Bill Gates today ruled out ever returning to the helm of Microsoft and dismissed harsh barbs by his former arch-rival Steve Jobs.
In an interview with Fairfax Media, Gates said Jobs was driven by the fact that “Microsoft machines outsold his machines by a lot”.
This month Fortune reported rumours that Gates was considering a comeback to Microsoft, the company he founded in 1975 but stepped back from in 2006 to focus full-time on philanthropy.
But speaking in Sydney today, where he is on holiday with his family, Gates said he had made the transition to work full-time at his Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation “and that will be what I do the rest of my life”.
“I’m part-time involved with Microsoft, including even being in touch this week to give some of my advice but that’s not going to change – the foundation requires all of my energy and we feel we’re having a great impact.”
A possible comeback was loosely compared to Jobs, who took the reins at Apple in the late 90s after a decade in the wilderness and saved the company.
Steve Ballmer, who has been Microsoft’s CEO since taking over from Gates in 2000, is widely considered to have missed the significance of what Jobs dubbed the “post-PC era” and Microsoft is now an also-ran in smartphones, tablets and music players.
Gates, who plans to donate nearly all of his money to charity when he passes away, may be just as culpable as Ballmer for missing the new era in computing as he has been quoted questioning the viability of Apple devices like the iPod and iPad.