Bill Gates Leaves Microsoft Board

Bill Gates in Lyon in October 2019.
Bill Gates in Lyon in October 2019. JEFF PACHOUD / AFP

Microsoft announced on Friday March 13 that its co-founder Bill Gates is leaving the computer giant’s board of directors to devote more time to philanthropy.

The billionaire had already moved away from daily operations over a decade ago to get involved in his foundation, which bears his name and that of his wife, Melinda Gates.

He founded Microsoft with Paul Allen in 1975 and has been on the board of directors since 2014, after relinquishing his title as president. "It has been an immense honor and privilege to work and learn with Bill over the years.", said Satya Nadella, the boss of the group, in a statement. “Bill founded our company with the belief in the democratic power of software and a passion for solving the most pressing challenges in our society. Microsoft and the world are better because of him ”, he added.

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He codes at 13

Bill Gates grew up in Seattle with his two sisters, his father William, a lawyer, and the late mother, Mary, teacher and president of an NGO, United Way International.

Computer lover, he started coding when he was 13 years old. At 20, with the approval of his parents, he left Harvard to launch "Micro-soft" (("Soft" refers to software, in English) with his childhood friend Paul Allen. One of the reasons for the company's success is the priority given to software licenses sold to many computer manufacturers.

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With the development of the personal computer, more and more users of a machine at work or at home then become used to using Microsoft software. The Redmond group, next to Seattle, has thus become the widely dominant software giant.

Its near-monopoly led to a resounding antitrust lawsuit at the turn of the 21st century. To avoid dismantling, Microsoft had to accept several years of government surveillance.

Heading for humanitarian aid

Bill Gates gave him his place as general manager in 2000 to Steve Ballmer to devote himself to philanthropy. Then in 2014 he gave up the title of president, when Satya Nadella became the third boss of the group.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is involved on several humanitarian fronts around the world, from education to climate change. She is particularly known for her efforts in health.

"This decision is not surprising because it has been more than ten years since Gates has focused on its myriad of humanitarian initiatives worldwide.", commented Daniel Ives, analyst at Wedbush, in a note to investors.

He is a historic figure in the tech world and his legacy will be felt in Redmond for decades to come.

The World with AFP and AP


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