The end of Microsoft – or the end of the beginning?

As a sort of self-appointed Microsoft technical evangelist and reasonably prolific blogger, some people might find it odd that I haven’t yet commented on Bill Gates’ decision to stand down as Microsoft’s top man in 2008 (actually, he will still be Chairman and adviser) or (less significantly) the decision by Robert Scoble (Scobleizer – Microsoft technical evangelist and of Channel 9 fame) to leave Microsoft.

The main reason for not writing about these events is that I was on holiday at the time; but one other reason is that a company is more than one person (or two people). Bill Gates didn’t start Microsoft alone – he may have helped to make it successful (in the way that Steve Jobs’ return to Apple is widely reckoned to have been the turning point in that company’s fortune but there were many thousands of people involved in making things happen) but the world’s largest software company is not about to implode because one of its founding members wants to retire.

I do think that the Microsoft’s dominance in the PC and PC server markets may be limited (partly due to dodgy anti-trust rulings) but that’s got nothing to do with whether or not Bill Gates is in charge and that’s why I’ve also made a point of learning a bit about Linux (oh yes, and I bought a Mac yesterday – but it’s okay – I’ll probably run Windows on it… although maybe not exclusively).

I don’t know much about Ray Ozzie (the new Microsoft Chief Software Architect) except that he is credited as the creator of Lotus Notes before he set up Groove Networks; however I am pleased to see is that Bill Gates’ replacement is a technology person who understands business – not a bland bean-counting senior management type (and not another Steve Ballmer either, whose energetic style I find to be a little too strange at times).

James O’Neill has an interesting blog post on the departure of Gates and Scoble – it may be a bit long (and remember it was written by someone who works at Microsoft) but I think he makes some good points. Channel 9 also has a short clip with Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer discussing the management changes at Microsoft.

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