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Bill Gates: Transitioning into the Future

27 minutes, 38 seconds


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Bill Gates has been at the helm of Microsoft for the entire existence of Microsoft. It's the only place he's worked and he's getting ready to step down from his day to day responsibilities in his office on the Redmond campus. Bill's employment future will be centered around running his philanthropic enterprise, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Bill is fundamentally shifting his focus from achieving his dream of "a PC in every home" to helping realize the vision of "healthy people in every country". He talks about how each one of us can help make this dream come true by donation of time, expertise and, of course, money.

Charles caught up with Bill to discuss his transition from full time at Microsoft to full time at his global philanthropic foundation (he will still be involved with major decisions given that he will retain his post as the Chairman of Microsoft and his email address will still be functional Smiley).

Questions addressed in this conversation include: What's on Bill's mind as he prepares to step away from his full time responsibilities at Microsoft? What was his rationale for making the decision? What was behind his decision to put Ray Ozzie in the role of Microsoft Chief Software Architect? What does a CSA actually do? Why is Microsoft so focused on competing with Google and is search as important as we think? What's top of mind for Bill that Developers who target our platform should pay attention to now and in the next decade? How can Microsoft become more agile given the complexity that arises from so much asynchronous innovation spanning disparate product units? Why does Windows still matter in an Internet world?

Enjoy. This is a good one. Thank you again, Bill, for your support of C9 over the years, the incredible innovation you brought to market and the incredible generosity of your foundation.


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  • BasBas It finds lightbulbs.
    Awesome. Downloading now.

    I suppose it'd be a step too far to have Bill post here just once...

    ...right? Tongue Out
  • tsilbSlackmasterK This Space ​Intentional​ly Left Blank
    C9 supports pingbacks now?  This is gonna be interesting.  At least it was an MSDN blog Smiley

    Haven't been watching the video page lately; linked here from Jeff's twitter.  Thanks Jeff.
  • Tommy CarlierTommyCarlier Widen your gaze
    Cool interview. I'm surprised how much different topics were covered. He sure knows his stuff.
  • BasBas It finds lightbulbs.

    Wait wait wait, there's some sort of cloud services thing Ray Ozzie has been working on that isn't Mesh, and is secret enough to bleep out even the codename? Spill the beans, man! We can't wait until PDC!

    Great interview, Charles. Really informative. Bill remains one of the most interesting people in IT.

  • CharlesCharles Welcome Change
    Thanks, Bas. I really enjoyed this conversation. Bill was very engaged and ready to speak his mind. The breadth of his knowledge is staggering.

    Come to PDC 08 to learn first hand about [bleep]! Smiley It's incredibly cool... There's a lot we can't talk about right now. You can bet that when we can, we'll go deep into it right here on C9.
  • I still dont get it. My feeling is that OSs are about providing APIs and not providing services and applications to the user she didn't ask for.

    My statement is: Keep it simple. Let the user decide and let the developers provide.
  • Allan LindqvistaL_ Kinect ftw
    awsome Big Smile bill is like a rockstar for guys like me Smiley (yeah im a geek, Tongue Out )

    but who bleeped him? Tongue Out if anyone should be allowed to say whatever they want it should be him Wink

    also, a post from bill in this thread would be really really cool Wink
  • stevo_stevo_ Human after all

    Ayyy, incredible guy - watched him on bbc the other night (I think there was a comment about channel9 briefly on it), I have to admit- I assumed bill would be like most "managers" (for lack of better word) and would have lost contact with the users and those that really develope the software.. but that certainly isn't true.

    Also Bas, isn't one of the big features in windows 7 suposed to be a native web services communication layer?

  • Jonathan MerriweatherCyonix Me
    Bas, i'm guessing that [Bleep] is what Mesh is built on and that Microsoft are going to provide that API to the rest of us. They have hinted at this in the discussions about Mesh.
  • Mike SampsonSampy And I come back to you now - at the turn of the tide
    Actually I talked to Charles and he told me it was [beep].

    I checked it out on an internal site (http://[beep]) and I think I can say that [beep] is totally [beep]ing awesome Tongue Out
  • Sven GrootSven Groot Don't worry... I'm a doctor.
    Yeah, that's annoying. Anyway to hide them?

    At least keep them separate from the regular comments.
  • Christian Liensbergerlittleguru <3 Seattle

    Charles, you guys should use cams with progressive scan the next time. The interview is great (actually, it is really cool) but the quality isn't because you can see the artifacts of the interleaced scan cameras (when you or Bill moves fast, you can see that only half of the lines are updated)...

  • Go Microsoft !!!!!!!Dovella Go Microsoft !!!!!!!
    Thx Bill  !!!!!!!!!!!
  • Allan LindqvistaL_ Kinect ftw
    guru speaks the truth..

    and also, please dont hard encode those black borders Smiley they really get in the way on 16:9 displays :/
    Great interview as always though Smiley
  • BasBas It finds lightbulbs.

    Why must you taunt us, Sampy!

  • Mark Wisecarverwisemx Live it
    This is an excellent conversation.
    I've always admired how humble and calm Bill remains.
    Compare this video to any with a certain guy by the name of Larry. Smiley 
  • Alexei PavlovBlackTiger If you stumbled and fell down, it doesn't mean yet, that you're going in the wrong direction.
    Next 15 years everybody will speak about BG's resignation, interviewing him etc...
    Why there was no "funny video" about BG's "last day at MS"?... Strange...
    PS: Yep, I'm bloody bst*rd, but that stupid video is really annoying...

  • Charles, you do a great interview, not only this one, but any you do. And the secret to your great interview is that, all your questions are all "Realistic" questions. It's almost like you read my mind with your next question. Secondly, you're always respectful and none harassing to others. There is no tensions in your sessions and you always respond with positive response.  I just wanted to tell you, that, you do a great job...

  • CharlesCharles Welcome Change
    Thank you for the kind words, Ben.
  • tsilbSlackmasterK This Space ​Intentional​ly Left Blank
    Just noticed the new C9 video player.  Much improved, guys.
  • Bill will be sorely missed!

  • It was probably the first time I saw an interview with Bill where he was not a keynote or being asked generic questions from a Larry King type.  Charles interview skills and preperation are excellent.  Bill is obviously adept at covering any subject in his sphere which is deep and broad.  His vision of creating and making more leaders at MSFT more visible and spreading the brains around makes a lot of sense.  I'd love to be in one of those meetings when customers tell them that their product(s) is not measuring up.....Charles has an opportunity to go there i.e. Vista but it seems to be a mandate to keep it all positive. 
  • This is one of the best interviews with Bill Gates that I've seen.  Good work Charles, and thanks Bill.
  • CharlesCharles Welcome Change

    Glad you like dit! Re Vista, Bill does address Windows, specifically. The context for this conversation is the future and Vista is here now... He explains how he thinks Windows will remain pertinent in an increasingly Internet-connected world of servers and services that provide data for any device. I thought his answer was spot on: Windows will drive service innovation and provide the mechanisms for truly rich user experiences that consume from the cloud.


  • CharlesCharles Welcome Change
    Thank you!
  • Great interview.

    Congratulations Charles.

    Will you be interviewing Ray Ozzie next for Channel 9?

    The smiley has gone through many incarnations over the years, but it consistently retains the same features. ("Kolobok" type)

  • It is really fascinating to hear from BillG what is gonna be next for us!



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