Bill Gates' rep denies he is returning full time to Microsoft

Bill Gates has been working mostly on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for the past few years. However, a new rumor that hit the Internet today claimed the co-founder and current Chairman of Microsoft is at least thinking about returning to the company on a full time basis. That story has been quickly denied by one of his representatives.

Fortune first reported on the rumor which said that the source of the story was an unnamed "prominent chief executive" who claimed that he heard that Gates is considering a return to Microsoft from someone close to Gates.

Admittedly, the story uses some pretty flimsy evidence to support it. It's also not unknown for a head of a major tech company to leave and then return. But in this case, Bill Gates returning to Microsoft is not in the cards. AllThingsD.com reports that Larry Cohen, Gates’s chief of staff, has officially denied that Gates is thinking about such a move.

It's also important to realize that while Gates may not be in in his office at Microsoft every day (he officially stopped working full time in June 2008), he still works part time at the company and still has an influence over Microsoft's business. Indeed, Gates himself admitted that he was a big supporter of Microsoft's $8.5 billion acquisition of Skype earlier this year. He stated at the time, "I was a strong proponent at the board level for the deal being done."

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Personally like Mary Jo Foley said, I preferred the MS culture under Gates - more geeky, less suits. Microsoft really needs someone geeky like him to prevent products from getting overly dumbed down.

I think MS has been doing better (product quality wise) ever since he left. Gates is a great business person but his departure gave way for more talented people to take the center stage in development.

John, have you ever posted an article that didn't include the word "admit"? There's two instances in this 4-paragraph piece.

Please look up what it means. Then get a thesaurus.

It's a shame the Microsoft name alone keeps many people from wanting to see them do well, Gates or no Gates. If only there was some way a bunch of Microsoft employees could flock together under a different banner and have essentially the same work ethic without the Microsoft stigma...

...oh wait, they did. At Google.

I say that he should stay where he is. MS is a well oiled machine currently and no changes are necessary.

bill is doing fine with his charity work and building clean nuclear reactors for china. thank you very much.

It's also not unknown for a head of a major tech company to leave and then return.

It's mentioned in the article, although not by name.

Dear Bill Gates:

Come back as a full time being the CEO of Microsoft and bring the company back to its glorious days. Microsoft needs a real visionary to bring innovative products to the market. Being the coolness factor back to Microsoft.

From Taylor Estienne

"A Windows + Mac user"

Why do we all want these old hats back in the driver's seat? Apple made technology fashionable before any other company even came close and that's why they sell so well. We need somebody young and charismatic to run these companies. In both looks and personality, I am a perfect mix of Ballmer and Allen and I'd be scared if somebody appointed me to run anything that big. Most things that come out of Microsoft these days are not unlike Detroit's concept cars. Amazing, unique, ahead of their time, never produced.

Crand said,
Why do we all want these old hats back in the driver's seat? Apple made technology fashionable before any other company even came close and that's why they sell so well. We need somebody young and charismatic to run these companies. In both looks and personality, I am a perfect mix of Ballmer and Allen and I'd be scared if somebody appointed me to run anything that big. Most things that come out of Microsoft these days are not unlike Detroit's concept cars. Amazing, unique, ahead of their time, never produced.

But Apple products get dull real fast since they sells the same thing year over year. Ever thought about that?

Estienne Taylor said,

But Apple products get dull real fast since they sells the same thing year over year. Ever thought about that?


I like Gates and his philanthropic moves, but I don't think he should be back in charge of Microsoft. He was ruthless in abusing the power of Microsoft's position so I'm certain if he were in charge we wouldn't have the open Microsoft we have now.

Frazell Thomas said,
I like Gates and his philanthropic moves, but I don't think he should be back in charge of Microsoft. He was ruthless in abusing the power of Microsoft's position so I'm certain if he were in charge we wouldn't have the open Microsoft we have now.

I agree with you, Bill at the helm is bad for industry. Competition is good, back in the mid 90's and early 00's Microsoft had no competition because they crushed or bought it. However, with competitors like Apple, Google, Various Cloud Services, etc we have many options that use to not be available. Don't get me wrong I think Microsoft is a great company but I rather see them on the ropes at times, rather then knock everyone out in one punch.

