Bill Gates reveals what he will be doing at Microsoft in his new role

Bill Gates has taken to Reddit once again to partake in the site's AMA (Ask me Anything) and one user, ok it was my question, asked Bill what his new role at Microsoft would include.

Microsoft's founder took on a new role at Microsoft as an advisor to Satya Nadella, the company's new CEO, and stepped down from his role as chairman of the board after Steve Ballmer retired.

Bill responded to this question (and a few others) by saying that:

I make sure we pick ambitious scenarios and that we have a strong architecture to deliver on them. I encourage good work (hopefully).

I am excited about how the cloud and new devices can help us communicate and collaborate in new ways. The OS won't just be on one device and the information won't just be files - it will be your history including being able to review memories of things like kids growing up. I was thrilled Satya asked me to pitch in to make sure Microsoft is ambitious with its innovation. Even in Office there is a lot more than can be done.

My time will be about 2/3 Foundation and 1/3 Microsoft. I will focus on product work mostly.

We're all curious to see how much of an impact Bill has at Microsoft. In his new role and with a new board in place, Microsoft is different beast than it was a year ago. A new CEO and a new chairman of the board can go a long way to changing the internal mantra at a company and with Gates in a new, and more interactive role, Microsoft is once again on the move.

With more time at Microsoft, or at least, it appears more time as we don’t have an accurate calculation of how much time Bill was on-site in his previous role, those who screamed for Bill to re-take his role as CEO may finally hush up. More so, with the co-founder more involved at the ground level, it could provide new avenues for motivation within the company.

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derekaw said,
He is there to keep the shareholders happy.

I know I would be more comfortable purchasing MS stock once that Bill is more involved.

Oddly Balmer did more than anyone making the books better.

MS is soo much more profitable than in 2001 when Gates left today.

However the pull MS had is gone. It will be hard for Bill to just come back in easily and win by the same tactics. IBM handed MS the monopoly. Today, Apple and Google are major players. OEM's are being more interested in Android. Gates fear of the web taking over the desktop has come true. With internet apps and clouds why try to stick to win32?

Windows is DONE as a platform now outside the corporate offices which in turn are starting to open to more alternatives. Office is all that is left and PDFs are now going to take over as the preferred document soon. When this happens LibreOffice and others can be taken more seriously. Then it is over for MS.

What does Bill plan to do with these challenges? It is a difficult proposition. Only corporate apps are win32 and a few specialized games. Everything is an applet on a phone or a website instead of a cdrom based thing on a desktop unlike 12 years ago.

TRANSLATION: I want to see Microsoft BOB, Windows ME, The Microsoft Network and everything I else that came on my watch come back..... LOL, I am just kidding.

Seriously, ....

Bill should just stay retired so he won't tarnish his legacy.

When Bill was running the show, Microsoft was the only tech software company around that really mattered because they controlled the OS (Operating System) space in the industry. I know Apple was around too, but Steve Jobs was a horrible business man who thought IBM was his company's arch rival when it was really Microsoft.

For all those who think Bill will make a difference, i doubt it. Yesteryear, he did not have a Google to contend with. If I am not mistaken Google's Android is the #1 OS used in the world today and it's creeping into a desktop OS space that is fading.

Let's also not forget one thing about Bill Gates' leadership back in the day. He was very well known to RUSH things as he was content to release Windows to the public even though it was not ready. Windows' reputation for being wholly unreliable, BoD, viruses, random crashes came under Gates' watch.

I'll give one thing to Bill, he was able to recognize early on the importance of the web particularly the browser. The only problem with that is, he didn't innovate it. Rather he squeezed Netscape out of business by using the Windows' monopoly and therefore trying to create standards to which could control and benefit. Well, it's not going to be easy this time because Microsoft does not control web standards.

Seriously, Bill Gates has any idea what he's being called to do at Microsoft. I think he's just going to be used as a figurehead.

VictorWho said,
TRANSLATION: I want to see Microsoft BOB, Windows ME, The Microsoft Network and everything I else that came on my watch come back..... LOL, I am just kidding.

Seriously, ....

Bill should just stay retired so he won't tarnish his legacy.

When Bill was running the show, Microsoft was the only tech software company around that really mattered because they controlled the OS (Operating System) space in the industry. I know Apple was around too, but Steve Jobs was a horrible business man who thought IBM was his company's arch rival when it was really Microsoft.

For all those who think Bill will make a difference, i doubt it. Yesteryear, he did not have a Google to contend with. If I am not mistaken Google's Android is the #1 OS used in the world today and it's creeping into a desktop OS space that is fading.

Let's also not forget one thing about Bill Gates' leadership back in the day. He was very well known to RUSH things as he was content to release Windows to the public even though it was not ready. Windows' reputation for being wholly unreliable, BoD, viruses, random crashes came under Gates' watch.

I'll give one thing to Bill, he was able to recognize early on the importance of the web particularly the browser. The only problem with that is, he didn't innovate it. Rather he squeezed Netscape out of business by using the Windows' monopoly and therefore trying to create standards to which could control and benefit. Well, it's not going to be easy this time because Microsoft does not control web standards.

