Bill Gates’ New Role at Microsoft


Last week Microsoft announced that its new CEO is Satya Nadella, and that its first CEO, Bill Gates, would be spending time at the company helping with product decisions. It was the culmination of a long bout of CEO bingo. The role that Gates will now play at the company he founded is interesting: Will he help Nadella’s strategic vision? Would he help the re-org solidify? We have a better answer to that question today, as Gates took again to Reddit to answer the Internet’s questions. Asked directly what his new role at Microsoft will entail, Gates elaborated on what he sees coming up in technology, noting that Nadella specifically asked him to help out:

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.

This is essentially the current Microsoft approach: A single OS core across device and form factors, a focus on services and cloud collaboration, and Office, in some capacity. So, it seems that Gates’ vision is in tune (Intune?) with the current Microsoft strategy. That’s not surprising, given that he was active on the board during the current play’s invention and early implementation.

Nadella will make the decisions as to what Microsoft becomes, and it appears that his closest ally has a similar vision. Keep in mind: In Redmond, Gates is still god, and Nadella can use god’s backing to make sure that his dictums are law. Also asked in almost joking terms “Yeah… Bill, I gotta ask you, what would you say you do there?” Gates gave the high-level view of his work at the company:

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

Given the sheer magnitude of change going on inside of Redmond, that’s a decent mix.