Vent IT: Closing the Gates

With Bill Gates' departure imminent, we ask what happens next for Microsoft

Microsoft founder and chairman Bill Gates is heading into semi retirement. At the TechEd Developers conference last week he delivered his final publicly scheduled speech as a full-time Microsoft employee to a roomful of software developers.

Gates started the company 33 years ago and since then he has been revered and reviled by just about every PC user on the planet. (See a timeline of Microsoft's journey)

Upon his departure, Steve Ballmer will take over as head of Microsoft, sparking debate over the future of the company (See Five reasons its not business as usual for Microsoft and five reasons Microsoft should fire Steve Ballmer).

Gates leaves Microsoft to focus on the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, calling for businesses to adopt 'creative capitalism' to help solve the needs of global poor.

His legacy to the world of computing is undeniable. The only question is whether that impact has been for the better, or worse.

Has Bill Gates' company lost the office document war? How much Microsoft software did you or your company use ten years ago compared to today?

Is Microsoft's talk of increased openness the dawn of a new era, or will Ballmer become the new enemy of the open source community?

What effect has Gates and his company had on the world of software and computing?

Let us know what you think,
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