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Microsoft moves beyond the Gates era

After 30 years leading the company he founded, Bill Gates is preparing to withdraw and concentrate on his charitable foundation

Since founding Microsoft in 1975, Bill Gates has led the company to world domination in the IT space. His decision to step down from day-to-day management in 2008, announced late on Thursday, will allow him to devote more time to his charitable foundation.

This means that Ray Ozzie, Steve Ballmer and Craig Mundie will all play a greater role in Microsoft's future -- battling Google, pushing Vista, and coping with lingering antitrust concerns and the spectre of open source.

Ballmer claims the move is part of a wider transition within Microsoft, while Gates says he will continue scanning the horizon for the latest technology trends. But, after 30 years with Gates at the helm, it is hard to see this as anything but the end of an era.

Gates to step down from Microsoft
June 16, 2006: Bill Gates will withdraw from his day-to-day work as Microsoft chairman in 2008, to spend more time on his charitable foundation 

Gates looks to life beyond Microsoft
June 16, 2006: Having announced that will wind down his commitment to Microsoft, Bill Gates sat down with Steve Ballmer to discuss future plans and reminisce on the past 

Tech industry unfazed by Gates's withdrawal
June 16, 2006: The news that Microsoft's chairman plans to step down from a day-to-day role has caused barely a ripple in the tech world 

Is Ray Ozzie the new Bill Gates?
June 16, 2006: As Bill Gates withdraws from his work on Microsoft, chief software architect Ray Ozzie will play an even more crucial role in the company's future