What will Bill do now, with the House that Gates Built?

Speculation is rife with what Gates will do after Microsoft’s new CEO is named

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I’ve always liked Mary Jo Foley.She’s got a great analytical mind, and her connections are awesome. When she puts out a new piece, it always makes me think…

Case in point – MJF recently opined about some interesting, behind the spot light issues related to Microsoft’s CEO search:

  1. No new info, despite her sources; so we still have to wait for a formal announcement
  2. The board and the company want to distance itself from Ballmer somewhat (or at least remove him from the spotlight)
  3. Gates is said to be stepping away from the role of Chairman

The world is waiting, and we want to know who is going to be the next Microsoft CEO.  While all signs currently point to Satya Nadella, no one knows for certain, and unfortunately (for him…), he and Ballmer have been pretty tight.  Being mentored by Stevie B. isn’t a bad thing.  However, I’m certain Wall Street wants a CEO bereft of and Ballmerfication, and unfortunately, in this case, being mentored by Ballmer certainly isn’t helping Nadella win the role.

However, there’s a lot of hub-bub going on behind the scenes regarding Bill Gates, former MS CEO and current Chairman of the Board of Directors.  The latest shizzle is all about Bill taking on a more prominent role at the company after the CEO transition is announced. That news is causing quite the stir.

Bill has been all about curing/preventing malaria and building a better toilet as part of the humanitarian work of the Bill and Malinda Gates Foundation.  While there may be active reports of him taking a more proactive role at MS after Ballmer’s retirement, I don’t see it happening. Gates has said repeatedly that his life’s work is his foundation, not the software company that built the fortune that enables it.  While Microsoft may power the Foundation, it’s not his driving focus. Helping humanity overcome its challenges is.

That being the case, any reports that are out there about Gates taking any kind of an active role in the fate of the software company are most likely false and nothing more than rumors. Microsoft spent a lot of time spinning Gates away from the organization as they spun Ballmer into control. Reversing that and adding a new CEO into the mix is only going to confuse everyone, including shareholders and Wall Street; and that’s exactly what Microsoft doesn’t want to do. They want to strengthen Microsoft’s stock position, not call it into question. Besides, it’s been more than six years since Bill’s been involved in Microsoft’s daily grind. I really don’t think he wants to get back into it.

What do you think? Will Bill Gates come back to Microsoft in a formal role after Steve Ballmer retires?  I’d love to hear what you think about this latest batch of rumors.  Why not join me in the discussion area, below and tell me what you think?

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