In 1975, Bill Gates, post dropping out of Harvard, joined his childhood friend Paul Allen who was also his technology collaborator to create a company called Microsoft – the company which needs no introduction nowadays as it undisputedly dominates the personal computing space. Today, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is one of the biggest tech behemoths that spearheads technological revolution around the world.
Now, after 44 glorious years, Microsoft is all set to bid adieu to its frontman and co-founder Bill Gates as he has reportedly decided to step down from the Board of Directors of the company therefore truly marking the end of an era.
Though quite abrupt, this news didn’t really come off as shocking to a lot of people who have been closely monitoring Gates for a very long time. It has been observed that he had been taking small baby steps to gradually stepping away completely from the company from the past 12 years. In 2008, Gates gave up his day-to-day role at the company and quit as the board’s chairman after early 2014.
It was made known by Mr Gates that he would also be stepping down from the board of Berkshire Hathaway along with that of his company on Friday.
“I have made the decision to step down from both of the public boards on which I serve — Microsoft and Berkshire Hathaway — to dedicate more time to philanthropic priorities including global health and development, education, and my increasing engagement in tackling climate change,” Mr Gates wrote in a LinkedIn post
He further went on to add that he believes that Microsoft will always be a very crucial and important part of his life’s work and that he would certainly continue to be engaged in shaping the future of the company by collaborating with Satya Nadella to help the company achieve its goals and ambitions.
According to FactSet, as of December, Gates has reportedly held more than 100 million shares (which accounts for roughly 1.3% of the company’s total shares) of Microsoft, making him one of the largest individual shareholders of the company. As of today, his stakes in Microsoft is worth $15.6 billion.
Microsoft, in a press release, has revealed that Gates would hold the position of a technical adviser to the company post stepping down from the Board of Directors. It has also mentioned that the company, which is now under the leadership of the current Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella, is now undergoing a big technological reformatory period.
Back in the year 2000, Steve Ballmer who was the college classmate of Bill Gates was appointed as the Chief Executive Officer of Microsoft by Gates after he stepped down. Microsoft with Ballmer as its new CEO went through a lot of turmoils with the failed Zune (iPod alternative) launch, Surface tablets, the Vista version of the Windows, and most importantly the acquisition of Nokia which the company failed to capitalised to create a market for Windows Phone. However, since 2014 as Nadella took charge of the company’s leadership as the CEO, Microsoft has been moving to a more secure and promising direction. Nadella has massively helped grow Azure, the cloud segment offering of Microsoft together with the company’s augmented-reality offerings.
The news of Gates stepping down comes after few weeks of similar action that was undertaken by the co-founders of Google Larry Page and Sergey Brin who stepped down as well after handing over their company Alphabet’s leadership to Sundar Pichai.
Way Forward For Microsoft And Bill Gates
Microsoft has now long been going strong under the leadership of its current CEO Satya Nadella and therefore it will continue to do so by seeking to break new technological barriers and achieve more ambitious goals.
As for Bill Gates who is now 64, he will undoubtedly dedicate most of his time to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. His departure from the company can also be tied to his foundation’s objective to tend to the needs of world healthcare as we are in the wake of the deadly outbreak of the coronavirus. It was recently announced by the foundation this week that it has been working on a plan to supply coronavirus test kits in coordination with Amazon Care to homes in Seattle near the headquarters of Microsoft in Redmond, Washington.