Bill Gates announced today that he will be stepping aside in July of 2008 to spend full time on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In an internal employee memo Bill said he wanted to announce the move 2 years in advance to allow for a smooth transition. Here is an excerpt from that memo;
Right now and for the next two years, my full-time job is here at Microsoft, and my part-time job remains the Foundation. Beginning in July 2008, I will switch that, to be full-time at the Foundation, while remaining involved with Microsoft as Chairman and an advisor on key development projects on a part-time basis.
To prepare for this change, we have a well-thought-out transition process. Again, I will continue at Microsoft full-time for the next two years, but over the course of those two years, my day-to-day responsibilities will shift to a team of incredible technical leaders who are already doing amazing things at the company.
I feel very lucky that we’ve got extraordinary technical leaders at the company, like Ray Ozzie and Craig Mundie, who can step up to assume the roles that I’ve played. I’ve known Ray for the last 20 years, and he has created some of the most important developments in the industry. Craig and I have worked together for nearly 14 years, and he’s been a technical visionary and a leader on policy throughout his career. With Ray and Craig stepping up, I feel very confident that the technical stewardship of Microsoft is in very capable hands.
There will be other organizational changes over time. Some changes were announced today. they include;
- Ray Ozzie will immediately take on Bill Gates role of Chief Software Architect.
- Craig Mundie takes the newly created position of Chief Research and Strategy Officer.
- Rick Rashid will report to Craig Mundie
- David Vaskevitch, our CTO, will report to Ray Ozzie.
I worked for Ray Ozzie at Groove Networks for several years. I have the greatest respect for him. He is a true visionary, brilliant technologist, and just a great guy. Ray will lead Microsoft in new directions, especially towards his vision of a seamless, blended client-server-services architecture.