Mumbai: Bill Gates, the Harvard dropout who helped to start of a personal computer revolution, will step out of Microsoft Corporation, the world's largest software company he founded.
Three decades after he laid the foundations of Microsoft Corporation, Gates is set to step down tomorrow from the world's largest software company to work full-time at the charitable organisation - the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The 52-year-old Gates will remain chairman and work on special technology projects. His 8.7 per cent stake in Microsoft is worth about $23 billion.
Since Gates first programmed a computer at 13, creating a class scheduling system for his Seattle high school, he continued to experiment and gain experience in the software technology.
Gates was one of the shrewdest businessmen and technologist of the 20th century, who continued to innovate and expand business, and bringing technology to the common man.
But, Microsoft's immense growth and dominance also brought with it problems of antitrust cases, in Europe, US and in Asia.
No more the world's richest man, Gates will leave behind a life's work developing software to devote energy to finding new vaccines or to micro-finance projects in the developing world.
Steve Ballmer had taken over the CEO role in theory allowing Bill to spend more time doing what he does best, running the software development organisation, but that hasn't helped fix problems at the software giant.
Over the years, Microsoft also lost much of its brainpower as many employees have left the organisation.
Bill will be still be at the helm of a small but well-capitalisd organisation focusing on charity. But, unlike Microsoft, he won't have to answer to stockholders.
Gates exit is expected to herald an era of open source software. Even Microsoft programmers expect to see more openness and source code releases in the post- Gates era, no one expects Microsoft to open sources of its crown jewel MS Office and its new variants.