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Bill Gates to Step Down from Microsoft 742

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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  • by Overly Critical Guy ( 663429 ) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @05:07PM (#15543668)
    Is this not the clearest evidence yet that Microsoft is "dying" and on its way out? Already, it's become somewhat irrelevant as a tech industry player, leaning on its entrenched install base to survive. Now its most well-known figurehead is leaving.
  • 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.
  • Re:Uhhhh... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by linvir ( 970218 ) * on Thursday June 15, 2006 @05:19PM (#15543824)
    creates world's most successful company, becomes world's richest man, leaves day job to spend billions on charity

    You left out 'shapes computing the world over' (on the desktop).

    Gates kicks ass. He'd be the perfect role model if it weren't for some of his less savoury feats.

  • Re:Thanks Bill (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mjmalone ( 677326 ) * on Thursday June 15, 2006 @05:21PM (#15543853) Homepage
  • Re:Politics (Score:3, Interesting)

    by whitehatlurker ( 867714 ) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @05:25PM (#15543896) Journal
    That (Gates for president of the US) is an interesting idea. I know the parent has been modded funny, but don't you folks have an election around 2008?

    High profile, rich, proved administrator, rich, technically savvy, rich, good looking wife, still has his hair, rich. What more would you want? (-1 for the next person to say "interns".)

  • by Overly Critical Guy ( 663429 ) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @05:25PM (#15543900)
    Far from it. Microsoft's market share doesn't mean much if the company no longer innovates and takes seven years to release a new version of its flagship product. This is the tech market. That is a hugely long time. People don't take this company seriously anymore. Microsoft was once written as the threatening beast, but they are now mentioned sarcastically, often as punchline. Companies and small startups no longer fear them. The fire and energy is at Google and Apple.

    Their stock price is flatline, they have an out-of-touch CEO, their #1 product hasn't been updated in six years, they bleed money in markets they don't belong in, companies internally refer to Vista and the process behind it as "broken" (See here []). Hell, this news comes two days after the worst Patch Tuesday of 2006. I argue that they absolutely are irrelevant. All they can do now is lean on their entrenched install base, and that means they're no longer moving forward. Sadly, it makes them a relic.

    Linux will continue to gobble up servers, and Windows will continue to sort of lamely deflate in the desktop market. Analysts are actually predicting a massive increase in Apple market share, as much as triple. But more importantly, the direction in tech now is the web and digital media--Google and Apple's #1 markets. Windows is "meh."
  • Re:He's not leaving (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dar ( 15755 ) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @05:28PM (#15543928) Homepage
    And on the pedestal these words appear:
    "My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
    Look upon my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
    Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
    Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
    The lone and level sands stretch far away.

      Percy Bysshe Shelley
  • Talking of Vista... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jd ( 1658 ) <> on Thursday June 15, 2006 @05:36PM (#15544006) Homepage Journal 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.
  • Re:He's not leaving (Score:4, Interesting)

    by kfg ( 145172 ) * on Thursday June 15, 2006 @05:43PM (#15544074)
    I picture some zealots crushing his tomb stone. . .

    Anticipation of that is why he is going into the "philanthropy biz."

    It's SOP for those who know their tombstones deserve crushing. Some of them even go so far as to hide their tombs (See Alexander, Temujin, most of the Pharoahs, etc.).

  • by Y0tsuya ( 659802 ) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @05:43PM (#15544077)
    You just have to look at Gates charity in giving computers to schools. Windows. Oh yeah, the first one is free kids.

    Hey, they can quit anytime they want. Windows is not dope.

    So the man spent 30 years crushing the competition using brutal and sometimes unethical business practices. Big deal. Everybody on the losing end whines but secretly loves to be in his shoes. Now he realizes he has too much money and wants to give it back. I have zero problem with that. You don't like it, fine, nobody's forcing you to take his money.

