Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Microsoft Announces He's Baaaack!!!

Bill Gates.jpg
 As a diehard geek it's hard *not* to be a fan of Bill Gates. As an innovator the guy flat-out changed the world. His competition with Steve Jobs at Apple and his desire to make Microsoft the number 1 computer  software company on the planet are the principal reasons technology is where it is today.
About 17 years ago Mr. Gates stepped away from day-to-day operations at Microsoft to focus on his charitable foundation and on using his incredible wealth is to fight diseases and help those less fortunate.
While he was gone, Microsoft languished and became an also ran in the world of technology's heavy hitters. The company, which was at one time one of the most innovative and successful in the world began to be viewed through the lens of being past its prime. As Microsoft struggled, Apple and Google stepped forward with amazing amounts of innovation and fanfare as they delivered several new and industry-leading products. Frequently after Apple and Google would announce one of these products, Microsoft would step forward a few months later and announce a “me too” product that was always a step behind the industry leader. The iPod change the way we listened and purchased music. Microsoft's competitor product the Zune was clunky, not as easy to use, and definitely lacked the cool factor of Apple. There are lots of other examples.
Love him or not, there is no question that while Bill Gates was in charge of Microsoft those types of situations rarely developed. Microsoft was known as an innovator and industry leader in many ways. So, I personally find it pretty exciting that yesterday Microsoft announced that Mr. Gates has returned to Microsoft with the title of “founder and technology advisor” and his job description is “shaping strategy and product direction”. He will be back at Microsoft 3 days per week.
Most of Microsoft's thousands of employees still look upon Mr. Gates as an iconic figure and I'm sure are excited about his return. The announcement alone has had to have provided a much-needed shot in the arm to morale companywide.
Personally, I'm very excited to see what this means for Microsoft and innovation. Competition is good. We *need* competition to help spur innovation that we all benefit from as end users. Here's hoping that Mr. Gates still has that magic. I for one,  am betting that he does.

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