I haven’t seen this question asked before, at least not in this community but please forgive me if I’m going over well-trodden ground.

 

One day Bill Gates will retire and inevitably, like the rest of us, one day he will pass away. In the hypothetical situation that this happens tomorrow, how would Microsoft be affected in the short and long terms?

 

Is Bill’s knowledge and insight in technology development that vital to Microsoft as a business, this developer community and the organisations we all apart of? Would Longhorn still ship as planned? Would the world in 20 years be very different to what it would be otherwise? Would the release of Windows post Longhorn be the same? Would Slashdot stop ripping in to Microsoft as soon as the name is mentioned? (I think not) and, who if anyone could take Bill’s place as Microsoft’s Chief Software Architect?

 

I know we can’t predict the future but it would be interesting to hear what everyone thinks.