After setting up one of the most lucrative firms in history and doing perhaps more than anyone for making IT the massively pervasive worldwide industry it is today, Bill Gates today steps down from the day-to-day running of Microsoft.
Gates founded Microsoft in 1975 alongside his childhood friend Paul Allen. After signing a key deal with IBM to develop MS DOS in the early eighties, he took the company public in 1986. The firm then went on to consolidate its world-beating position with Windows, Office and Xbox. The monolithic company now employs 63,000 people in more 100 countries, generating annual sales of over $40 billion.
While still retaining his title of chairman, his role going forward will chiefly be in an advisory capacity. CEO Steve Ballmer will take up the reins, supported by chief research and strategy officer Craig Mundie and chief software architect Ray Ozzie.
Gates will concentrate his time and efforts on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
“This was a hard decision for me,” Gates said upon announcing his departure. “I’m very lucky to have two passions that I feel are so important and so challenging. As I prepare for this change, I firmly believe the road ahead for Microsoft is as bright as ever.”