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January 3, 2006

Microsoft stock and Bill Gates’ edge

Posted by David Hunter at 9:22 AM ET.

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.

Separately, Todd points to a New York magazine article by John Heilemann where the theme is that Bill Gates has lost his edge on software in favor of his philanthropies:

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.

Filed under Bill Gates, Coopetition, Executives, Financial, General Business, Google, IBM, Investor Relations, Sun

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One Response to “Microsoft stock and Bill Gates’ edge”

  1. Gates leaving Microsoft! -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] Back in January we had mentioned rumblings that Gates had lost his “edge” and was more interested in his charity efforts. Filed under Executives, Bill Gates, Ray Ozzie, Craig Mundie, Microsoft   [Permalink] [...]

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