Bill Gates Transition/Retirement

The web is buzzing with the news, announced by Microsoft today, that Microsoft founder Bill Gates will cease to have a day-to-day role in the company after July 2008, with a "smooth and orderly transition" between now and then.

Gates, who wants to "spend more time on his global health and education work," through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has had much influence on the history of not only Microsoft but on the software and computer industries as a whole, including Apple's history.

After the transition period, Gates, who at age 50 is considered to be the world's richest person, will remain the companys chairman and will be an advisor on key development projects.

Gates was sometimes criticized in the past for a late start to philanthropy, but has since devoted much time and attention, along with his wife, to health and education issues.