Sent: Thursday, June 15, 2006 1:41 PM
To: Microsoft and Subsidiaries: All FTE
Subject: My Transition Plans
I wanted to take a moment to share some of my thoughts, as well.
As Steve’s mail indicates, I’ve decided that two years from now, in July 2008, I want to devote more time to the work of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Right now and for the next two years, my full-time job is here at Microsoft, and my part-time job remains the Foundation. Beginning in July 2008, I will switch that, to be full-time at the Foundation, while remaining involved with Microsoft as Chairman and an advisor on key development projects on a part-time basis.
To prepare for this change, we have a well-thought-out transition process. Again, I will continue at Microsoft full-time for the next two years, but over the course of those two years, my day-to-day responsibilities will shift to a team of incredible technical leaders who are already doing amazing things at the company.
I feel very lucky that we’ve got extraordinary technical leaders at the company, like Ray Ozzie and Craig Mundie, who can step up to assume the roles that I’ve played. I’ve known Ray for the last 20 years, and he has created some of the most important developments in the industry. Craig and I have worked together for nearly 14 years, and he’s been a technical visionary and a leader on policy throughout his career. With Ray and Craig stepping up, I feel very confident that the technical stewardship of Microsoft is in very capable hands.
And I feel the same way about our business leadership. Our core businesses are strong and we have a clear vision for how we will meet new challenges and opportunities. We just had our first $12 billion quarter, and we continue to generate almost a billion dollars in profit every month. We are about to launch breakthrough versions of Windows, Office and Exchange, which are already generating a lot of excitement.
Six years ago, Steve and I made a major transition when he stepped up to be CEO. He’s done a fantastic job by every measure, whether it’s the people he’s brought in, the new ways he’s running the company, or just the objective results - like doubling our revenue in six years. Steve has driven us to make bold bets on things like Xbox, Real Time Communications, business applications, IPTV, and many others including the Live platform. Steve is the best CEO I could imagine for Microsoft - he is changing the company in ways it needs to be changed. He is bringing in new leadership at all levels. And, he is focused on the long-term - making Microsoft a great company not just today but for decades to come.
With Steve’s organization of the company into three divisions led by our incredible presidents - Jeff Raikes, Robbie Bach, and Kevin Johnson - we’ve laid a solid foundation for greater autonomy, agility and entrepreneurial spirit in our product groups. And with the great addition of Kevin Turner as our COO, our leadership team has never been stronger.
Our deep technical strength is one of the key reasons I believe Microsoft is well-positioned for great success in the years ahead. I’m very pleased that in addition to Ray, Craig, David and Rick, Steve has asked J Allard, Bob Muglia, and Steven Sinofsky to play an expanded role in shaping the company’s business and technology strategy. And when you consider all of our remarkable Technical Fellows, Distinguished Engineers, all of the brilliant researchers working at our MSR labs around the world, and all the technical people in the business groups, I can safely say that our technical talent has never been stronger or deeper.
Obviously, this has been a very hard decision for me. Microsoft will always be a huge part of my life, and I’m lucky to have two callings that are so important and so challenging.
On a personal note, I know that my work on global health and education issues at the Foundation would never have been possible without the enormous success of Microsoft, so I want to thank you and all of the employees past and present who have contributed so much to this company.
For these last 31 years, I’ve had the best job in the world. I’ve worked with some of the brightest and most passionate people in the world. Together, we’ve built a great company whose products have empowered people around the world.
We’re only at the beginning of what software can do, and I’m excited about the impact that Microsoft can have. I’m going to take an extended vacation this summer with my family, but I’ll be back in late August and I look forward to working with all of you for the next two years and beyond, to make those dreams a reality.