Gates Departure Should Calm the Waters

Joint leadership with Ballmer slowed, hurt Microsoft's growth
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 5, 2008 4:24 PM CDT
Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates speaks with The Associated Press Friday May 9, 2008, in Jakarta, Indonesia.   (AP Photo/Ed Wray)
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(Newser) – Bill Gates’ departure from full-time employment at Microsoft on June 27 will end 8 contentious years in which Gates has attempted to stay onboard while nominally beneath his close friend and new CEO, Steve Ballmer. Though they built the company together, this “ambassadorial succession” produced mixed results, with Gates undermining Ballmer in front of executives, the Wall Street Journal reports.

As Ballmer fought back to assert himself, disagreement between the two held up and shelved numerous projects like Netdocs, which was similar in concept to the web-based office software Google is now using to eat into Microsoft’s offline business. After executives voiced their concerns, the two friends decided a clean break was necessary.