People seem to be making a big deal about the announcement that Bill Gates will be retiring from active involvement in Microsoft to concentrate more time on his foundation and surfing the Internet, which he thinks might be really big in the future. Here are a few reasons why it really won't make that much difference, at least for a while.
- Any "new" Microsoft without Gates will always be backwards compatible to the "old" Microsoft. Except when it's not.
- Although Bill Gates announced that he would be retiring in two years, there are sure to be delays in the transition schedule and the date of his retirement will probably be postponed many times. In fact, it may never happen at all.
- It is also possible that Gates may be retired prematurely before all the bugs are worked out. Microsoft may decide to go through a retirement beta testing phase to work out these bugs. Even when Gates does officially retire, there may still be problems, so he may be forced to announce his Retirement 2.0, although you can be sure new problems will then crop up, some of which, but not all, will be fixed in the Second Edition of Retirement 2.0, followed by some patches.
- The entire retirement process may be scrapped and a new retirement process may be started from scratch. This retirement process may then be abandoned after a year and Microsoft would go back to the first retirement process.
- While some fear that Gates' retirement might spark a mass exodus of talent from Microsoft, this will probably not happen soon. More than likely his retirement package will become so bloated that it will hog most of Microsoft's resources. This will make it difficult for others to retire while Gates is retiring.
- His retirement may be delayed by CEOs of other companies trying to retire. They may complain that Gates has an unfair monopoly on retirement. At this point the Justice Department may have to get involved to analyze the impact of his retirement on the CEOs of other companies. The European Union may decree that he cannot retire.
- Other companies may also complain that the "look and feel" of Gates' retirement package is eerily similar to the retirement packages of their CEOs, which might cause some delays while this is litigated. Microsoft will claim that any apparent similarities are superficial.
- Gates' retirement may cause Microsoft's stock to crash causing you to lose any profits that you have not saved. Don't worry. This is a normal part of the retirement process. In the future you may want to save your profits more often in case the stock crashes again. Microsoft will not be responsible for any profits lost.
- Gates' retirement is going to be a very slow process. Get up, make yourself a cup of coffee. Make yourself two cups of coffee. Chances are when you get back to your desk, Gates still won't be retired. In fact, the entire retirement process may get hung up and have to be restarted again from the beginning.