A primer on Bill Gates
Oh, by the way, you may have missed it, but today is Bill Gates’ last day on the job at Microsoft.
For good reason, there has been no shortage of coverage today with reporters covering every angle of the story.
A good deal of the writing has focussed on Gates’ legacy over the three decades he ran Microsoft.
Here’s what the New York Times writes:
Still, the Gates legacy is impressive. In addition to the software itself, Mr. Gates and his company have fundamentally shaped how people think about competition in many industries where technology plays a central role. Today, there are more than one billion copies of the Windows operating system on PCs around the world.
But it hasn’t been all roses, as CNN.com points out:
On the downside there have been muted attempts to crack the music download market, the delayed launch of Windows Vista and the failed $45B-plus bid for Yahoo. The company’s monopoly of the PC software market has also seen it fall foul of regulators both in the United States and in Europe.
Tellingly, most of these failures have come in recent years, as Gates has gradually divested himself from day-to-day management of the company.
There is also quite a bit of reporting about what Microsoft will look like under the leadership of Steve Ballmer. The Wall Street Journal writes:
The memo, which he called “The CEO Evolution,” provides a window into how Mr. Ballmer plans to lead as Mr. Gates — his friend since college days and longtime partner — ends full-time work at Microsoft on Friday to focus on philanthropy. It comes as the company faces increasing pressure from fast-moving, focused rivals such as Apple Inc. in software and cellphones and Google Inc. in Web search and advertising.
At the center of Mr. Ballmer’s dilemma is ongoing tension over whether Microsoft’s huge business divisions should have wide freedom to set their own course — or be more centrally planned, a strategy that could meld expertise across the company in ways that provide an advantage over rivals with narrower technology portfolios. In the memo, according to Microsoft executives, Mr. Ballmer cites lessons from both the Wal-Mart and GE experiences.
Another area getting a lot of attention is what’s ahead for Gates, besides his foundation? The Seattle Post-Intelligencer talked to Paul Allen.
“Bill has a wide-ranging and curious mind,” said Paul Allen, who founded Microsoft with Gates and remains friends with him. “It will be interesting to see what things he ends up really diving into, because once Bill dives into something, he really wants to make a difference.”
Allen and Gates share interests in such areas as alternative energy and brain research, and Allen said he could see them collaborating on future projects.
Keep an eye on:
- Social network site Facebook will press members to declare whether they are male or female, seeking to end the grammatical device that leads the site to refer to individual users as “they” or “themself” (Reuters)
- A Japanese mobile phone firm has halted an advertisement depicting a monkey as a political candidate after bloggers said the commercial was a racial slur against U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama (Reuters)
- News Corp. is looking at bidding for two key players in local pay-TV markets, Germany’s Premiere AG and Spain’s Digital+, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing people familiar with the situation