Microsoft chairman Bill Gates set to log out

June 27th, 2008 - 7:14 pm ICT by IANS  

DPA
Seattle, June 27 (DPA) Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates was set Friday for his last day of full-time work at Microsoft - the company he founded 33 years ago on a hunch that personal computers would become an integral part of everyday life. The world’s largest software company said that it was not planning any public events to observe the transition, though the change would be marked by internal events.

Gates, 52, will continue to hold the title of non-executive chairman and work about one day a week at Microsoft. He intends to devote the rest of his time to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the wealthiest charity in the world, which is aimed at improving healthcare around the world and reducing extreme poverty.

Founded with the vast fortune he made as Microsoft prospered, the foundation has an endowment of some $38.7 billion with billions more expected to roll in as Gates transfers his massive personal wealth. Legendary investor Warren Buffet, currently the world’s richest man, has also pledged to transfer the vast majority of his wealth to the foundation.

Gates handed over his role as Microsoft chief executive to his long-time partner Steve Ballmer in 2000, when Gates became the company’s chief software architect.

Under a carefully planned succession programme, Gate’s duties will be taken over by two top Microsoft executives. Ray Ozzie will be in charge of day-to-day management issues, while Craig Mundie will be in charge of long-term planning.

The company, whose Windows operating system powers some 90 percent of the world’s personal computers, has a market capitalization of about $260 billion and employs more than 78,000 people in 103 countries. But even as its cash cow products of Windows and the Office productivity suite look set to continue their stellar earnings, Microsoft faces tough competition as Google’s online dominance threatens to cut into Microsoft’s core businesses.

Despite the company’s failed attempt to buy Yahoo as an antidote to Google, most analysts believe that Microsoft will continue to thrive even without Gates at the helm.

“I’ve seen (Microsoft) bat away one mortal threat after another - and I see no reason to believe that Google’s turn will not come, too,” said Rob Helm of research company Directions.

“Bill has been there so long he has lots of ‘Baby Bills’ that represent the same culture: very smart, very aggressive and focused on meeting competition head on,” he added.
DPA

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