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Bill Gates Offers Microsoft 'Part-Time' Help
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cbabcock
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cbabcock,
User Rank: Strategist
1/23/2014 | 5:56:21 PM
How Microsoft got to where it is today
The fact is, it was Ballmer and Gates together who built Microsoft as a company. Somehow, they were better together than either one alone. (Someone explain that to me someday.) I had a sinking feeling about Microsoft's future as Ballmer took sole control. He has too much of a driven, competitive and short term perspective to get all the long term decisions right. At the same time I have little doubt it was Ballmere who helped convert Gate's technical insights and capabilties into a dominant business. The genius of the early Microsoft was to realize a new age was dawning and to harness the energies of thousands of independnent software developers to the Windows platform. This was more an expression of Bill Gates' programmer personality than Ballmer's business sense. Neither IBM, Digital Equipment or Sun Microsystems reached out beyond themselves in the same way in their early days. Microsoft launched the modern era of consumer computing... and is now struggling to keep up with it.  
RobPreston
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RobPreston,
User Rank: Author
1/23/2014 | 1:25:09 PM
Re: Nothing new
I'm of a mixed mind on this point--the value of having both Gates and Ballmer continuing on the Microsoft board.  They bring decades of rich experience and deep knowledge but also decades of legacy thinking. The new CEO won't need and should never get a rubber-stamp board, but he/she will need a wide berth to try some substantially new things. I think Ballmer, and Gates in particular, deserve the benefit of the doubt there. They won't be defenders of the status quo. 
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
1/23/2014 | 1:03:11 PM
Re: Gates' Legacy
Ha! You know, I had it playing in the background a while back while I was working on something, and I thought I'd caught the gist of the episode, but evidently not. I completely missed that Bill made an appearance. I still think his image transformation is notable, even if Trey Parker and Matt Stone aren't impressed. ;)

Interesting note about MS being of more pop culture importance in gaming than in PCs.
TerryB
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TerryB,
User Rank: Ninja
1/23/2014 | 12:55:10 PM
Re: Gates' Legacy
I take it you missed the South Park episode this year about the epic battle for market share of gaming between PS 4 and XBox One in Black Friday sales. I don't want to spoil it for people who may not have seen it but suffice it to say Bill makes another appearance.

I guess that says something (gaming, not computers) about where MS is today in much of mainstream.
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
1/23/2014 | 12:43:01 PM
Re: Gates' Legacy
I agree, Rob. In the late 90s, I remember watching the scene in the South Park movie in which Bill Gates is graphically shot in the head after he unsuccessfully defends Windows 98 to an Army general. At the time, the crowd cheered with approval. While South Park is irreverent as ever, I doubt that such a gag would play so well now. Some people still view Gates as competitive and cutthroat, but his philanthropic work has really cultivated a new, post-Microsoft personna. I won't be surprised if his post-Microsoft days ultimately define his legacy as much as his CEO ones.
jries921
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jries921,
User Rank: Ninja
1/23/2014 | 12:29:56 PM
Nothing new
Mr/ Gates has been a part timer at MS for the past several years; he's merely indicating that this isn't going to change.  But the notion that either Gates or Ballmer should resign from the board because their presence indicates that the new CEO won't have a free hand is ridiculous.  The job of a corporate board is to make policy, not to be a rubber stamp for the CEO.  Hence, the presence of two former CEOs on the board should be a relief to a good CEO and a check on a bad one (to misquote Benjamin Franklin).  I am under the impression that there are a lot more than 2 directors.

 

 
TomFLaSusa
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TomFLaSusa,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/23/2014 | 12:09:48 PM
Re: Gates' Legacy
Agree with "anon3887640480," -- Most of the people I talk with regarding Gates do acknowledge his philanthropic work, but connect him to MS first before they do.
Whoopty
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Whoopty,
User Rank: Ninja
1/23/2014 | 10:01:22 AM
Re: Gates' Legacy
Especially considering that he's still being talked about as a potential CEO for the company. It would probably boost confidence a lot in the company if he made a return - as unlikely as that seems. 
RobPreston
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RobPreston,
User Rank: Author
1/23/2014 | 9:34:51 AM
Gates' Legacy
It's a testament to Gates' extraordinary philanthropic work that many of us no longer think of him mainly in Microsoft terms but more so in the context of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
anon3887640480
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anon3887640480,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/22/2014 | 5:32:43 PM
Re: Get outta the way Ballmer
I have to disagree. Windows has a huge market share, we owe this to the previous CEOs. And the new Windows 8.x strategy that unifies the Desktop part with the touch part is a winner too, because we finally have productive tablets and hybrids.

 
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