William Henry Gates 3, better known as Bill Gates is retiring from active duty at Microsoft today. This marks an end of an era. An era where a seemingly new line of business was created by Bill Gates and Microsoft. An era that symbolized new generation entrepreneurs taking over the world of business. An era that gave hope to millions of small time businessesmen, dreamers that its actually right to dream and chase them. An era when two young men can produce something that can rule the world some day. An era that envisioned a computer on every desktop. An era that changed the way we work and think. An era that made sure the world is on a rapid path to development.
For me, a computer is probably the most important invention after light bulb and telephone. It made tedious tasks lot easier, faster and fun. This is where Bill Gates played an important role. Gates made sure that a computer is accessible by even an ordinary man. He was the first person to have created an operating system that makes a computer easy to use as a personal tool. And rest as they say, is history.
From a humble beginning, Microsoft went on to become a huge giant in software space. They have an entire suite of productivity and office products. Its fantastic that a company commands a valuation of more than USD 250 bn and most of their revenues come from something that is non-tangible. Compare this with other businesses where at major chunk of valuation comes from tangible and fixed assets. For me, Microsoft is truly the first company that created an empire just on the pillars of information and productivity.
Obviously Bill Gates couldn’t have worked forever at Microsoft and he had to go at some point in time. What’s good about them is that he is leaving at a time when businesses are doing fairly well, obviously there are lots of challenges. Then they have been planning a succession for almost 2 years.
Now that Bill Gates is gone, what happens to Microsoft? I think they already see the company in uints like software, services, gaming and Internet. If at all I was at Microsoft, I would look it as a company that enables people to be more productive (Windows, Office), enables people to connect (FB, Internet, MSN), enables people to entertain themselves (xBox and gaming division) and enables companies to work better (developer applications, programming languages etc.). Moment you start thinking on these lines, there is so much more than your company can be rather than just another software company. You suddenly are playing on a different level altogether.
For a lot of people Bill Gates stands for control, closed-systems, authority and monopoly. Everyone is free to have opinions and if I could defend Mr. Gates, I will use only one line. That Bill Gates is trying to run a business. Everything that he has done was to make sure that his business grows. For me, Bill Gates stands for Entrepreneurship, Business Acumen, Vision, Execution and a Great Mind. Would love to pick his brain some day.
Bill, you will be missed.