  • Re:Thanks Bill (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Tom ( 822 ) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @06:08PM (#15544320) Homepage Journal
    You should address your good wishes to Melinda. Gates did very little beneficial before he met her, and ever since they married, he's started spending more and more on philantropy. To me that's exactly the sign of a man under the soft but efficient control of his wife slowly turning him around to what she wants.
  • Re:Thank you (Score:3, Interesting)

    by itsNothing ( 761293 ) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @06:34PM (#15544524)
    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 program bugs: there's no profit in it. Just generate another crappy version of the code and release it.

    As one of the above comments said, the UI for Windows hasn't advanced the art of 26 years ago, and doesn't improve upon UIs from the early days of Xerox Parc.

    Bill has made a ridiculous amount of money due to a huge amount of dumb luck (think of the book: "Fooled by Randomness") and by applying dirty corporate techniques to competitors and partners. He gives capitalists a bad name. God help the world if he uses his Microsoft skill set to the management and direction of his charitable foundation.
  • Re:Holy Sh*t (Score:2, Interesting)

    by thephotoman ( 791574 ) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @06:47PM (#15544644) Journal
    No. Buy MSFT. Without Gates holding the company back, they might actually do something interesting. Gates isn't a programming genius. In fact, he's quite mediocre. What he is good at is shrewd and (dare I say it) evil business practices, and making a pound of turd look like a pound of gold.

    Now, if they'd just get rid of Ballmer, the company might actually be going places.
  • by I'm Don Giovanni ( 598558 ) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @07:03PM (#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? ;-)
  • Re:Thank you (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Hosiah ( 849792 ) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @07:33PM (#15545003)
    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:Holy Sh*t (Score:3, Interesting)

    by derniers ( 792431 ) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @08:07PM (#15545218)
    he will have a lot more fun giving away $30 billion than staying at MSFT
  • Sadness (Score:2, Interesting)

    by tkarr ( 459657 ) <tkarr@ia[ ] ['sta' in gap]> on Thursday June 15, 2006 @08:17PM (#15545276) Homepage
    This is a sad day for me. My salute to a great mind: *salute*.
  • Re:Thanks Bill (Score:3, Interesting)

    by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @10:39PM (#15545970)
    "Correlation does not imply causation. Denigrating his generosity on account of when he was generous is just plain rude."

    Those of us who have lived in Western Washington for a long time can attest to the fact that Bill seemed to go out of his way NOT to help the community, up until a little while after he married Melinda. I think I've posted it previously, but it was a running joke on a Seattle-based comedy show called "Almost Live" (which ran from the mid-80s to the mid-90s).

    However, I am glad to see the money getting spent on worthwhile projects - whatever the motivation. I just hope in the long run Melinda gets remembered for this more than for "Microsoft Bob".

  • by GaryPatterson ( 852699 ) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @10:47PM (#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.
  • by mlylecarlin ( 552855 ) on Friday June 16, 2006 @03:01AM (#15546929)
    None of the Robber Barons was nearly this generous and none of the Robber Barons is viewed as a good man today, you simpering idiot.


    He's going to leave his children ten million apiece! He's given half his money to charity already and most of the rest will go to charity when he dies. It's incredible that you don't see how good that is.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 16, 2006 @03:12AM (#15546956)
    Thank you for posting that. I get sick of the way that Gates is torn apart on this site sometimes.

    At his worst, Bill Gates was anti-competitive. Sadly, that's the nature of the computing industry. Apple, IBM, Sun, Oracle, and PeopleSoft are guilty of the same thing, Microsoft was just more successful. But IBM has spent the last 10 years outsourcing half of its workforce - Microsoft has hired heavily outside of the country, but has never outsourced a single American job. Apple is a retched company to work for, treating its employs like endentured servants (which is why I believe the stories that the iPod is produced in sweatshops). Microsoft is a great place to work with some of the best benefits in the country and comfortable salaries, both inside and outside the US. They extend their 100% medical coverage to all employees in all countries. Sun and Oracle run pretty much the same as IBM. PeopleSoft was, prior to their acquisition, a great place to work - they treated people decently.

