Yesterday Bill Gates announced his intention to leave all of his day to day activities at Microsoft within two years. The media heralded the news as the end of an era. The changing of the guard metaphor was used in numerous articles. The stock market reacted by pushing Microsoft stock up a grand total of $0.03. That’s three cents as in pennies. This left the media with no story. There was no reaction. The world yawned.
The prevailing wisdom for years was that Microsoft and Bill Gates were co-joined. They were assumed to be one and the same. This misconception is a disservice to many highly intelligent individuals that work at Microsoft. While Bill did set the vision and the direction, his impact has been waning for years. As the company grew and talent was nurtured or purchased, the company became more than Bill. The company is now a repository for some of the smartest people in business and technology. The company is well positioned to face the next era in computers.
The clean transfer of power from a companies founder to the leaders for the next generation is a rare event. It is a testament to the planning, foresight, and maturity of the old generation of leaders that it can be achieved. The true hallmark of this event is that it is happening so smoothly that the investors consider it be factored it in to the price already.
Well done Bill. Good luck to you and Melinda in your charitable work.