Could Bill Gates save Microsoft?

Could Bill Gates save Microsoft?

Summary: Giving billions of dollars away is easy...rebuilding Microsoft is a major challenge.

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TOPICS: Microsoft
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I watched Charlie Rose interviewing Bill Gates, on "60 Minutes" on Sunday, about his charity work, his war on diseases, his nuclear reactor, and his low cost toilet.

It seemed that Charlie Rose forgot to ask Bill Gates an important question:

"Would you consider going back to Microsoft? You are doing a brilliant job giving away billions of dollars and saving the children of the world, do you think you could do a 'Steve Jobs' and save Microsoft too?" 

Could Bill Gates save $MSFT? It's fallen on hard times and needs help getting revenues back up. More importantly, it needs a new vision, badly. 

He has more than 1,000 people plus his wife now running the foundation. He showed Charlie Rose his giant bag of books and says he spends a lot of time reading, so he clearly has delegated a lot of work and cleared space in his life. Maybe he's planning a comeback?

It would be a feather in his cap, for sure. It would boost the stock price of Microsoft and his personal legacy.

Giving away billions of dollars is easy -- making billions of dollars is hard. Bill Gates knows it and he loves a challenge.

UPDATE: 

From Spark Capital VC Bijan Sabet - The trouble with Microsoft

I am uncomfortable to kick a company when it’s down but I gotta take a moment and talk about Microsoft. It’s because I like the company and I’m friends with many folks that work there.

Bill Gates needs to come back…

He can’t be happy watching his company fade away to irrelevance over the years…Microsoft needs to start building amazing products. The current leadership isn’t getting it done. 

Topic: Microsoft

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  • Microsoft is in good shape than any other tech companies

    Yeah...it need to be saved from bloggers...
    OwlllllllNet
  • I think the author

    Didn't notice that Microsoft's revenues are actually quite a bit higher under Ballmer than they ever were under Gates. If Microsoft needs saving, we are in a very very bad spot, as Microsoft outperforms most other tech companies.

    The article reeks of bias, the company has showed quite a danting vision and maybe the author should wait a few years as Microsoft's history has clearly shown it doesn't take a short time to reach dominance or high market shares.
    sjaak327
    • There is little doubt that MS is dominant is several areas

      on desktops, to a large extent in servers, and with Office.

      However, it is also clear that MS needs a good strategy and product for mobile devices. It is equally clear that this area has been highly problematic for MS. For whatever reason, mobile devices from MS have not been successful for many years - Zune, Kin, early WP versions and now WP8 and WinRT. Ballmer might be continuing to do well or better with desktops, servers and with Office but he can only been seen as having been a resounding failure with mobile devices so far.
      Wakemewhentrollsgone
      • and XBox

        I should have also added that as a success.
        Wakemewhentrollsgone
        • How long did it take

          For xbox to reach that success ? And when answering that question, my remarks would maybe start to make sense.
          sjaak327
          • How long? A long time

            There was the set-back with a 1/3 of all devices failing or being replaced.

            I did countenance my comments with the words "so far" :-)
            Wakemewhentrollsgone
          • Xbox success

            I have yet to see *one* Xbox in the wild.

            Don't know how Microsoft measures success, but over here any other console is much more widespread.
            danbi
          • danbi: Xboxes don't exist in the wild; they exist in people's homes

            and the 70-80 million consoles sold is not a figment of MS's imagination. MS makes more money from their online gaming site and games sales, than from the sales of the boxes themselves.

            So, stop looking in the woods, and start looking in people's homes and do a little bit or research yourself. Ever hear of Google search or Bing search? They can enlighten you.
            adornoe@...
      • That's why I mentioned the period

        Microsoft was never dominant in mobile, they have replaced Windows mobile with WP and according to recent market research it is increasing it's market share quite substantually, the same can be said on the tablet front, where they went from 0.5 to 5%. Not sure if I could label either platforms a failure, considering the time it took them to reach these levels.

