Windows

True or false poll: Bill Gates still runs Microsoft?

This week's Windows Blog poll question is a bit tricky: Who is really running the day-to-day operations at the Microsoft Corporation?

When you manage the Microsoft Windows Blog on TechRepublic, you have to expect a certain number of inane commentaries deriding the "evil empire" of Microsoft and the profit-driven corporate executives who run it. You know, the people who insist on using M$ like it is a clever wordplay twist rather than an uninspired cliché.

But something struck me this past week that is even stranger than the over-the-top anticapitalistic rhetoric.

There seems to be an extraordinary number of people who continue to use Bill Gates as the personification of "all that is wrong with Microsoft." I began to wonder if these people actually realize that Bill Gates does not run Microsoft anymore.

Bill Gates is Chairman, which, by definition, means he does not take part in the day-to-day operations of the company. Steve Ballmer is the Chief Executive Office, and he is the one responsible for the way Microsoft operates. If there has to be an individual deemed to be the "personification of the evil company," it should be Steve Ballmer.

However, we still get posts in the Windows Blog forums referring to Bill Gates and his desire to dominate the world, blah, blah, blah. So the question is, who do you think is really running Microsoft? Is it still Bill Gates?

As aside, I also wonder if the "Bill Gates is evil crowd" realizes the good work the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is doing?

About

Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.

21 comments
Awahili Guni
Awahili Guni

Why would you WANT to work? I wouldn't - I would have someone else do it FOR ME but I would keep my eyes there to monitor everything once in awhile though... but it is truly amazing if one spins the wheel of time back in the "hippie days" of my generation when Apple's "big man" blamed Window's "big man" for stealing his work. Can anyone remember that or go that far back? Those bickering days when they once were "buddies" out to abolish the "Giant" IBM (International Business Machines) with a better technology with advanced and faster CPU's? *laughing* But of course, Apple was Apple and Windows was Windows - totally two differing realms; one cannot compare or liken one to the other - it would be like comparing a man's cowboy boot to a woman's fancy dress sandal and then bicker and say "he stole it!" Also is very difficult to believe that no one can recollect of how Bill Gates hit the mass media with his mug shot for criminal and Apple's big jump at it and it all backfired; Windows EXPLODED and never looked back? Gee - post a criminal mug shot of a *scoff* *cough, cough* crime; and Windows truly bursted into life and became a household name ever since! Interesting history ... but ... is my slip really showing? I think I better go and sit in the corner and play with my Pong ... I mean with my Win 7. :-D

Gis Bun
Gis Bun

I can't believe 14% [at this time] still say that Gates runs day to day operation. Wish he did. Ballmer ain't good.

omesie
omesie

In all companies I know, the board make all big decisions and who's in charge of the board? the Chairman (pretty much). So no, he wont have any dealings with day to day issues but he still has to rubber stamp (with agreement from the rest of the board) on all major decisions... like spending $8.5Billion on Skype. At the end of the day, if they're not happy with the CEO, the board are the ones to sack him.

thosmason
thosmason

From the user viewpoint, Microsoft operates to add minimum value to 20 year-old software and keep raking in the upgrade fees. This was Bill Gates guide when he re-labeled MS-DOS and continues to be the guiding priniciple. ThosMason@yahoo.com

Dethpod
Dethpod

When ppl use Micro$oft or M$ I automatically tune them out. 90% of the time there is little chance of having reasonable discussion with them. They have made up their mind and there is no point in engaging in any sort of debate as that whole argument has been beaten to death ad nauseum. When the language and tone starts resembling a debate on a Star wars message forum I do a face palm and move on. The rhetoric is old and tired and the cliches are so worn out they cease to be amusing and just sounds silly. And this is coming from a long time Linux user.

cwarner7_11
cwarner7_11

You mean, someone is actually RUNNING Microsoft? I thought it was on autopilot...

sullivanjc
sullivanjc

Apple and Google would be non-issues.

