Gates is only 52 years old, but is planning on ‘retiring’ as a full-time Microsoft employee. He will now be devoting the majority of his time to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and his other pursuits in philanthropy.
52? Kind of young to be retiring, isn’t it? Maybe Bill thinks Social Security is worse than we suspect. Maybe, as illustrated, he wants to spend more time modeling.
You may remember dear old Mr. Gates as the nerd who took over the world. After dropping out of Harvard (a ballsy move), he founded Microsoft in 1975 with the idea that something as bizarre as a ‘personal computer’ could be in every home in the world. Gates sat on the throne as the richest man in the world for several years, being worth as much as $100+ billion in 1999.
Since then he’s gotten pretty soft on us and given away much of his wealth through his charity. I have a feeling he lost a lot of those fancy dollars in the dot com bust and in recent years with Microsoft’s epic decline in revenues.
In his formative years, Gates was brilliant in strategizing the rise of Microsoft through software sales. As cool as Apple’s products were and are, they still only make up a small percentage of the world’s computer users. Microsoft was a friggin’ borderline monopoly with the PC movement.
Bill took a fair amount of hands-on involvement with his precious Microsoft products. E-mails like this one, which was recently uncovered by a Seattle reporter, show how anal retentive and meticulous Gates can be. But at the same time, it’s rewarding to see that Gates gets just as frustrated as we, the everyday user, do when his junk doesn’t work.
Since those golden years, Microsoft has lost it’s shine, as the computer movement has given way to the Internet movement. Search titans like Google and Yahoo continue to outmatch Microsoft’s puny MSN searches, which is where the future lies. This idea of ‘cloud computing’ where information is stored and shared not on a single computer or hard drive space, but in the general workable Internet space, has been a momentous shift in the industry.
So Bill is on his way out, not quite on top, but still the most influential man in modern technology. He’s leaving the reigns to his easily excited and just as easily scared CEO, Steve Ballmer. Better keep an eye on that guy.
I was thinking of a few ideas for what Bill should do today on his last day:
- Kill a random employee and perform a sacrificial ritual.
- Announce he’s starting a brand new company, and ‘You mofos better watch out!’
- Dance like nobody’s watching, sing like nobody’s listening.
- Hire Steve Jobs.
- Explain how PCs were always just a scam created by spyware companies.
- Add everyone’s contact info to his new iPhone to keep in touch.
- Swim across Lake Washington, near his home, like Tom Green did.
- “Free Zunes for anyone that wants one!… Nobody wants one?”
Leave some more suggestions for Bill’s last day in the comments section.
NYT: Microsoft Seeks Path Beyond Gates Legacy, June 27, 2008