Gates chokes up, WEEPS to Microsoft shareholders amid talk of CEO hunt
First Ballmer, now Bill. Who isn't getting tearful at Redmond?
Bill Gates today delivered an emotional speech to the Microsoft shareholders, choking up as he described his history with the company and the search for a successor for his friend Steve Ballmer.
"We've got a commitment to see that the next CEO is the right person, for the right time, for the company we both love," said Gates, with a trembling voice and much throat clearing. "We share a commitment that Microsoft will succeed as a company that makes the world a better place."
Microsoft was unusual, Gates said, in that the company has only had two CEOs in its 38-year history. He said he was pleased with progress so far, but didn't give any indications as to who Ballmer's successor will be – shy and retiring Ballmer is due to step down as Microsoft chief exec next year.
Gates said that ideally the board were looking for someone with experience in leading a technological organization. Microsoft is still scratching the surface of what could be done with computing he asserted.
It's obviously an emotional time for the company. Last week Steve Ballmer gave a tear-streaked interview in which he too got an attack of the sniffles, while recounting that he might have been a problem for Microsoft as the firm seeks to reinvent itself from its desktop roots.
At Tuesday's meeting, Ballmer told shareholders that he was still a major stockholder in the company and would be hanging onto his shares after he stepped down. Microsoft will benefit from the takeover of Nokia, he added, and would offer a range of devices that will ensure the company's long-term success.
"We are focusing on a family of high-value activities," he said, Marketwatch reports. "The questions we ask ourselves are what do people really need. Everybody who works has a real need to be productive."
As the Microsoft meeting was in progress, Nokia announced that its shareholders had voted to accept Redmond's bid for the firm by a margin of 99 per cent. This also frees up Nokia boss Stephen Elop to seek a new position – filling Ballmer's shoes perhaps? ®