Boojiboy said,

I agree with you, Bill at the helm is bad for industry. Competition is good, back in the mid 90's and early 00's Microsoft had no competition because they crushed or bought it. However, with competitors like Apple, Google, Various Cloud Services, etc we have many options that use to not be available. Don't get me wrong I think Microsoft is a great company but I rather see them on the ropes at times, rather then knock everyone out in one punch.

The irony is that a ton of the stuff Microsoft was trying to strong-arm the industry into moving toward is stuff that it moved toward eventually anyway.

A web-based active content desktop was a major goal with Windows 98 and received a ton of criticism from competing browsers who, frankly, were probably more upset that MS made the exact same move they wanted to (Netscape had hush-hush plans for a browser-as-OS back in the late-90s). It wasn't executed very well, but the 'anti-competitive' act of making a free web browser--and putting it in the hands of every Windows user, rather than hiding it on the still-young web where it might never be noticed--ushered in the last ten years of open browsers and open standards (because free and open is the only way to compete with free and proprietary).

Bill at the helm gave us a Microsoft that the industry could REACT to, and react it did. Personal computing changed rapidly when it was constantly being upset by 'anti-competitive' interests, and stagnated miserably afterwards, until presented with the chance to reinvent itself (mobile).

But even mobile is dull now. All that's even remotely 'exciting' is cloud related, with cloud storage, cloud syncing, cloud music delivery, etc. All back-end stuff, which is really only exciting to the enthusiast, because to the average user, cloud is transparent.

Nope. I look forward to our next era of monopolized technology. I swear it's the only time anything ever gets done.

TruckWEB said,
Bill had a vision, something Balmer lack terribly....

Gates generally approves of Steve's moves, and Steve defers to Gates' advice more often than people realize.

It wasn't too long ago that it came out about the death of the Courier being more a Gates move than a Ballmer one.

The hurdle Microsoft needs to get past at this point is its existing customer base, and the frustrating stubbornness of enterprise users.

TruckWEB said,
Bill had a vision, something Balmer lack terribly....

It's hard to have a vision in a software company if you aren't a designer. Ballmer is a salesman, not a software designer. Both Bill Gates and Steve Sinofsky are actual engineers. Let Ballmer step aside, and focus on selling what's been envisioned. Don't let him envision the stuff himself.

Neobond said,
Can see it happening only if Windows 8 bombs.

Windows 8 will bomb so you may get your wish. People with laptops and desktops are not really going to want a WP7 touch OS that isn't really made for a mouse. I am boycotting.

Randall_Lind said,

Windows 8 will bomb so you may get your wish. People with laptops and desktops are not really going to want a WP7 touch OS that isn't really made for a mouse. I am boycotting.

You already know you are boycotting based on your experience with a pre-Beta build! That makes sense!

yardmanflex said,

you sir is an idiot!

so someone is an idiot because they have an opinion? lots of people do think touch UI on a desktop isn't a good idea, and lots do....

neufuse said,

so someone is an idiot because they have an opinion? lots of people do think touch UI on a desktop isn't a good idea, and lots do....

Windows won't have a touch UI for desktops. They will have the current UI. The touch UI is for the tablets. So, 2 UIs 1 windows.

Because the pre-beta was intended for tablets it was intentionally made a bit difficult to make it a desktop OS, which actually is possible with a few tricks.

AtriusNY said,

Windows won't have a touch UI for desktops. They will have the current UI. The touch UI is for the tablets. So, 2 UIs 1 windows.

Read what Microsoft said: The "Immersive UI" is the default UI for Windows, not only for tablet versions…

neufuse said,

so someone is an idiot because they have an opinion?


No, but he stated his opinion as fact. Note how he said "Windows 8 will bomb ".

BigBoy said,

You already know you are boycotting based on your experience with a pre-Beta build! That makes sense!


It's enough to speak for the general idea of the OS, and the concept behind it. And the general idea is that Metro is where Microsoft is putting their energy.