        Yes they are well well lacking to both Ios and Android, but anyone expecting Microsoft to reach these kinds of levels in the period of time we are talking about (2.5 years and 8 months) seems to believe in miracles.
        sjaak327
        • But they were first off the blocks

          MS might not have been dominant, but they were first of the blocks in some areas in which they still have not made much progress. Tablet computers with an MS OS were on the market for a decade before the iPad and MS had "smartphones" years before the iPhone. Neither were a particularly resounding success for MS, especially the tablets. It is not 2.5 years and 8 months as you state. Rather, what is it now, 13 years later and MS is still trying to get a grip in those two areas?

          It is a mater of opinion, but I do not think that Ballmer is the right person to be in charge of MS when it comes to mobile devices. That is my point.
          Wakemewhentrollsgone
          • Actually

            The tablet computer was the baby of Bill Gates, the one for which a cry seems to exist to return. It was Ballmer who made sure they entered the tablet market with an os that IS optimized for touch, and which lead to an increase in market share from 0.5% to 5% in indeed 8 months.

            It was Ballmer who decided to end the mess that was Windows Mobile by the way.
            sjaak327
          • 13 years ago, tablet technology was expensive ...

            ... and power hungry. It wasn't until the appearance of netbooks that truly mobile devices became affordable.
            M Wagner
      • Time and the Missing Aspect

        One item you are missing in your recap (not bad btw): Time.
        With the market and Consumer expectations, speed to market and quality have become expected by both Consumers and Investors. MS has not been able to pull this off at any time in their history. It is primarily why they are getting killed in mobile (they should have named their mobile something like xPhone or ...). MS is taking way too much time to putout not quite stellar products.

        If BG ever came back to MS, how would he drastically change direction of the monolith called MS to accomplish what it has never done? He would drive himself into a heart-attack.
        rhonin
    • Re: Didn't notice that Microsoft's revenues are actually quite a bit higher

      By all means, encourage Microsoft to be complacent that its current course is the right one.

      That suits us fine. :)
      ldo17
      • But they ARE higher that is

        a fact. One that is pretty hard to ignore.
        sjaak327
      • Ask Why They Are Higher

        It's not from hardware development.
        It's not from new product line launches.
        It's from licensing and leveraging a steadily decreasing current client well.
        It's from licensing a growing mobile development arena (Android).

        MS is resting and relying on their laurels.
        Not a good place to be long term.
        rhonin
        • It surely is from new product launches

          Azure, Office365 and others. They have created several billion dollar businesses in the last couple of years. Businesses that don't rely on the desktop either, their server division has surpassed Windows right left and center, a business that has seen tremendous growth.
          sjaak327
      • Us?

        Who is us? You and your neighbor? Your dog, cat or pet parrot?
        Rob.sharp
  • Bill is not coming back.

    Give it up. It is not going to happen.
    symbolset
  • A new low in anti-MS rhetoric

    Microsoft does not need saving. It's a diverse business and the market leader in each of its core markets. It has consistent innovated successful major new products over the past two decades, and continues to grow in new markets like consumer cloud platforms.

    Reality check:

    $MSFT is up 17% for the year.

    Unlike $AAPL, which is down 20% after crashing by wn 40% since September.

    The author of this article is an accomplished anti-Microsoft fanatic and a fad-chasing Apple/Google fanboy. But here he sinks to a new low, by seeking to devalue genuine charity and philanthropy simply because it originates from a founder of Microsoft. He does not say "giving money is easy" about other philanthropist.

    Bill Gates is arguably the greatest philanthropist the world has ever known. There is no legitimate reason to detract from giving to people who need it. Ever. The author demonstrates lack of moral fibre as well as ignorance of philanthropy.

    Giving is easy? What a cheap shot. Is this the sort of material ZDNET wants to promote?

    Giving is not easy. Keeping is easier. And crucially, giving effectively is one of the greatest challenges of our time. The author evidently knows little or nothing about this topic, but chooses to discuss it anyway -- exploiting it for cynical and worthless propaganda purposes.

    Stay classy.
    Tim Acheson