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Gates to Leave Microsoft in 2008

From the time-to-cash-in-your-chips-dept.

Microsoft's Gates to Leave Daily Role

Microsoft Corp. said after the bell Thursday that Chairman Bill Gates 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.

Microsoft said Chief Technical Officer Ray Ozzie will immediately assume the title of chief software architect and begin working with Gates on all technical architecture and product oversight responsibilities, to ensure a smooth transition.

It's hard to tell what this really means for both Microsoft or the technology business. Having Gates as "chief software architect" really was quite silly. Only the true Microsoft fanboys will claim he was a decent software architect. Microsofts success was always a sales sucess and not a technical sucess. Still, Gates has led them this far.

With increased pressure from Apple and Google, this is not a bad time for Gates to hang up his hat. It looks near certain that MS's market domination is on the retreat so leaving now insures his place in tech history.

The timing also insulates him from the upcoming backlash over Vista.


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Comments (12)

His software architecture r... (Below threshold)
yetanotherjohn:

His software architecture role wasn't about laying down code, rather the "vision" of how it was all supposed to come together. So depending on how you like the world with windows and office as the dominant SW, you can rejoice or cry that he won't be there on a daily basis.

Of course, given the money he has, continuing to work to pay the bills wasn't why he went into the office in the morning.

Microsofts success was a... (Below threshold)
Toby928:

Microsofts success was always a sales sucess and not a technical sucess

Nail.on.the.head. IMHO, Microsoft has retarded the development of personal computing and the evolution of MMI's.

Tob

-- Only the true Microsoft ... (Below threshold)

-- Only the true Microsoft fanboys will claim he was a decent software architect. Microsofts success was always a sales sucess and not a technical sucess. --

Yes, Microsoft is primarily the success that it is because of brilliant marketing, but don't delude yourself: Gates was until fairly recently a major participant in software architecture in several of their product lines.

I met Gates in the mid-70s. He's a rather impressive chap, if you can overlook his God complex.

Finally, I find that the folks most likely to deride Microsoft's technical achievements are those least likely even to be able to enumerate them. They have essentially no chance of comprehending them. And no, I do not work for Microsoft.

Microsoft's success can be ... (Below threshold)
JohnMc:

Microsoft's success can be attributed to 3 words -- Don't Ever Quit. MS$ has in the past, come out with some pretty terrible products (BoB comes to mind....) but to their credit they correct their mistakes. Now alot of times the corrections are on the backs of their customer's balance sheets, but they do it.

Technical acumen. Hmmm. They got some pretty smart people but MS$ is not high on the innovation front. Not only that but their monopolistic practices nearly caused a collapse of the software venture capital market back in the 90's. No VC wanted to fork over money just to have MS$ stick a reworked version of it in their next OS release. Allen had to go around to the VC's and convince them otherwise with only moderate success.

He's a rather impressive... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

He's a rather impressive chap, if you can overlook his God complex.

Hmmm, what's his net worth? $50 billion? I think the God complex just might be justified.

P.S. Macs rule.

Finally, I find that the... (Below threshold)
Toby928:

Finally, I find that the folks most likely to deride Microsoft's technical achievements are those least likely even to be able to enumerate them. They have essentially no chance of comprehending them.

Not to pick a fight, Francis, but you also failed to enumerate them. ;-)

I've been sitting here trying to remember a technical achievement or inovation that Microsoft could actually claim responsiblity for and I'm coming up blank, but that may just be me, I'm getting pretty old, having started on 80&96 column card systems with no TP monitor at all. As you can imagine, this topic has been talked to death among my peer group.

I think that Microsoft has been adept at leveraging their market share and nimble at copying others' ideas, sometimes unethically (stacker) and sometimes just through the stupidity of their competition (OS/2-386 and Apple).

I'm not down on Gates as some of my peers are, I'm a user of the Windows product line, both personal and server, I have made some money on Microsoft, never having let my personal opinion of the products interfere with my opinion of the company, but I just don't see the techie-ness of Bill or the company as being that profound.

Your mileage may differ.

Tob

Wizbang breaks another stor... (Below threshold)
astigafa:

Wizbang breaks another story: Gates in '08! He's more electable than any Democrat likely to run, and he can cover Hilary's chips, and buy Manhattan with what's left over.

Yes, indeed. If he's elected, I'll move to Canada.

Microsoft's greatest achiev... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

Microsoft's greatest achievements was screwing over the competition without getting the anti-trust smackdown they so richly deserved.

Since we're enumerating numbers 1 & 2 are
1) Compelling PC manufacturers to sell DOS with all their PCs if they wanted to sell just one
2) After putting the Applications competition on the ropes with Windows 3.0, changing Windows 3.1 just enough to finish them off.

astigafa - "Wizbang breaks ... (Below threshold)
Big Mo:

astigafa - "Wizbang breaks another story" - what is WITH you? You seem to have a permanent bug up your ass. every time you come here, you never fail to start with some sort of snarky smart-ass remark that adds nothing to the conversation.

astigafa - "Wizbang brea... (Below threshold)
Jayson:

astigafa - "Wizbang breaks another story" - what is WITH you? You seem to have a permanent bug up your ass. every time you come here, you never fail to start with some sort of snarky smart-ass remark that adds nothing to the conversation.

He has LDS - Little Dick Syndrome

Finally, I find that the... (Below threshold)
Steve:

Finally, I find that the folks most likely to deride Microsoft's technical achievements are those least likely even to be able to enumerate them. They have essentially no chance of comprehending them.

Not to pick a fight, Francis, but you also failed to enumerate them. ;-)

not claiming that MSFT invented all the following, but they made them key parts of their software products:
- they have focused on software from day one
- using software interrupts as the way for a programmer to interop with the PC-DOS OS.
- the message loop that became the mainstay of Windows programming. That message loop enabled a program to be event driven ( a button has been clicked, a menu item selected ) instead of procedure driven ( first we paint the screen, then we wait on input, then we check if each of the buttons have been clicked, ... )
- the WIN32 api. an outstanding advance that to this day Linux has not matched. The WIN32 APIs ( all the function calls to the OS a programmer makes ) is much better organized and understandable than UNIX/LINUX.
- The Visual Basic programming language. A great advance in programming. ( see the event driven windows style of programming above )
- the ability to automate, that is program, EXCEL and WORD. There is an industry of office applications built on this feature. MSFT is a programmer's company and they built their Office suite of products to be programmable. Lotus and Word Perfect were not programmable to this extent, that is why they lost acceptance in the marketplace.
- COM. This enabled an application, any application written to have COM interfaces, to be automated by a Visual Basic program. As I describe in the prior bullet, Excel was automated using COM. See how the pieces are coming together?
- Great programming languages, C++, Visual Basic and now C#. Visual Studio is a very well done and popular IDE ( an editor plus a lot of other stuff )
- .NET and managed code. Introduced in a bet the company on it kind of way in 2000, .NET is a better COM and a better JAVA. The classes in the .NET framework are very well done and have improved programmer productivity a great deal.

Bill Gates was not the one who came up with all of this, but he hired, motivated and directed all the people who did. Just compare how lame IBM is against what MSFT has achieved. The difference is Bill Gates.

-Steve

( US out of Israel. The occupation of the Palestinians was never justified on a security basis and the violence has escalated exponetially since its inception. Why does the US take sides in the Israel/Palestine fight? )

The timing also insulate... (Below threshold)

The timing also insulates him from the upcoming backlash over Vista.

Heh. Until I got to the end of the entry and saw this, I was going to post something like, "And Vista stikll won't be out yet by then."




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