Bill Gates Logs Off Microsoft Office

SEATTLE — Bill Gates, a technological pioneer, notable philanthropist and one of the richest people in the world, leaves his post at Microsoft for good on Friday.

Bill Gates is ending his tenure as ultimate boss of Microsoft to devote full time to his enormous charitable foundation. Instead of working to solve problems in the information technology business, he’ll be working to solve the world’s health problems.

Since Microsoft’s start in 1975, Gates has piled nearly all its hats on his head: genius programmer, technology guru, primary decision maker and ruthless leader. Analysts and scholars credit him with changing software into a money-making enterprise, rather than a pastime for hobbyists.

According to an annual list
compiled by Forbes magazine, Bill Gates was the richest person in the world for 13 years running before Warrant Buffet knocked his “friend and sometimes bridge partner” from the top spot earlier this year. Gates actually fell to number three on the list in 2008 with his measly $58 billion balance, landing behind Buffet and Mexican telecom mogul Carlos Slim Helu.

In recent years, Gates has been devoting more and more time to The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
, a charitable organization with a stated goal “to help reduce inequities in the United States and around the world” based on a belief that “every life has equal value.”

Their charity work has gotten so extensive and effective that the Gates – along with U2’s Bono – were named Time Magazine’s People of the Year
in 2005, dubbed the Good Samaritans.  

“For being shrewd about doing good, for rewiring politics and re-engineering justice, for making mercy smarter and hope strategic and then daring the rest of us to follow, Bill and Melinda Gates and Bono are Time’s Persons of the Year,” the magazine wrote when announcing their decision.

Now, as Gates leaves his Microsoft post for the last time, he sets out to find worthy recipients for his $58 billion empire. For Microsoft, the challenge come Monday morning will be how to deal with problems even Gates couldn’t solve, including competition with Google.

Recent remarks indicate the company won’t even try to find a replacement for Gates but will divide his functions among whole groups of employees.