Seriously, Bill Gates has any idea what he's being called to do at Microsoft. I think he's just going to be used as a figurehead.

You mean how he created a software monopoly overnight and took the crown from IBM? You mean how Ms came about from a no name language maker for the Apple II and TSR-80's to a business critical infrastructure?

Gates talked about the iphone back in 1995 with the road ahead and had a drawing with his WalletPC which included GPS, gyroscopes, and other things. Only thing is it lacked cell phone service.

If Gates were CEO the iPhone never would have happened like it was and WindowsCE would have morphed into Windows Phone like today many years earlier. Gates even said the iPOD will die down in a few years as people switch to phones.

Balmer could not turn ideas into products. Gates could! So did Steve Jobs. With Gates talking a more active role I imagine more things will come into fruitation without Apple and Google making them into a finished product first.

VictorWho said,

I'll give one thing to Bill, he was able to recognize early on the importance of the web particularly the browser. The only problem with that is, he didn't innovate it. Rather he squeezed Netscape out of business by using the Window...

Ahem! Give credit where credit is due. IE gave us lot's of innovations, including the DOM, innerHTML, bubbling events (+ contextmenu, mouseenter), iframe, ajax, first css impl, first xml proc impl, filters (transforms, shadows, rotating, gradients, blur), drag 'n' drop, contenteditable, VML, clipboard, word-wrap, overflow-x and -y. They got the box model right (which of course was wrong), and it's what bootstrap uses now in its grid css. MS also donated the core fonts to the web: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Core_fonts_for_the_Web

These things are just now getting standardized with html5 and css3...

Gawd IE 6 is such a crappy browser.

Sadly it was better than Netscape which speaks mountains of the horrors of early browsers. True IE 6 was the most advanced browser in 2001 it was reviled by many because of unethical business practices and the fear Microsoft would kill the web and force their (then) crappy OS onto the world and lock us back in.

MS today is much better which I would not be here otherwise. IE 6 lasted so long and killed so much innovation as that nightmare never went away. Infact CSS 2.1 never was used because by the time IE 6 didn't matter HTML 5 was already out.

What about cloud synchromization of files, apps, and profiles? This is what I want to see next!

The reason why XP refuses to die and corporations are afraid to death of change is because it is a hassle to move files, profiles, test apps, when getting a new pc or doing a reimage.

You can upgrade the OS with a flip of a switch If there was a simple way to backup files without dealing with Outlook .ost, .pst, gigs of files, and app reinstallations via a Windows Store.

The phone is lightyears ahead of the desktop in this area and answers the question why users need to upgrade their phones every 2 years but freak out if they upgrade every 10 years for their pcs.

I'm super excited to see Bill outside of the board and back with the tech guys. Off course, nobody expects a Gates come back, but truth be told, it does more good for the company to have him on the product and trenches side of Microsoft than on the board of directors just giving a nod or nay to whatever the CEO says.

plus there is the moral boost for the troops to see their old great leader return to the seat. Let's not forget how Gates single handedly beat IBM to a pulp which many considered invincible at the time. How bloated google/apple with their baggage and hubris must look today to a humbled Microsoft that is circling around for an opportunity like a shark. Gates is a shark, maybe a an old shark but he really just has to point the direction and let Satya follow.

mock him all you want, maybe he won't really do that much and concentrate on things that matter like hunger and disease, but don't kid yourself if you think this man hasn't faced bigger challenges. he gets it. I doubt Steve Ballmer would have allowed him to meddle this much, but Satya invited him. The respect Gates commands isn't fictitious. He's earned it, which is a lot more than can be said about all start CEOs which fizzed out while his name remains right up there with Jobs among the greatest.

neonspark said,
I'm super excited to see Bill outside of the board and back with the tech guys. Off course, nobody expects a Gates come back, but truth be told, it does more good for the company to have him on the product and trenches side of Microsoft than on the board of directors just giving a nod or nay to whatever the CEO says.

plus there is the moral boost for the troops to see their old great leader return to the seat. Let's not forget how Gates single handedly beat IBM to a pulp which many considered invincible at the time. How bloated google/apple with their baggage and hubris must look today to a humbled Microsoft that is circling around for an opportunity like a shark. Gates is a shark, maybe a an old shark but he really just has to point the direction and let Satya follow.

mock him all you want, maybe he won't really do that much and concentrate on things that matter like hunger and disease, but don't kid yourself if you think this man hasn't faced bigger challenges. he gets it. I doubt Steve Ballmer would have allowed him to meddle this much, but Satya invited him. The respect Gates commands isn't fictitious. He's earned it, which is a lot more than can be said about all start CEOs which fizzed out while his name remains right up there with Jobs among the greatest.

A couple of things:

1. How did he beat IBM? He partnered with them when it came to MS-DOS and Windows.

2. Bill Gates is not a product genius. Were you even alive in the 80's and 90's? Windows used to crash alot. The term "Blue Screen of Death" came about, under Bill's watch. Bill tried to get into the Online Service business with The Microsoft Network and failed. He was "beaten to a pulp" by Steve Case and America Online.

