Report: Microsoft board discussing replacing Bill Gates as chairman

Hot on the heels on rumors that Microsoft may name its new CEO sometime in the next week, a new story from Bloomberg claims that the company's board of directors is also in discussions on replacing company co-founder and former CEO Bill Gates as chairman.

The story, citing unnamed sources, claims that Microsoft’s lead independent director John Thompson could succeed Gates as chairman. However, the report adds that Gates will still have an active role in Microsoft's business. While he has said repeatedly he has no plans to return to Microsoft on a full time basis, Gates has indicated he will be highly involved with helping whomever the company picked as its new leader. Bloomberg also repeated earlier rumors that Satya Nadella, who currently leads Microsoft's cloud services division, is the most likely to take over as CEO.

In August, Steve Ballmer announced his plans to retire as CEO, and recent rumors suggest that when a replacement is named, Ballmer will also leave his position as a company director. Both Gates and Ballmer will still own a lot of Microsoft stock, although Gates has been slowly selling off his shares in the company for the past several years.

Source: Bloomberg | Image via Microsoft

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19 Comments

MistaT40 said,
Dislike if this happens

Sadly, I think it is time to see Gates go. In the tech world someone is dead when they can no longer innovate. Gates is one of those and his company is *scared* that if they make decisions that he doesn't like, they will be in trouble. Microsoft needs to make mistakes and learn from them. As much as I love Gates as an early entrepreneur of his day, good bye!

ians18 said,

Sadly, I think it is time to see Gates go. In the tech world someone is dead when they can no longer innovate. Gates is one of those and his company is *scared* that if they make decisions that he doesn't like, they will be in trouble. Microsoft needs to make mistakes and learn from them. As much as I love Gates as an early entrepreneur of his day, good bye!

Where is your proof that he no longer innovates, and 'scared' to make decisions that 'he' doesn't like? He's very innovative and cares a lot about innovation (hence why he still goes to schools to inspire children to do so). He still brings a lot to the company that other companies don't have... and that's humanizing the company. They do so much for industries that you're not even aware of thanks to him. It'll be a sad loss if Microsoft loses him.

ians18 said,

Sadly, I think it is time to see Gates go. In the tech world someone is dead when they can no longer innovate. Gates is one of those and his company is *scared* that if they make decisions that he doesn't like, they will be in trouble. Microsoft needs to make mistakes and learn from them. As much as I love Gates as an early entrepreneur of his day, good bye!

That's a big accusation to make when all you have to go by is your opinion.

Microsoft has made many, many, many mistakes, and have learnt from them, while Gates was there. And you say he doesn't innovate, you say he pushes children to grow up and do it. Maybe he doesn't innovate, but you think he's being put to bad use by him speaking to people not only about tech, and getting their minds interest young, but as a human being.

You're writing the bloke off with no facts, putting that on the internet as if it's a fact, and speaking complete nonsense in between.

Besides that. It's not his job to innovate. If he wanted to do that, he'd be working in some Microsoft lab with a team of ideas people.

As someone who likes Windows 8 and LOVES Windows 8.1 as a power users/IT guy it pains me to say that yes, its time for Gates/Ballmer to go. 8 and Metro were such GINORMOUS F-ups for the large base of normal home and business users that they never should have seen a finished product. The amount of normal users in the world that can no longer use their computers is astounding.

I don't care if they wanted a slice of the iPad pie or not, this wasn't the way to do it, you don't alienate your desktop users.

But again, I love the Metro screen in 8.1 its just that this does not work at all for normal users.

Jaybonaut said,
Are you an abnormal user?

Yes I am =P I think the big scare is that the metro screen isnt customizable and people will never find anything again. I just moved things around and got rid of garbage that I'd never use. I added all the old start menu shortcuts to the metro screen and made it look just like a start menu, problem solved.

zeroomegazx said,
I don't care if they wanted a slice of the iPad pie or not, this wasn't the way to do it, you don't alienate your desktop users.

But again, I love the Metro screen in 8.1 its just that this does not work at all for normal users.

The iPad pie is eating the desktop pie. This is no different than someone saying to BlackBerry they never should've released smartphones without keyboards just because they wanted a piece of the iPhone pie. You don't build a successful business catering to a stubborn dwindling niche of consumers who still want keyboards on smartphones.

If Microsoft doesn't get off of it's dependency on desktop users the company will fade quickly in relevance. The next generation of developers are not making software for the desktop. Consumers and businesses are moving to mobile devices rapidly and developers are not even thinking about the Windows desktop anymore. So keeping the existing userbase happy isn't going to give Windows any kind of a future.

The desktop cannot be adapted for the mobile future. The desktop works poorly with touch, poorly with battery and managing background resources, poorly at scaling programs to high resolutions and small screen sizes, and provides an extremely user-unfriendly experience relative to modern mobile devices. Businesses abandoning PCs for iPad will never go back to the desktop. If MS wants to be a big player in the future they need to get the customers that are moving towards the future with mobile.


