Bill Gates, the man himself, announced today that he was tired of working full time with Microsoft as their Chief Software Architect and part time with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation-the philanthropic effort that Bill funds with his own money, and wanted to switch the two around and work full time with the Foundation and part time with Microsoft. In 2008 he’ll complete his transition and is planning to step aside at Microsoft and move over to the Foundation to focus on his philanthropic and charity work. Microsoft conspicuously waited until after the close of business (and more importantly, the stock market) to make the announcement, so keep an eye on the stock price tomorrow morning.
That being said, this isn’t a significant surprise, and Microsoft had somewhat been positioning itself for a change like this for a while now. Gates will stay on as Chairman of the Board, but the bulk of his work will be done at the Foundation, and who will fill his roles at Microsoft have already been decided. While he may not be the man on stage doing the demos anymore, he’ll still be closely involved with the company. Still, he’s giving plenty of notice, and we’ll have a whole two years to get used to the idea of Bill not being at the helm of Microsoft anymore, but who knows, maybe this means the era of more entertaining Steve Ballmer videos is just beginning!