MacNewton
MacNewton

But sorry to say, none are alive to talk about it. Mr. Monkey boy must have "something" on "someone" to be able to stay on as the CEO. The last deal for Skype may work out to be the dumbest purchase M$ has every made. The tech is old and the fact that people hated to hear the MS did indeed buy Skype. What Skype has now can be easy replaced by something much newer, faster & more reliable. If any company was able to pull this off, M$ will be left holding the bag faster then you can say developer 3 times and jumping around a stage with sweat dripping from every part of your body. Thank you "Youtube" for that hard to forget image.

wwgorman
wwgorman

Steve Ballmer might be a great guy and know a lot about Microsoft and his products but he's not chief executive material. He seems to want to throw his cash flow at different ventures to see if they "stick to the wall." He was lucky with Yahoo as Jerry Yang proved he was a real YAHOO! He should have accepted the 35+ billion from Ballmer and run for the hills. I doubt Bill Gates would have tolerated the Windows Vista fiasco for as long as Ballmer did. And, I think Gates would have recognized what a great operating system Microsoft had with XP and expanded on it and not try to force people to upgrade to get away from Vista which on updates has become pretty good. The incompatibilities of Vista and Windows 7 with older programs and hardware are driving people to Apple No, Bill Gates won't return to Microsoft until it's too late.

gksmith2002
gksmith2002

"When you manage the Microsoft Windows Blog on TechRepublic you have to expect a certain number of inane commentaries deriding the evil empire of Microsoft and the profit-driven corporate executives that run it. You know, the people who insist on using M$ like it is a clever wordplay twist rather than an uninspired clich." As opposed to all of the other software companies who are not profit driven? EVERYONE is profit driven. Even Non-Profits have to make profits for their charity. I deal with a lot of anti-Microsoft-ers and I just say good luck doing everything you need to do and be productive only using Open Source. Free is not always better. You know you are #1 when large legion of people hate you...because you are the best. Hate on!

information
information

Finally, someone else has noticed. And along with your thought: ???Bill Gates is Chairman, which, by definition, means he does not take part in the day-to-day operations of the company. Steve Ballmer is the Chief Executive Office and he is the one responsible for the way Microsoft operates.??? Remember all the big hoopla, videos, etc??? when Bill Gates retired a few years ago from Microsoft? I was left with the impression that he still possessed his office, but he was officially retired. In effect, 1) He would concentrate on the charity that he and his wife founded. 2) He would still do some PR from time to time. Hmm, I guess as Microsoft???s Chairman. However, I have found out that MANY people do not even know he had a big retirement party and that he (tongue in cheek) no longer runs the company. So much for all the cameos in the videos they were showing of people saying goodbye and wishing him the best in a comical way. Well, it is what it is. J.L.

Robiisan
Robiisan

Mark, "As aside, I also wonder if the Bill Gates is evil crowd realize the good work the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is doing?" They probably don't even know the foundation exists. If they do, they think it's another part of the "evil empire" trying to take over the world. :-)

Realvdude
Realvdude

He still wants to see his child do well, and give direction and advise where he can, but the child will ultimately make it's own decisions. As for greed, I think Bill has enough money to go on living as he does, even if his MS stock was worth zero. I can't remember the last time I heard his name mentioned in the news, that was not in conjuntion with the Gates Foundation; unless of course, it was a historical look at modern computing.

wizard57m-cnet
wizard57m-cnet

that refer to Microsoft as M$ or Bill Gates as the head...I classify them in the same group as the spam email claiming that AOL in concert with Microsoft, Bill Gates and Steve Case, are tracking all emails and if this is sent to at least XX number of recipients you get XX number of dollars. It rarely does any good to correct their misconceptions...people are funny that way.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

Who do you think is really running Microsoft? Should Bill Gates still be the lightening-rod for the company? I believe Bill Gates is so far removed from Microsoft that he should not even be included in any discussions regarding how the company operates currently.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

I used to work Medical and we constantly had Doctors wanting to know how the Computers got Multiple Sclerosis when we used the MS Shorthand. We used the M$ Shorthand for Microsoft long before the majority of the IT people started attempting to downgrade M$ and to me it's still a perfect way to describe Microsoft to the majority of people who are not involved in IT. After all send a message with MS in it to most people with a Medical Letterhead and they will be thinking you are talking about the Disease which is anything but new. ;) Col

jck
jck

I think if he wants to, he can step back in and do what he wants. But, I think he is removed...in the sense that he has nothing to do with day-to-day...or even anything more than getting an occasional "we're working on..." from someone he golfs with or something that still is an exec. I think he's too busy trying to get sub-Saharan African males to use birth control devices to deal with Ballmer. :^0

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I realize it's a case of context, but I doubt most non-IT people (medical or otherwise) would recognize either abbreviation as apply to the Redmond company.

glennho
glennho

BG is arming equatorial african men with prophylactic water balloons and IUDs to confront Ballmer? This I gotta see.

thonga_moonchi
thonga_moonchi

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