On June 15, 2006, Bill Gates shocked the business world by announcing a two-year transition plan that put a firm date on his retirement from day-to-day responsibilities at the company he founded 32 years ago. At the time, Gates abruptly passed his technical planning responsibilities to two top lieutenants, Ray Ozzie and Craig Mundie.
Gates is now halfway into that transition and the remaining months are ticking away. At the end of June 2008, Gates will turn over what remains of his daily grind at Microsoft and devote his full attention to philanthropy at The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He will continue to serve as Microsoft's chairman and adviser on special development projects.
How will Gates be remembered for his contributions to the computer industry? He means many things to many people, a complex figure we've witnessed grow from a lanky 20-year-old software entrepreneur to a powerful businessman with world-changing ambitions. It's impossible to know how history will portray Microsoft's mastermind 100 years from now; the arrows are pointing in two very different directions.
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