Bill Gates To 'Transition Out' Of Microsoft Leadership

Bill Gates, the world's richest man, said June 15 he would give up the daily running of Microsoft by July, 2008 to concentrate on his foundation's work tackling health and education problems. The Microsoft co-founder wanted a two-year transition "to ensure that there is a smooth and orderly transfer of Gates' daily responsibilities." It added that Gates, 50, would continue as the company's chairman and an "advisor on key development projects" after July 2008.

"Obviously, this decision was a tough one for me to make," Gates said in a webcast. "I have one of the best jobs in the world. I love software and I love working with the creative, talented, passionate people at Microsoft."

Gates said he was applying the successful strategies from Microsoft to the foundation founded by him and his wife. "With the success of Microsoft, I have also been given the gift of great wealth," said Gates."I believe that with the gift of great wealth, comes great responsibility. A responsibility to give back to society. We have focused on global health and education; two issues that are at the crux of global needs."

Gates had already given up some responsibilities at Microsoft. He handed the chief executive's post to Steve Ballmer while retaining the title of chairman and "chief software architect."

The company announced that chief technical officer Ray Ozzie "will immediately assume the title of chief software architect and begin working side by side with Gates . . . to ensure a smooth transition." Another chief technical officer, Craig Mundie, will take the new title of chief research and strategy officer.

Microsoft's future would hinge on fostering breakthroughs in fields such as robotics, communications, and voice and image recognition, said Gates, downplaying market competition from rivals such as Google.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006

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