It's fascinating to see the world media's reaction (as seen from Google News), to the news of Microsoft founder Bill Gates transitioning himself out of his baby since the announcement on Thursday (June 15th). Not to mention some good pieces from bloggers like Jeff Jarvis and Tom Evslin.
It's especially interesting to a stock-market wonk like me was to see the market's reaction to the announcement, as seen in the (five day chart from Yahoo! Finance).
For any one who grew up as a geek during the PC era, like yours truly, it's a seminal moment.
The only other moment that compares in my mind, was when Steve Jobs left Apple in 1985 under far less amicable terms with the management team he was leaving behind (as seen from Wikipedia, the net's third most popular news & info site).
Between the two of them, these individuals have essentially defined the Personal Computer for the third of six billion people on the planet who've had access to one so far.
So I thought I'd share with you some randoms questions that are going through my mind as I ponder over the announcement this Sunday morning.
1. Isn't Bill Gates too young to be "retiring" at 50?
In my view, Bill Gates ranks as the "world's most successful businessman" from the results of his 30-year old start-up, so I'd have loved to have seen him continue in business. On that note,
2. As much as his Foundation is important to the world, from a selfish point of a geek, wouldn't it be cooler if Gates were leaving to do a start-up? (Steve Jobs did NeXt, which became the core of Apple 2.0).
3. What would the tech industry look like today if Bill Gates had pre-empted the Justice Department's actions against Microsoft's monopoly, by breaking up the company on his own terms, as the Internet came of age?
4. Is my spoof piece this past April Fool's Day about Microsoft being taken private, a more likely scenario now? I mean former Microsoft super-blogger Robert Scoble's April Fool's day gag post about him leaving Microsoft has already come half true (he didn't join Google).
It's my version of what Hugh at GapingVoid.com calls "Extinction Management".
5. Red Herring has a good piece summarizing the reactions of current Microsoft employees. My favorite is this characterization of Bill Gates:
"...in his youth, he created an unchained terror called Microsoft".
This of course in contrast to Steve Jobs creating unchained terriers called Apple 1.0, Pixar, and Apple 2.0.
So the question that goes through my mind as I look at the picture of Bill and his appointed team to lead Microsoft going forward, is:
Are these guys capable of turning Microsoft back into "an unchained terror called Microsoft 2.0?"