The news that Bill Gates will be a part-time Microsoft employee is not really so new; it was announced two years ago and it has been everywhere. But it is hard to believe the day has really arrived. For Bill today is a new milestone in his career as he starts to focus on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. For Microsoft today marks a new chapter, or in a software release term, Microsoft 2.0. Bill said jokingly at a company meeting that people were trying to find out when he’d leave his office, 4pm or 5pm so that they could start renovating his office. The truth is, so many people will miss his presence dearly. Due to a customer meeting I had to miss the second half of the company meeting. When I read an MSNBC article “Bill Gates Bids Farewell with Tears“, I just wish I was there to witness that experience first hand.
To some people Bill may be synonymous to the richest guy in the world. But to many others, including myself, Bill is an icon of software and IT technology that has changed the world for better forever. He is an icon of our generation, and perhaps many generations after. Before I joined Microsoft, the notion of working for Bill and his company was so noble. After seven years I find that feeling remains so true and so strong. Our CEO Steve Ballmer perhaps has said it all for all of us, “We’ve been given an enormous, enormous opportunity. And Bill gave us that opportunity. I want to thank Bill for that.”