Bill Gates Rules Out a Full-time Return to 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!

  • Parsian
    he is operating in the background, very efficiently and with very little resource usage.
  • house70
    Pretty much anyone would be better than Ballmer.
  • arges86
    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.
  • NightLight
    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
  • Dont really see Bill having much of a impact. Microsoft lacks the hipster cult following from the youth that Apple or even starbucks have enjoyed.
  • ta152h
    Comparing Bill Gates to Steve Jobs is a bad joke.

    Bill Gates and Microsoft thrived because IBM chose them for their initial 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.
  • sl83r
    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.
  • zorky9
    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.
  • 100% He is doing so much good for humanity in the Foundation. I really respect Bill Gates, he deserves it through and through.
  • zorky9
    ta152hSteve Jobs did the opposite. He fought AGAINST the monopoly, ...I stopped there.