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Bill Gates leaves Microsoft's board of directors, will focus on philanthropic efforts

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Microsoft logo (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Bill Gates has stepped down from Microsoft's board of directors.
  • Gates plans to focus more time on his philanthropic efforts.
  • Gates will continue to serve as a Technical Advisor to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

Microsoft announced (opens in new tab) that the company's co-founder and former CEO is steapping down from its board of directors. Gates will now dedicated more time to "his philanthropic priorities including global health, development, education, and his increasing engagement in tackling climate change," Microsoft said. Gates will also continue to serve as a Technical Advisor to current Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

"With respect to Microsoft, stepping down from the board in no way means stepping away from the company," Gates said in a LinkedIn post (opens in new tab) announcing he is stepping down from his board positions at both Microsoft and Berkshire Hathaway. "Microsoft will always be an important part of my life's work and I will continue to be engaged with Satya and the technical leadership to help shape the vision and achieve the company's ambitious goals."

Speaking on the move, Nadella said:

It's been a tremendous honor and privilege to have worked with and learned from Bill over the years. Bill founded our company with a belief in the democratizing force of software and a passion to solve society's most pressing challenges. And Microsoft and the world are better for it. The board has benefited from Bill's leadership and vision. And Microsoft will continue to benefit from Bill's ongoing technical passion and advice to drive our products and services forward. I am grateful for Bill's friendship and look forward to continuing to work alongside him to realize our mission to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more

Gates founded Microsoft with Paul Allen in 1975, and he served as CEO until 2000, leaving the reins to Steve Ballmer. Gates continued to serve as chairman of Microsoft's board until 2014 — the same year Nadella took over the CEO role.

Over the years, Gates has continued to focus more on his philanthropic efforts throught the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the Editor in Chief for Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl. Got a hot tip? Send it to

  • Good for him! Do what's best for yourself and others!
  • Not many nicer guys than Bill Gates imo. What he has done for others over the years is amazing. OK had his problems but who dose not. Interesting to see how Microsoft grow without him but just like everything in life things must come to an end. Can't wait to see what he dose next.
  • It is hard to forgive Gates for, well, the 1990's and early 2000's, but he is an excellent businessman when he's not being a monopolist (arguably also when he is) and his charitable work is admirable and of a scale and quality very rarely matched, if at all. The modern PC changed the world in a way that smartphones and tablets never will, and for that we mostly have Bill Gates to thank. Which reminds me, there's a Bill Gates interview/documentary on Netflix I'd like to watch at some point.
  • You should watch it. It is really good.
  • Forgive him of what?
  • Why would Bill Gates leave Microsoft's board of directors now? You would think he’d hold on for another month or two until Surface Duo’s developer’s edition is released.
  • No reason for that. What would that change about anything?
  • Bill is a crazed Captain Ahab when it comes to Microsoft’s mobile ambitions.
  • Didn't he leave before?
  • He did but from being at any official position. But he was in board. Now he is leaving altogether.