Normally I don’t post internal emails, but for Bill Gates’ last email as a full-time employee at Microsoft I make an exeption :
I want to share some thoughts on my last day as a full-time Microsoft employee.
For the last 33 years, I’ve had the ideal job. It’s been incredibly exciting to come here every day to work with the smartest people in the world to develop breakthrough software. Together, we have built a great company that has profoundly changed the world for the better.
After today, I will be shifting my full-time focus to the work of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation while keeping a strong connection to Microsoft.
The fact that I am making a career change does not mean that our work at Microsoft is done. In fact, the most exciting impact of our software is still ahead of us. Everything we have done up to now is just the foundation for the more dramatic breakthroughs to come. As you apply the magic of software to delivering a new generation of innovations, this company will continue to transform the way people communicate, create, and share experiences.
Microsoft is in an incredible position because we have momentum and a great pipeline of products and technologies. Even more important, we have great people at every level. In research and development we have great engineers focused on solving the most pressing challenges in computer science and turning new ideas into innovative products. In marketing, sales, and customer service, our world-class organizations keep getting better.
We also have strong leadership. As Microsoft has grown, one of the most exciting and fulfilling things for me has been to watch new leaders develop.
It starts at the very top. For the last 28 years, I have loved working side by side with Steve. Even now after all these years I am regularly impressed with his energy and insight. I think he and I have enjoyed one of the great business partnerships of all time. Steve has done a great job leading the company since he became CEO in 2000. Steve’s passion for democratizing the power of technology and inspiring customers, partners, and employees will keep us driving ahead.
I am thrilled to have Ray and Craig playing key roles in guiding the company’s strategy. For over a decade I had hoped that we could convince Ray to join Microsoft—and in the three years he has been here, he has made a huge difference in helping us focus on the challenge and opportunity of software plus services. I have worked with Craig for more than 15 years. His ability to anticipate the future direction of technology is a key asset, as is his deep interest in and understanding of emerging markets.
Of course, I’ll continue to be involved in the work of the company as part-time Chairman. As part of this I will help with a handful of projects that Steve, Ray, and Craig select.
As I reflect on the last three decades, the thing I’m proudest of is the role that this company has played in making the power of digital technology accessible and affordable. Software running on personal computers and other devices is the best tool for empowerment in human history. Microsoft founded the personal computer software business and we built the platforms that enabled the software industry to develop. Without your contributions, we would not have succeeded in making our dream of a computer on every desk and in every home a reality for more than 1 billion people worldwide—a dream we will extend to everyone in the future.
As I make the transition to focus more of my time and energy on the Gates Foundation, I am looking forward to applying the lessons I’ve learned—and, in some cases, the technologies that we have developed—to help address some of the critical issues that people around the world face in education, economic development, and health.
I want to thank all of you for your hard work and your dedication. It has been a privilege and an inspiration to come to Microsoft every day. I look forward to the amazing, world-changing innovations you will deliver in the years ahead as you continue the great work this company has always done.