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Gates leaves 33-year legacy to focus on world aid

updated 04:50 pm EDT, Fri June 27, 2008

Gates leaves Microsoft

At an employee event held today, Bill Gates said farewell to the company he co-founded back in 1975. Gates will move from one giant to another, as he will turn his focus on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which is the world's largest charity. Reports say Gates and Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer delivered speeches to the assembled employees and press, each choking back tears as they spoke.

"There won't be a day in my life when I won't be thinking about Microsoft, the great things that we're doing and wanting to help," Gates told the crowds. The 52-year-old self-professed nerd will now work on finding vaccines and helping to finance projects in developing countries as part of the Foundation headed up by him and his wife. He will remain Microsoft's chairman and contribute to special technology projects.

Under Gates' oversight, Microsoft went from creating the operating system for IBM PCs, MS-DOS, before developing the first graphical user interface of that program, Windows, in 1985. More recently, the company came out with its Xbox gaming console in 2001 to fight Sony's entry into the market at the time, the PlayStation 2. Apple's iPod popularity led to the software giant to develop the Zune series of portable music and multimedia players in 2006.

Gates' various roles at Microsoft will be replaced by three individuals. The chief software architect is now Ray Ozzie, Craig Mundie will act as chief research and strategy office while Steve Ballmer, Gates' long-time friend and Harvard classmate, will assume chief executive officer duties.

by MacNN Staff



  1. bobolicious

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Irony... many people & businesses has this individual contributed to hurting as a leader of a criminally convicted corporation...

    Here's to the all too familiar post existential crisis cleansing of the rich & famous...

  1. lkrupp

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Adios Bill!

    Kinda mixed feelings. While he brought hard-nosed, monopolistic, take no prisoners business practices to the personal computer industry, stifled innovation and competition he also nonetheless (along with Steve Jobs) helped bring the power of the computer to the average citizen.

    I personally think Microsoft is past it's prime and with Ballmer at the helm will slowly decline in importance and influence.

    But the same could be said of a post Steve Jobs Apple I guess.

  1. nat

    Joined: Dec 1969


    well said

    "Here's to the all too familiar post existential crisis cleansing of the rich & famous..."

    Carnegie was a real sob when it came to workers and bought his way into the arts.
    The list of sob's who go on to be "respected" is long.

    Gates was mocked for many years by philanthropists, them wondering why the h*** doesn't this guy do something. Along came the true angel, Melinda, and he tagged along.

    Odd how during the anti trust period ol' Bill suddenly made a big splash about his "charity" work.

  1. eddd

    Joined: Dec 1969



    my understanding is that he bought, not developed, MS-DOS. Is that correct? Either way, his single greatest achievement was the business deal with IBM to include it, and then marketing it to clone makers. The rest of MS history is tainted by anti-competitive monopolistic behavior. Hard to honor the retirement of such a man.

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: hmmm

    You'd be correct -- and that purchase was the source of Microsoft's first copyright infringement case, which they lost (to Digital Research).

  1. Zkatz007

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Oh come on

    The guy has donated what - 10s of BILLIONs of dollars? - and you're giving him grief? Say what you may, he's created Microsoft from the ground up. Pretty amazing achievement; I'm sure any of you would be proud of having done that!

  1. mjtomlin

    Joined: Dec 1969



    After approached by IBM to create the OS for the PC, Microsoft bought QDOS (Quick and Dirty Operating System). Without riding on the back of IBM, Microsoft probably wouldn't exist today. And of course, Windows was created from a port of the Macintosh Toolbox API. Which was basically "given" to Microsoft so they could create a graphical version of Office for IBM compatibles as a counterpart to Office for Macs.

  1. MiMiC

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Seems odd huh?

    as you read these post, that when history is remembered clearly, it is not all too flattering for Bill!

    The deal with IBM was smart, and he leveraged his power for the rest. Not in ways to get better deals like Dell does, but in way to rid themselves of competition. Which is wrong!!

    Glad his wife had other plans, and perhaps some good will come out of his fortune. But that does not excuse how he made his fortune.


  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969


    uh... no

    "I'm sure any of you would be proud of having done that!"

    what part of convicted thief are you missing? proud you say?

    and what the h*** does "BILLIONS" have to do with anything? i'd wager there are many who's charity contributions are pretty damn close percentage wise when it comes to donations/net worth.

  1. msuper69

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Civil not criminal

    Get the facts straight. I'm no big MS fan (even though my initials are the same-dang!) but the company was found guilty in a civil case. Big difference.

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