Microsoft revealed on Friday that co-founder Bill Gates had resigned his board of directors to dedicate more energy to philanthropy.
The 64-year-old ceased engaging in the company’s day-to-day activities more than a decade ago, shifting his focus to the foundation he founded with his father, Melinda.
Gates acted as president of Microsoft’s board of directors until early 2014, and has now stood down completely, according to the Redmond-based development giant.
“It’s been a tremendous pleasure and privilege to have collaborated with and learned from Bill over the years,” said Microsoft CEO and business veteran Satya Nadella in a statement.
“Bill created our business with a confidence in the democratizing potential of computing and a desire to address the most urgent problems confronting humanity, and Microsoft and the planet are better off.”
Nadella stated that Microsoft will continue to profit from Gates ‘ “scientific zeal and guidance” through his current capacity as strategic advisor.
“I am very thankful for Bill’s support and look forward to continuing to collaborate with him,” Nadella said.
– Computing and compassion –
Gates resigned his role as CEO in 2000, turning over the reins to Steve Ballmer to spend more energy to his charitable foundation.
He gave up his position as president at the same time that Nadella became Microsoft’s third CEO in 2014.
Regularly ranked among the wealthiest men in the nation, William H. Gates was a geek-looking young man when he and Paul Allen co-founded Microsoft in 1975.
Gates grew up with two sisters in Seattle. His father, William, was a lawyer, and his late mother, Mary, was a schoolteacher and president of United Way International.
He began programming computers as a 13-year-old student and fell in love with the devices.
Among the tales concerning Gates is that when operating on school machines, he tinkered with code and place himself in classrooms made up mainly of students.
With the encouragement of his father, Gates dropped out of Harvard to launch “Micro-soft” with his late childhood friend Allen.
A crucial change was to concentrate on selling applications to device manufacturers through a variety of “partnerships” that culminated through cheap computers being accessible to the public.
When the personal computer industry expanded, Microsoft became the world’s largest tech firm. Its global hegemony contributed to a much-publicized antitrust case in which the firm managed to escape a break-up but had to face years of government surveillance.
Gates diverted his focus from tech to epidemic prevention and other humanitarian issues with his father, under the auspices of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
“This change is not shocking to Path, as Gates has tended to concentrate increasingly on its variety of philanthropy across the globe throughout the past decade,” said Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives in a note to investors.
“Gates is an iconic figure in the technology community, and his contribution to Microsoft will be felt in Redmond for decades to come.”