Thursday, June 26, 2008

Gates steps down

As of July this year, Bill Gates will be stepping down from Microsoft and will now be a chairman and advisor while increasing his foundation efforts. According to Microsoft, he will be relinquishing his daily role in the company, but this does not mean he will totally take his hand out of matters.

I think it's an opportune time for Gates to make way for new blood to head the company as it transits gradually from traditional desktop software and operating systems to cloud computing and Web 2.0 technologies. In order to do this, Microsoft has Mr Ray Ozzie, who is the chief mastermind behind recent developments such as Live Mesh and the cloud computing stuff. With his past experience on Lotus Notes, he is clearly the figure who will direct the company to slowly place less emphasis on desktop software. Now that Gates is 'leaving', he can have more liberty to grow Microsoft's internet presence without facing outright objection from Gates, because previously Gates would never have totally approved of cloud computing, since it could cannibalize major software sales such as Office. Ozzie will have the new title of Chief Software Architect.

As Gates steps down, CEO Steve Ballmer will also rise to greater power. In recent months, he has come to be known as the guy who proposed the Yahoo! acquisition, and failed. To me, he is more aggressive a business man than Gates, which is what I feel Microsoft needs to do in the face of increasing competition from companies like Google and Apple.

But more than anything, I think Gates stepping down shouldn't be viewed as a big deal, as this does not mean he has fully withdrawn from Microsoft. He's just moving on with life, and that's fine. I think there are great leaders to sustain the company, and it won't crumble anytime soon. As read on Microsoft's website, Ballmer says that "Bill and I are confident we’ve got a great team that can step up to fill his shoes and drive Microsoft innovation forward without missing a beat. "

All the best Microsoft!