Bill Gates has shot down reports that he’ll ever go back to work full-time at Microsoft, the company he co-founded 36 years ago.
“I made the transition to work full time on the Foundation, and that will be what I do the rest of my life,” Gates told Fairfax Media in an interview, referring to his philanthropy group, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
(PHOTOS: Bill Gates, the Early Years)
“I’m part-time involved with Microsoft, including even being in touch this week to give some of my advice, but that’s not going to change. The foundation requires all of my energy and we feel we’re having a great impact,” Gates said. He is currently Microsoft’s chairman.
Did I miss something? When was the full-time return of Bill Gates to Microsoft ever a real possibility? From what I can tell, there’s only one recent rumor on the matter: Last week, Fortune‘s Alex Konrad made an unconvincing case that Bill Gates could return as CEO, citing a “prominent chief executive” who had “heard from someone close to Gates that he might be considering such a move.” The game of telephone may apply.
Besides, Gates made pretty much the exact same denial months ago about going back to work at Microsoft. “My full-time work for the rest of my life is this foundation,” he told the Daily Mail last June. When asked point blank if he would ever retake the CEO role at Microsoft, Gates gave a straightforward answer: “No. I’m part-time involved. But this (philanthropy) is my job now.”
That doesn’t mean Microsoft’s current CEO, Steve Ballmer is safe at his job. Ballmer’s approval rating has plummeted among Microsoft employees, according to Glassdoor.com, and some analysts including Greenlight Capital President David Einhorn have called for Ballmer’s resignation. There’s speculation that Steve Sinofsky, currently president of Microsoft’s Windows Division, could be the next CEO.
But Bill Gates? Come on. The guy gets to spend most of his time and effort fighting poverty, and still wields a heavy influence at Microsoft as chairman. (Reportedly, he played a big role in killing Microsoft’s Courier tablet in favor of focusing on Windows 8 tablets.) And as one of the world’s richest men–who’d be the richest if he wasn’t so serious about giving his money to charity–Gates doesn’t exactly need a CEO’s salary. He’s fine right where he is.