updated 04:50 am EST, Thu December 15, 2011
Bill Gates committed to Foundation
In a wide-ranging interview with the Sydney Morning Herald, Bill Gates ruled out a rumored return to the helm of Microsoft. Gates, who is currently holidaying in Australia with his family, said that he has made the transition from running Microsoft to running the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation full-time. When asked about Steve Jobs and his criticism of Microsoft and Gates personally, Gates brushed the barbs off saying that Jobs was driven by the fact that Microsoft Windows-loaded computers outsold Macs.
Gates said that he is now fully committed to his foundation, "and that will be what I do the rest of my life". However, he added that he is still "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."
While Jobs had called Gates "unimaginative" and nothing more than a plagiarist, Gates said that "because the Microsoft machines outsold his machines by a lot he was always kind of tough on Microsoft, but that's fine, he was a brilliant person."
"Our work at Microsoft was super successful for all good reasons but Steve made huge contributions and he actually in his last few years was a lot kinder than that but over the years he did say some tough things," Gates added.
Gates departed Microsoft in 2006 and in the following year, Jobs unveiled the iPhone and then the iPad in 2010, both of which have helped to fundamentally reshape the mobile computing landscape. It's hard to guess whether Microsoft might have reacted differently under his leadership versus that of current CEO Steve Ballmer. Ballmer has been heavily criticized for dismissing the "post-PC" era, as Jobs had put it, and now finds Microsoft all but out of the frame in the smartphone and tablet segments.
However, recently Microsoft finally seems to have accepted the arrival of the mobile paradigm as envisioned by Apple, recently releasing a slew of applications for iOS including its popular OneNote app and even an Xbox app. It is also rumored to be developing a version of its Office suite for iOS in a sign that the Windows giant may have fundamentally shifted its attitude to the platform.