June 19, 2006
Microsoft Corp. announced that effective July 2008, Bill Gates, chairman, will
transition out of a day-to-day role in the company to spend more time
on his global health and education work at the Bill & Melinda Gates
Foundation. The company announced a two-year transition process to
ensure that there is a smooth and orderly transfer of Gates' daily
responsibilities, and said that after July 2008, Gates would continue to
serve as the company's chairman and an advisor on key development
The company announced that chief technical officer Ray Ozzie will
immediately assume the title of chief software architect and begin
working side by side with Gates on all technical architecture and
product oversight responsibilities, to ensure a smooth transition.
Similarly, chief technical officer Craig Mundie will immediately take
the new title of chief research and strategy officer and will work
closely with Gates to assume his responsibility for the company's
research and incubation efforts. Mundie also will partner with general
counsel Brad Smith to guide Microsoft's intellectual property and
technology policy efforts.
"Our business and technical leadership has never been stronger, and
Microsoft is well-positioned for success in the years ahead. I feel
very fortunate to have such great technical leaders like Ray and Craig
at the company," Gates said. "I remain fully committed and full time at
Microsoft through June 2008 and will be working side by side with Ray
and Craig to ensure that a smooth transition occurs."
"This was a hard decision for me," Gates added. "I'm very lucky to
have two passions that I feel are so important and so challenging. As I
prepare for this change, I firmly believe the road ahead for Microsoft
is as bright as ever."
In September, Microsoft chief executive officer Steve Ballmer
organized the company into three divisions under presidents Jim
Allchin, Kevin Johnson, Robbie Bach and Jeff Raikes, who were given
much greater responsibility for product development and strategy
decisions within their respective businesses. In August, the
company appointed Kevin Turner as chief operating officer.
"Bill and I are confident we've got a great team that can step up to
fill his shoes and drive Microsoft innovation forward without missing a
beat," Ballmer said. "We will continue to hire the world's best
technical talent and give them the tools to do their best work, and we
will continue to tackle the biggest challenges and opportunities for
our customers by investing for the long term."
Ballmer and Gates noted that Microsoft has been steadily expanding
its senior leadership in recent years, and that this announcement
continues a transition process that has been underway for several
years. In January 2000, Gates assumed the role of chief software
architect and Ballmer assumed the role of CEO, responsible for all
day-to-day operations and company business strategy.
"This is a very sensible and thorough approach. A two-year
transition will ensure that the company has a smooth transfer of
strategy and knowledge from Bill to the next generation of leaders,"
said James I. Cash, member of the Microsoft board of directors,
and former James E. Robison professor at Harvard Business School. "Steve
and his management team are very impressive, and I'm confident the
company will not miss a step."
Ozzie, 50, worked on the first electronic spreadsheet, VisiCalc, in
the early 1980s, then joined Lotus Development Corp. in 1983 to develop
Lotus Symphony, an MS-DOS-based integrated software management
product that combined word processing, spreadsheet, business graphics,
data management and communications capabilities. In 1984, Ozzie formed
Iris Associates Inc. to develop Lotus Notes. In 1997, Ozzie founded
Groove Networks, where he developed Groove Virtual Office. Microsoft
acquired Groove Networks in April 2005 and named Ozzie chief technical
Mundie, 56, joined Microsoft in 1992 to create and run the Consumer
Platforms Division, which was responsible for developing non-PC
platform and service offerings, including: the Microsoft Windows CE
operating system; software for handheld PCs, Pocket PCs and Auto PCs;
and early telephony products. Mundie also started Microsoft's digital
TV efforts and acquired and managed the WebTV Networks Inc. subsidiary.
Mundie is also the original champion of the Trustworthy Computing
Initiative at Microsoft, which has influenced Microsoft's software
development strategy. His current responsibilities also include global
technology policy and a variety of technical and business incubation
Ozzie and Mundie will continue to report to Gates. At an appropriate
time during the two-year transition period, they will shift to
reporting to Ballmer.
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