Bill Gates Departs Microsoft
By: David Utter
The world's wealthiest and most iconic tech geek will devote his years to a massive philanthropic effort aimed at eradicating childhood diseases.
If you're going to think about the Internet and finance this week, it's hard to imagine not mentioning Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates heading for the exit. The rapid evolution of the World Wide Web, first ignored by Gates and company, led to Microsoft being outpaced by Google in what turned out to be the dual prize: dominance in search share and contextual advertising.
Catching up, or even just keeping pace, will be Steve Ballmer's problem at Microsoft now, not Gates. He'll have his hands full, and it isn't much of a stretch to think that Ballmer could follow his old friend Gates off the Redmond campus, should shareholders decide a change is needed.
All through the years, even up to today, Gates looked like the guy who would be the first one to pick up all the new Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition books and show up on your doorstep after a marathon session working on DOS.
On his way to DOS, and then Windows, Microsoft became the biggest technology company in the world. One can summarize Gates' fortune by noting his admission that the IRS maintains a separate computer system just to calculate what he gets to contribute to the national treasury.
We'd be remiss if we didn't recount the feisty, hyper-competitive side of Microsoft's exiting leader. Microsoft has been a vicious competitor in technology, to the point where, to this day, Microsoft toils under the auspices of antitrust regulators at home and abroad, all eager to hit the company with massive penalties should it go back to its bare-knuckle days.
Gates occupied the center of much of those operations. An episode of The Simpsons cheekily mocked the Microsoft chief's tougher side, as goons working for Gates wreck Homer's Internet business. "Oh, I didn't get rich by writing a lot of checks!" Gates (actually Hank Azaria) cackled amidst the destruction.
He did get rich, and now Gates is giving it away. Someday, Gates's bridge partner Warren Buffett will leave billions to the Gates Foundation, with Bill and wife Melinda charged with using it to improve the world.
Gates may be leaving the office, but he's heading to work nonetheless.
About the Author:
David Utter is a staff writer for InternetFinancialNews and WebProNews covering technology and business.
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