This doesn’t mean that Bill Gates is leaving the company; he’s just reducing his role. He will stay on as chairman and he will continue to be Microsoft’s largest shareholder. But I think this is the beginning of the end.
The man who has come to define the PC revolution has decided to walk away — very slowly — from his creation. Microsoft Chairman William H. Gates III said June 15 that he will give up his day-to-day role at the company in two years to focus on giving his vast riches away through the $29 billion Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Personally, I think this is great news. I’ve long hated Bill Gates for his sleazy business practices, but I think what he’s doing with his foundation is great. If he concentrates his efforts in poverty-stricken areas of the world he can really make a difference. And that will come in handy when it’s time to answer for his crimes to the big man upstairs.
I think it’s questionable whether he can be redeemed, but I’m willing to give the guy a shot. I think his wife, Melinda, has really had a good influence on him. She may be stealing him away from the boys, but at least it’s for a good cause. His dad is quite the philanthropist as well.
It’s always nice when a filthy-rich scrooge-type realizes what it’s like to be poor, and to have virtually no chance to pull yourself up by your bootstraps because of country-wide chaos beyond your control. If Bill didn’t have access to education and enough money to enable him to pursue computers as a hobby would he have even gotten a chance to jump into the software business? I sincerely doubt it. Whenever some free-market, laissez-faire business geek says something about there being a “level playing field” I wanna puke and laugh at the same time. Only a rich person would say that.
In reality, people from poor countries (or even poor people in the U.S.) have vastly limited opportunities compared to the rich. Bill Gates’ parents, while not nearly as rich as their son, were quite well-off when they were raising Bill. Not all of us can afford to go to Harvard… or drop out of it for that matter. And Bill’s prep school tuition actually cost more than Harvard, and that prep school had a computer — a rarity in those days. Bill certainly had some advantages. But I give him credit for making the most of those advantages, something not everybody would have done.