By now you’ve seen the news here, here, and here. Bill Gates has left the building.
Well, sort of. He’s still the Chairman, and he’ll still be involved in a number of special projects, such as fixing that whole Live Search thing. What is interesting is the media focus on the company itself – what will change, how will employees react, what will happen to the stock? Well, I think it an be safely said that absolutely nothing has happened. Today – the Monday after – was a regular day like any other day. Most managers are busy prepping for end of year calibration and reviews, and closing out FY08 commitments, planning for FY09. I participated in one of the viewing parties for Bill’s final employee town hall (I was in Redwest, my home away from home). It was an emotional, feel good event. But so what. Back to business. From the Seattle Times:
In a corporate world where changes at the top can spiral into tumultuous power struggles, Bill Gates’ gradual exit has been a case study in deliberate succession planning.
Though the 52-year-old Microsoft chairman was publicly contemplating the end of his Microsoft career in 1997, the change started in earnest in 2000 when he handed off the chief-executive title to longtime friend and colleague Steve Ballmer. Then on June 16, 2006, Gates announced a two-year transition that culminated with his last day as a full-time blue badge Friday.
The highlight, of course, was Bill’s ‘Last Day at Microsoft’ video:
Video: Bill Gates – Last day at Microsoft – CES 2008
No matter what you think about Microsoft’s products, the man is a business and technology legend, and I am grateful for the company he created – both for the job I have today, and for the technology field in which I work. It’s the end of an era. I’m excited to see what comes next.