a single person for anything other than a completely trivial change.

      Things in the world happen due to a wide variety of causes and conditions. No single person stands at the head of any major change. There is no driver, or alternatively, every person is a driver. People who buy into some change are causing it as much as the person who is selling some change. It takes two to tango. You can't reasonably attribute the outcome of an intricate dance to a single person.

      Another thing is that we don't know what would have happened without Gates. What if without Gates personal computers proliferated even faster? It's an unknown. Because it's an unknown, we can't compare a known outcome against it in a reasonable way. If you could be certain that without Gates it wouldn't have worked out, and with and only with Gates it would work, then you'd have a slightly better position to assign all the credit to Gates. But still you can't satisfactorily assign all the credit for a major social change to one person for reasons outlined above.
  • Thanks Bill (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 15, 2006 @04:13PM (#15543745)
    I would just like to say thanks to Bill for his continuing work with the Gates foundation. I don't see the other multibillionares (Google guys, Redhat guys, Ellison, Jobs, etc) stepping up to the plate and making any commitment EVEN CLOSE to the level he has. All I see those guys doing is buying fighter planes, boats, sports teams and big houses. Good luck Bill!
    • Re:Thanks Bill (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mjmalone (677326) *
      • Re:Thanks Bill (Score:3, Informative)

        by davmoo (63521)
        Apples to oranges. Google.org is the philanthropic arm of Google the corperation, and uses the resources of Google the corporation. The Gates Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Bill and Melinda Gates, two people who got rich off of computers, not Microsoft the corporation.
  • Doubtful (Score:4, Funny)

    by wardk (3037) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @04:15PM (#15543768) Journal
    So how long can he stay out of the game? Not long I suspect.

    just wait until he notices his company following antitrust law, behaving ethically, paying to license code they use.

    he'll swoop right in and put a stop to that real fast
  • by unity100 (970058) * on Thursday June 15, 2006 @04:18PM (#15543808) Homepage Journal
    He's got a loooooong list to clear out before he can get positive on karma.
  • by timholman (71886) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @04:20PM (#15543838)
    Bill Gates is doing the same thing that Carnegie, Rockefeller, Vanderbilt, Morgan, and the other 19th century robber barons did - he is transitioning from the persona of a despised, cut-throat, take-no-prisoners monopolist to that of a benign philanthropist, and spending the billions he acquired in order to ensure his legacy. And just like the robber barons the 1800s, I have no doubt that Gates will be viewed as a wonderful benefactor of humanity a hundred years from now. Only the historians will remember how many people and companies he mercilessly crushed to create his fortune.
    • "I have no doubt that Gates will be viewed as a wonderful benefactor of humanity a hundred years from now. Only the historians will remember how many people and companies he mercilessly crushed to create his fortune."

      He wil be remembered as a wonderful benefactor precisely because he was a ruthless and effective businessman. Whether you like him or not, he's smart and he knows how to make things work. He will do a lot of good with his money -- a lot more than if it were in the hands of a government or a
    • by edbarbar (234498) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @05:06PM (#15544305)

      So what? He's doing good, isn't he? Why do you care about the motives? Do you hate Bill Gates more than the good he is doing (this is not a rhetorical question)?

      Regarding what he did to other companies, he outcompeted them. I was at Novell and saw the errors at Novell cause it to fail, not helped at all by uSoft, so I have every reason to be bitter, but I'm not.

      Bill Gates (or rather uSoft) was caught violating the rules on a number of occasions, and they were punished, but it's not as if uSoft was an Enron or manipulated the US govt. as some large utilities and the ILECs do. I suspect breaking weak govt. rules is standard fare at the titan level too, and I don't think you can deprecate uSoft or Bill Gates for taking no prisoners. That's what business is all about: structured warfare, and the goal is to win. He won.

      By the way, I'm certainly no uSoft fan, and I have zero insight into what Bill Gates is as a person, but I can admire his achievements without being either incredibly jealous or bitter.
  • Ambition... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rice-Pudding (167484) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @04:20PM (#15543842)
    Gates is still ambitious.

    Bill Gates has achieved what most people only dream of in terms of their life's ambitions. What do most people want? Money? Sure, but that is not the end of everything. Most (normal) people actually want to make a contribution to society/the world; to leave a legacy, if you will. (Granted, Bill has already done that.)