Regardless of if you think Windows 8 is a huge success or failure, the desktop is not a viable option for the future of computing. The desktop interface will be relegated to niche status of computing in a matter of years, not decades.

Edited by Avatar Roku, Jan 31 2014, 4:36am :

zeroomegazx said,
...its just that this does not work at all for normal users.

Umm.. I find 'normal' non-tech consumers and power users LOVE the new start screen. I work for a certain store than sells them and that's the thing that always grabs peoples attention. It's unique and useful. The people that tend to hate it are the keyboard warriors (i.e. people who hide behind their computer screen commenting away on forums and articles, spreading a bad rep). When customers bring up the negative feedback in the store, we show them those comments are wrong and they're pretty impressed. People need to stop letting the internet make decisions for you, and try things out yourself and learn yourself when making decisions.

zeroomegazx said,
As someone who likes Windows 8 and LOVES Windows 8.1 as a power users/IT guy it pains me to say that yes, its time for Gates/Ballmer to go. 8 and Metro were such GINORMOUS F-ups for the large base of normal home and business users that they never should have seen a finished product. The amount of normal users in the world that can no longer use their computers is astounding.

I don't care if they wanted a slice of the iPad pie or not, this wasn't the way to do it, you don't alienate your desktop users.

But again, I love the Metro screen in 8.1 its just that this does not work at all for normal users.

Normal users are the ones who ones who adapt to the start screen right away.
Normal users don't care about customization, outside of coloring their windows if that.
Normal users are the ones who launch everything from the desktop and has hundreds of icons on the desktop, and get confused when one is moved and how it happened.

Also the start screen is unlike the start menu customizable.

j2006 said,

Umm.. I find 'normal' non-tech consumers and power users LOVE the new start screen. I work for a certain store than sells them and that's the thing that always grabs peoples attention. It's unique and useful. The people that tend to hate it are the keyboard warriors (i.e. people who hide behind their computer screen commenting away on forums and articles, spreading a bad rep). When customers bring up the negative feedback in the store, we show them those comments are wrong and they're pretty impressed. People need to stop letting the internet make decisions for you, and try things out yourself and learn yourself when making decisions.

between friends and personal customers I have setup or tried to setup with 8/8.1 and the company I work for, people HATE the metro screen. People I have dealt with think its a whole new windows, think they have to use the full screen metro apps, and cant find where to shut the computer off. They want the easy start menu back to get to their programs like they always have.

The people I have dealt with are both young and older, and again in and out of my work. its almost a 95% hate for the Metro screen because they think MS is trying to take their desktop area away.

HawkMan said,

Normal users are the ones who ones who adapt to the start screen right away.

Even when they could adapt but, do they should adapt?.

Avatar Roku said,

The iPad pie is eating the desktop pie. This is no different than someone saying to BlackBerry they never should've released smartphones without keyboards just because they wanted a piece of the iPhone pie. You don't build a successful business catering to a stubborn dwindling niche of consumers who still want keyboards on smartphones.

If Microsoft doesn't get off of it's dependency on desktop users the company will fade quickly in relevance. The next generation of developers are not making software for the desktop. Consumers and businesses are moving to mobile devices rapidly and developers are not even thinking about the Windows desktop anymore. So keeping the existing userbase happy isn't going to give Windows any kind of a future.

The desktop cannot be adapted for the mobile future. The desktop works poorly with touch, poorly with battery and managing background resources, poorly at scaling programs to high resolutions and small screen sizes, and provides an extremely user-unfriendly experience relative to modern mobile devices. Businesses abandoning PCs for iPad will never go back to the desktop. If MS wants to be a big player in the future they need to get the customers that are moving towards the future with mobile.


Regardless of if you think Windows 8 is a huge success or failure, the desktop is not a viable option for the future of computing. The desktop interface will be relegated to niche status of computing in a matter of years, not decades.

:The desktop interface will be relegated to niche status of computing in a matter of years, not decades. "

Really? So what are businesses going to use? What are servers going to use? What are artists and musicians going to use? Just like Digital Players were going to replace CD's too. Yet you can still buy them. Vinyl records have made a huge comeback as well. Many people still use VCR's, cars still run on gas and so many thing people claimed would die due to new technology still exist.

Here is where your thinking fails. Many applications would lose to much function to be ported to a less powerful platform. Need an example? Compare the desktop version of Photoshop to the one on iOS/Android. What Professional Photographer can use those mobile offerings?

The desktop will be around for many decades due to the fact, very powerful hardware simply isn't going to fit in a tablet. Also you have to consider screen size.

Desktops have major benefits that mobile devices simply can't mimic, replace or even match and they never will because it is a different platform.

Face it, Windows will be around long after we are gone.

Gates humanized Microsoft and it would greatly damage the positive image Microsoft has with citizenship and many communities... so I hope that's not true. Ballmer was great too, but just like how Presidents for countries need a switch every few years, he needed to go to bring someone fresh to the table. Gates doesn't need to be ousted and as Chairman he doesn't need to do much... he founded the company so it only makes sense to still be a part of it, even in the littlest of sense so he can continue to ensure the vision of the company is fulfilled.

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