He gets it? Maybe, but he just doesn't know how to "do it."

1: IBM saw absolutely no future in home computing, Microsoft did. And because of that Microsoft has surpassed IBM. The times before Microsoft, Apple and such. IBM dominated the computer world. Who dominates them now? And under who's "rule" was Microsoft when they took over?

2: Windows, even 3.11 could be very stable. I for one rarely had issues with ME, pick proper hardware and drivers. Not use Hewlett-Packard or Compaqs helps a lot.

Windows 3.x and especially Windows 95 brought easy and affordable computing to the masses. As for the crashing, most common operating systems at the time had stability issues (DOS, Mac OS, even OS/2).

Hello,


Even in Office there is a lot more than can be done.

But why do more? Yeah, I know we would all be still living in caves but....Office? Word? Come on.

The only thing is bug fixing; Today IMAP was so hell to setup with folders, that I ended up saying F it and going to POP3. Its a wide issue in Outlook 2013.

If they didn't do more, then Office wouldn't be the king of them all like it is today. That's his job, to ensure new innovative ideas and to have more involvement in the actual product development. Based on the rumours of O16 and Cortana integration it's going to be epic!

Plus - what was the issue with IMAP? That would most likely be a service provider issue not a Outlook issue. I'm able to connect to all my IMAP accounts (from various providers) fine with no issues in Outlook 2013. You should check with your provider. A common issue I see with some clients is the email provider doesn't support IMAP or you have to look for manual loopholes to add it.

Hello,

j2006 said,

Plus - what was the issue with IMAP? That would most likely be a service provider issue not a Outlook issue. I'm able to connect to all my IMAP accounts (from various providers) fine with no issues in Outlook 2013. You should check with your provider. A common issue I see with some clients is the email provider doesn't support IMAP or you have to look for manual loopholes to add it.

Then A LOT of email providers have issues. I was looking to fix it and saw several places comment that while it works perfectly in Thunderbird, it doesnt work in Outlook 2013. Its clearly a Outlook 2013 issue.

riahc3 said,
Today IMAP was so hell to setup with folders, that I ended up saying F it and going to POP3. Its a wide issue in Outlook 2013.

After having just used IMAP to migrate from Notes to GMail, I can tell you it's a protocol thing when it comes to folders, not a client thing.

It's an Outlook issue. IMAP has improved a lot in Outlook 2013 but there are still too many things wrong with it. I have issues with messages still showing on the server after they have been deleted or moved in Outlook using custom rules. Happens on multiple services. Doesn't happen with any other clients (Thunderbird, Windows Live Mail, Apple Mail, etc.). How is it not an Outlook issue?

I've gone back to POP3 as well but I'll try IMAP again when the next iteration comes along.

Albert said,
translation - i have no idea whatsoever why i am back in microsoft.

Translation: I'm two years old and who is Bill Gates?

He clearly knows what he's doing... he's ADVISING on their technological innovations to ensure Microsoft still meets their vision while being able to do a lot more so it becomes natural to the user. He obviously doesn't have as much say anymore, but the fact that he's an official advisor is a great thing for the company where he can have more involvement in the actual product/service development rather than just the business in general.

I make sure we pick ambitious scenarios and that we have a strong architecture to deliver on them. I encourage good work

j2006 said,
he's ADVISING on their technological innovations to ensure Microsoft still meets their vision while being able to do a lot more so it becomes natural to the user.

Somehow I'm none the wiser about what exactly he'll be doing at Microsoft after reading both your and Bill's answer...

CJEric said,
Somehow I'm none the wiser about what exactly he'll be doing at Microsoft after reading both your and Bill's answer...

He's teaching Satya the Kool-Aid recipe.

Was it really that hard?

Albert said,
translation - i have no idea whatsoever why i am back in microsoft.

given he is the richest man in software ever to exist, you'd be wise to let him figure out his role. Whatever minor, he'll contribute more than most people will in their lifetimes.

neonspark said,

given he is the richest man in software ever to exist, you'd be wise to let him figure out his role. Whatever minor, he'll contribute more than most people will in their lifetimes.

He already has [contributed more than most in their lifetime], the name Microsoft should be blatant enough. There is NO other OS with the market share like Windows has, none. To me, that IS the most anyone could ever do (to be THAT dominant). I am very glad he is back, keep MS on track and keep winning vs these other wannabe OS makers. Also keeps competition fresh, in the hopes that maybe, just maybe someday we will get a comparable OS to compete with the likes of Windows.

Albert said,
translation - i have no idea whatsoever why i am back in microsoft.

Seems rather clear to me. Gates is going to walk around MS, talk to innovators, discuss his findings with the new CEO and help stimulate innovation at MS.

The fact that he is walking around MS and working with MS employees to achieve a common goal will help create stronger internal culture. Even if Gates his ideas are **** this alone will help stimute innovation.

Ronnet said,
The fact that he is walking around MS and working with MS employees to achieve a common goal will help create stronger internal culture. Even if Gates his ideas are **** this alone will help stimute innovation.
Yes, it ought to especially help motivate people/teams who were in hibernation mode awaiting a new CEO and those who were backing other internal candidates.