    So when you have succeeded beyond your wildest ambitions, then what? Gates cannot actually spend his money on himself fast enough. There comes a point when you start to want to spend it on your legacy instead. Hence, the charity funding. But this is still ambition.

    (Of course, I wish more people would reach that stage.)
  • by ndansmith (582590) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @04:25PM (#15543901)
    I guess some could be excited about Gates leaving, but do we really want Dick Cheney, er, I mean Ballmer to be in charge of things?
  • by grolaw (670747) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @04:26PM (#15543910) Journal
    his latest Apple branded product - the iWin corporate management app. (co-branded with Bil-b-gone).

    Typical of Job's Keynote addresses, the iWin app is ready for the market and has shipped-out.

    Fashion designers everywhere are tooling up to meet the anticipated black turtleneck demand and are cutting the production of pocket protectors and short-sleeve dress shirts.

    Steve Ballmer was last seen applying for a job with Disney.
  • The End of an Era? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Banner (17158) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @04:56PM (#15544214) Journal
    Like him or not, Bill Gates did a lot for personal computers, and honestly, those of us who use them and even the world. MicroSoft wrote a lot of good compilers and a lot of good programs, and while many may gripe, windows, windows98, windowsNT and windowsXP were pretty damn good products.

    Bill was rare in that he had vision and the ability to do technical things, and was a very driven person. He was the guy we all loved, then when he got rich he was the guy we all loved to 'hate'. But I remember what it was like before him, and he really did help change the world.

    At this point the only person left from the original shakers and movers is Steve Jobs. Steve isn't much of a technical person, but he has been a visionary in the past equal to Bill. I have to wonder how much longer till he bows out?

    And to be completely honest, it makes me wonder what the next bunch of 'snotty nosed kids' (as my compsci prof used to call Gates, Jobs, and Woz) will come up with. Every time an Era ends, a new one starts after all...
  • by I'm Don Giovanni (598558) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @06:03PM (#15544788)
    Those of you calling Gates "evil", "villainous", etc, in order to belittle his philanthropic activities, consider this:
    The companies that Gates "crushed" were rich companies whose execs had become rich themselves.
    So Gates took from those rich fat cats (through unethical means, according to the Gates haters), and is now giving to the poor. That makes him a high-tech Robin Hood. And just like the government tried to bring down Robin Hood, they tried to bring down Gates. What say you to that? ;-)
  • by ZoneGray (168419) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @06:44PM (#15545068) Homepage
    This is the beauty of capitalism. No matter how rich and powerful you are, you still get fired when you screw up.

  • by joystickgenie (913297) <joleske@joystickgenie.com> on Thursday June 15, 2006 @07:30PM (#15545358) Homepage
    Man when I read this I had images of Bruce Wayne and Wayne corp.

    He just needs more time for his superhero alter ego.
  • by GaryPatterson (852699) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @09:47PM (#15546029)
    I think Gates is doing something no-one else can do. He's redistributing wealth from the first world to the third world and doing what he can to make the world better.

    To get his massive wealth he's done things that were dishonest and even illegal (Microsoft never could overturn the illegal monopoly decision).

    But - and this is the crux - if he didn't have that wealth he couldn't do the things he can now. The wealth would be distributed throughout many people in North America, where it'd be likely to stay.

    Sometimes the ends *do* justify the means.

    I find it bizarre to praise Gates - as a computer enthusiast for 25 years now (I'm 35) I've come to see him as a net negative in the industry. We've got a monolithic company, a software monoculture, a history of massive security holes and illegal product tying. I believe the industry has suffered greatly because of Microsoft.

    But I still see his charity outweighs any negatives.
    • So a charity with 40 billion $ is going to outweight a Software Industry worth of thousands of billion dollars. Now Bill Gates is a sort of Robin Hood. It stole from the rich to give to the poor.

      Drug dealers in South America also benefit the poor peasants. I guess the end do justify the means :)

      Let's be honest. We have no way to know whether Microsoft (and the resulting charity) had not been there, the world would be a better or worse place today.

      I personally think that companies like Ubuntu create more val

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