Todd Bishop of the Seattle PI does a little end-of-year stock charting and observes that MSFT is no GOOG. It’s no surprise to shareholders that Microsoft stock has been in the doldrums, but the good news is that it’s no IBM or SUNW either.
In 2000, Gates stepped down as CEO and assumed his current title: chairman and chief software architect. The official line at Microsoft was that he was reenergized, reinvigorated, up to his elbows in the company’s future, shepherding new products and formulating new strategies. But by the time I saw him a couple of years later at a conference in California, it was clear to all in the auditorium that software no longer got Gates’s juices pumping the way his work at the foundation did. Technology questions were answered quickly, without passion, whereas questions about global health elicited lengthy disquisitions full of detail and emotion. The way he talked about wiping out malaria was how he used to talk about wiping out Netscape.
Ever since then, Microsoft has noticeably been drifting.
It’s a sort of chicken and egg problem for the business historians – did Bill Gates move on and Microsoft settle into corporate middle age or did Microsoft reach middle age and Bill Gates get bored? Also, Gates would undoubtedly dispute his perceived reduced interest in Microsoft’s business.