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Bill Gates Rules Out a Full-time Return to Microsoft

By - Source: Sydney Morning Herald | B 70 comments

Gates has shot down rumors that he plans to make a comeback at Microsoft.

Bill Gates has ruled out the possibility of him returning to the company he founded. Gates stepped down as CEO of Microsoft in January of 2000, but remained at the company as chairman of the board and chief software architect. He announced plans to transition to part-time work in 2006, and had his last full day at the company in June of 2008. Though he remains non-executive chairman at Microsoft and continues to work there on a part-time basis, Bill is now working full-time on his philanthropic efforts at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

This week, Gates ruled out a return to Microsoft following rumors that he could be considering doing just that. Earlier this week, Fortune reported that Bill, tempted by the success of other CEOs that have done the same, could be considering a return to Microsoft after watching the company he founded "muddle along for half a decade." However, Gates has said in an Australian interview this week that his part-time status at Microsoft is not going to change and that his foundation is what he plans to do "the rest of [his] life".

"I'm part-time involved with Microsoft, including even being in touch this week to give some of my advice but that’s not going to change – the foundation requires all of my energy and we feel we’re having a great impact," he told Fairfax media, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. Gates later reiterated, "So, part-time Microsoft, but full-time Foundation for... For all my future."

Fortune sparked rumors with its report that Bill was looking at the likes of Steve Jobs and Howard Schultzman (of Starbucks) and was inspired by their returning to the companies they had founded to make things better. Do you think Microsoft would benefit if Bill Gates were to return? Let us know in the comments below!

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Top Comments
  • 37 Hide
    zorky9 , December 15, 2011 5:28 PM
    ta152hSteve Jobs did the opposite. He fought AGAINST the monopoly, ...

    I stopped there.
  • 35 Hide
    Parsian , December 15, 2011 5:05 PM
    he is operating in the background, very efficiently and with very little resource usage.
  • 29 Hide
    NightLight , December 15, 2011 5:20 PM
    he is a visionary. he has helped economy greatly. Ofcourse it would benifit the company, but the man has other interests, let him carry them out
Other Comments
  • 35 Hide
    Parsian , December 15, 2011 5:05 PM
    he is operating in the background, very efficiently and with very little resource usage.
  • 26 Hide
    house70 , December 15, 2011 5:18 PM
    Pretty much anyone would be better than Ballmer.
  • 25 Hide
    arges86 , December 15, 2011 5:19 PM
    He was one of the original 'hackers'
    Not a corporate person.
    He helped make Microsoft great, and their products worthwhile.
    If he returned, he could help get Microsoft back on top.
  • 29 Hide
    NightLight , December 15, 2011 5:20 PM
    he is a visionary. he has helped economy greatly. Ofcourse it would benifit the company, but the man has other interests, let him carry them out
  • 0 Hide
    sl83r , December 15, 2011 5:25 PM
    Yes gates needs to take the helm of Microsoft once again, Ballmer has done nothing but continuously run the company into the ground, not just financially(MS stock has been worth less ever since he took over) but also productwise(Vista, XBOX 360 RROD) all under Balllmers watch. Gates can and ould most definatly turn the company around.
  • -2 Hide
    zorky9 , December 15, 2011 5:26 PM
    MS products (except W7) have pretty much been underwhelming the past 5 years. He'd for sure help push for better ideas from a somewhat uninspired company. But I guess we're not going to see that. He's going to remain in the background.
    Either way, he's changing people's lives.
  • 25 Hide
    Anonymous , December 15, 2011 5:27 PM
    100% He is doing so much good for humanity in the Foundation. I really respect Bill Gates, he deserves it through and through.
  • 37 Hide
    zorky9 , December 15, 2011 5:28 PM
    ta152hSteve Jobs did the opposite. He fought AGAINST the monopoly, ...

    I stopped there.
  • 15 Hide
    brucen13 , December 15, 2011 5:33 PM
    All Microsoft needs to do to become better is dump Ballmer. Gates is doing fine on his own with his foundation.
  • 28 Hide
    tical2399 , December 15, 2011 5:35 PM
    ta152hComparing Bill Gates to Steve Jobs is a bad joke. Bill Gates and Microsoft thrived because IBM chose them for their intial operating system. An operating system Bill Gates and Microsoft did not even write. After that, they used the monopoly to get into other businesses, often times illegally by using monopoly power. Without their monopoly leverage, Microsoft almost invariably fails. Anyone remember Microsoft Bob? Not that Bill Gates is an idiot. He's a good business man, but a terrible visionary.Steve Jobs did the opposite. He fought AGAINST the monopoly, created products that almost invariably succeeded, created markets, and did it all without any of the leverage Microsoft had.Apple, incredibly, is worth more money than Microsoft, despite having none of the advantages Microsoft leveraged since 1981. And despite being in very bad shape in the 1990s. Does anyone doubt Steve Jobs is responsible for most of that? What product did Bill Gates create? What market did Microsoft create under his reign? Nothing. He'd keep Microsoft profitable, but they already are. He's not a visionary. He's a good, if sometimes illegal business man. But, they're doing fine from that perspective.


    Taking Unix and slapping your own coat of paint on it is not innovative or visionary. Taking mp3 players (which already existed) and slapping your own coat of paint on it is not innovative.

    Taking smart phones with touch screens (which already existed, Ericson R380) and slapping your own coat of paint on it is not innovative. Taking tablets which have been around for years is not innovative. How is Jobs any different than how you painted Gates???????
  • 28 Hide
    silentbobdc , December 15, 2011 5:42 PM
    ta152hComparing Bill Gates to Steve Jobs is a bad joke.


    I agree, Bill Gates has done a ton of good with the money he's made... donated billions to charity, Steve Jobs.... not so much. Also he designed products with function ahead of style, not the other way around.

    ta152hSteve Jobs did the opposite. He fought AGAINST the monopoly


    This is the same Steve Jobs who started the worldwide onslaught of lawsuits and has tried to gain a legislated monopoly on tablet sales using dubious patents and photoshopped evidence. Please pull you head our of your A$$ before you type cause the gibberish you just entered makes no sense.
  • 18 Hide
    madooo12 , December 15, 2011 5:44 PM
    moricon100% He is doing so much good for humanity in the Foundation. I really respect Bill Gates, he deserves it through and through.

    yes he's better than jobs, the cheapest person ever
  • 23 Hide
    Anonymous , December 15, 2011 5:45 PM
    Wow; people seem to have totally forgotten that when apple was on the verge of death, it was bill gates that saved Steve Jobs and his company: http://www.wired.com/thisdayintech/2009/08/dayintech_0806/. Not only did Bill Gates decide to save Apple by investing a huge amount of money into the company, but it also decided to help it by releasing MS Office for the Macintosh. Steve Jobs says at the time, "microsoft is going to be part of the game for us, as we recover the company".
  • 21 Hide
    madooo12 , December 15, 2011 5:46 PM
    silentbobdcI agree, Bill Gates has done a ton of good with the money he's made... donated billions to charity, Steve Jobs.... not so much. Also he designed products with function ahead of style, not the other way around. This is the same Steve Jobs who started the worldwide onslaught of lawsuits and has tried to gain a legislated monopoly on tablet sales using dubious patents and photoshopped evidence. Please pull you head our of your A$$ before you type cause the gibberish you just entered makes no sense.

    don't forget he wanted to spend each penny of apple's billions to destroy android
  • 18 Hide
    madooo12 , December 15, 2011 5:50 PM
    another thing, bill gates always had nice things to say about steve but steve had the opposite, he called him unimaginative and stuff like that i don't remember
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