Bill Gates stepping down

There’s a webcast going on at the moment over in Redmond with some significant news.  Bill Gates has decided to step down from his current position and work part time, concentrating on his charities.  I can see the headlines bouncing all over the blogosphere announcing that Bill has actually resigned.  No he hasn’t.  He’s transitioning to a part time role.  I said a part time role.  And he’s not going yet.  He’s not even thinking of doing this until July 2008, 2 years from now.(and even then he will continue as Chairman).

I was walking back to my hotel room when I heard that there was going to be a joint announcement hosted by both Bill and Steve, and guessed that it would be that Bill would be stepping down to focus more on his charities – especially those concerning vaccines.  So How did I know in advance?   A month or so ago, I’d read a really interesting article about the work that Melinda Gates had been doing for the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, and the key things that made them move into their charity work.  They’d been on holiday to Africa a couple of years ago, and had gone on safari, and both of them were horrifed that children were dying of easily treated diseases like diarrhoea and they both decided there and then that this was a cause really worth pursuing.  So their immunisation program for children was created.  It was really really obvious from reading this article about Melinda that both Bill and her were incredibly compassionate and caring people who wanted to use their wealth for improving the quality of life for those who need it most.  The children.

So, amidst all of the hype and the hysteria that will be reported on the business impacts to Microsoft (which may or may not happen over the next two years).  I for one, am happy that Bill and Melinda have followed their heart and are doing something fantastic and worthwhile, and I, for one, salute them…