    I can understand people disliking Microsoft products. I can also understand the claim that Microsoft's market position has slowed the rate of technical innovation, but I believe only slightly. OSX, Firrefox and Google can still exist and thrive in a Microsoft world (and OSX at least owes much of its origins to a Microsoft bail-out). Microsoft has acted aggresively against Linux and OpenOffice in terms of their salesforce and their marketing, but they have never employed any legal means at their disposal to eliminate them.

    Microsoft brought useable software to the masses, and for better or worse standardized a data format between the businesses of the world and delivered a solid, useable (albeit occasionally buggy) product that transformed the business world. They've had problems with security based on bad design, and by the way, spent three years not working on a new operating system they could sell doing nothing except plugging the holes and supporting their existing customers. They locked the world into the MS office format, people started to dislike it, they propose an open format, the world settles on a different open format, and they decide to support all of them.

    Not conforming to CSS standards isn't the same as genocide - people here need to get some perspective

  • by killjoe ( 766577 ) on Friday June 16, 2006 @04:55AM (#15547207)
    "It matters not what you think of MS and how he got his money."

    Really? You honestly think it doesn't matter how you get the money as long as you give two percent to charity?
  • by killjoe ( 766577 ) on Friday June 16, 2006 @05:00AM (#15547222)
    Every day hundreds of millions of Americans wake up and go to work. They earn good honest money doing good honest work and they pay their taxes. Out of those taxes hundreds of billions go to provide food stamps, health care, heating oil, transportation, clean water, vaccinations, and a slew of other services for the poor and indigent of the world. Hundreds of billions. Furthermore the combined charitable output of those hundreds of millions of americans dwarfs Bills.

    That's the cathedral and the bazaar for you. I am more impressed with my neighbor who gets up every day and sits in a parking lot all day come rain or shine then I am with Bill G. If Bill G decided not to charge monopoly prices for his goods then those hundreds of billions of people would have a few extra cents in their pockets.

    Glad you are so impressed with his giving though.
  • Re:Holy Sh*t (Score:2, Interesting)

    by WhatAmIDoingHere ( 742870 ) * <> on Friday June 16, 2006 @05:36AM (#15547325) Homepage
    If I shot your mother in the face.. but, when I died, donated $48 Billion dollars to sick babies, would that be OK?

    You're acting like the ends really justify.

    Maybe if Ken Lay donated a few bucks to the Ronald McDonald house, Enron would have been just fine.
  • by gelfling ( 6534 ) on Friday June 16, 2006 @07:55AM (#15547620) Homepage Journal
    MS stock has languished since 1998
    Gates has been asleed at the wheel
    There have been no new products
    Everything is slipping even by MS's squishy standards
    No one believes what they say anymore when they talk about their priorities

    It's all well and good for Gates to give away his money but I am damned sick of him giving away MINE.
  • by NetRAVEN5000 ( 905777 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @09:30PM (#15579819) Homepage
    "Steve hasn't been successful enough to do nearly as much social good so it doesn't really matter."

    Only in the eyes of an IDIOT is Steve Jobs not "successful enough".

    What's on Jobs' list of accomplishments you might ask? How about being one of the few computer companies to last through Gates' tyranny? How about changing the music industry?

    No? How about giving one of the movie industry's biggest names (Disney) a run for their money -- and winning?

    You say Jobs is unsuccessful. . . looking at all the big-time animated movies, I'd say you're wrong. Toy Story/Toy Story 2, Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, A Bug's Life, Monsters Inc. . . I'd say Jobs did pretty well for himself.

    Jobs might not donate a lot of money, I don't know, but he has certainly done a lot to make computing easier and better - MacOS has had speech recognition and other helpful technologies for quite some time now - and I'd say he's done his share to make the entertainment industry better, both with his flat pricing for all songs and with his movies that you know are "kid-safe" and are good family entertainment.

Don't tell me how hard you work. Tell me how much you get done. -- James J. Ling