Goodbye and Hello Bill!

In our last interview, Bill Gates told me there was still a ways to go on empowering teh office worker with better technology

Bill Gates may be slowing down at Microsoft, but his passion for future technology will still command attention.

After our last meeting at the second-gen Media Centre PC launch  in Los Angeles, Bill Gates. left, said there was still a lot of work to be done to make the office worker more efficient. Even the Tablet PC we talked about during the interview is still considered ahead of its time by many.




Next week, Bill Gates officially becomes a part-time Microsoft employee. As announced two years ago, the co-founder of Microsoft is relinquishing his daily work chores to devote his energies to philanthropy.

He will still keep his company chairmanship and focus on future technology concepts, like different ways of communicating with computers – beyond the traditional mouse and keyboard. You will hear a lot from Bill on Touch Wall Computing and Speech Recognition, the kind that will be as accurate as typing. 

Bill had much to do with the stylus-driven Tablet PC and the Media Centre PC (concepts he spearheaded when he was thinking of new tech ideas for his new home) which were ahead of their time, even today. He won’t have to worry much about the business side of Microsoft – the relentless drive to keep the software licensing cash cow going, something the likes of Steve Ballmer can look after.

Although Bill said he will focus his energy on his philanthropy endeavors, I guarantee you his propeller hat will never stop spinning.

The man is driven to innovate 24/7, admitting to being so focused on work that he sometimes inadvertently drove to Microsoft campus instead of dropping his kids off to school.

His “why not” driven personality will be missed at Microsoft campus.

What will not be missed by many, is the dreaded BillG Review. That’s where new company projects where presented to Bill, sliced up and dissected every which way and either passed or failed.

Now, more civil-like review committees are set up to follow up on Microsoft projects.

I will miss Bill. He was the only Microsoft exec that could comfortably talk about the entire company. A company so big and diversified that no one person will be able to fill his shoes, with all due respect to Steve Ballmer and chief software architect Ray Ozzie.

I have interviewed him three times – on the Windows XP and Tablet PC launch in New York and the second-gen Media Centre PC launch in Los Angeles. Sure, he could switch topics on the fly, but his passion has always been the future of computing.

Bill’s absence from the daily goings on at Microsoft will align the software giant with a more non-patriarchal style of management, considered by many industry observers long overdue. In other words, the new mature Microsoft won’t resemble a family business anymore.

Although Bill talks about focusing on next-gen computing human interfaces, I wouldn’t be surprised if we hear him talk about other new technologies too. After my last interview with him he said there was still a ways to go on empowering the office worker.

I am sure we will be hearing more from the one-man think tank that went beyond bringing a computer to every desk. And according to some Microsoft insiders I recently talked too, his relentless e-mails may never stop. After all, he is only slowing down to part-time work.

Welcome back Bill!


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