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Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times reporter Sharon Chan.

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June 27, 2008 11:18 AM

Gates send-off: Teary Bill Gates says goodbye to Microsoft employees

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

An emotional Bill Gates said good-bye to Microsoft in a celebration this morning filled with gauzy memories and a candid assessment of his legacy.

"My life's work really is about software and working with incredible people," Gates said with tears in his eyes. "And I love working with smart people. I love working with Steve. I love working with all the incredible people here."

Today is Gates' last day as a full-time Microsoft employee. He will focus most of his attention now on philanthropy at the helm of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

More than 800 employees, figures from the company's past, family members filled a room in the company's large corporate conference center to watch the event. Other employees watched in cafeterias around the Redmond campus or at their desks on computers in offices around the world.

He was joined on stage by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Gates' close friend, right-hand man and successor. Ballmer said he struggled with an adequate way to mark Gates' departure after 33 years and the creation of an industry -- and the dominant company in it. First, he gave Gates a scrapbook. Then he said an emotional thank you.

He said every individual at Microsoft, "whether you started last week or whether you started 28 years ago," has the opportunity to contribute to society, develop and grow as professionals, to work with the best and the brightest in the world and to prosper personally.

"We've been given a enormous opportunity, and Bill gave us that opportunity," Ballmer said, choking out the words through tears. "I want to thank Bill for that and I want you to, too."

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Posted by Genotx

12:18 PM, Jun 27, 2008

I want to thank Bill also. Although he doesn't know me and I don't know him, his work forged a great career for me in software consulting. Thanks Bill!!

Posted by Genotx

12:20 PM, Jun 27, 2008

I forgot to mention that I am retiring on Monday

Posted by Carol

12:49 PM, Jun 27, 2008

Thanks to Bill and his people, computer operating systems are standardized and available cheaply to everyone - and incredible legacy to leave to the world.

I was in on it from the beginning - the good ol' DOS days.

And thanks from me especially, Bill. Thanks to you and the fabulous career as a software engineer I had, using MicroSoft products, I am now retired, like you, and have a well-financed retirement portfolio and am living the good life. Geeks rule!!

If you ever need anything, send me an email.

Love ya, be happy.

Posted by Marty

1:52 PM, Jun 27, 2008

The second journey is about to begin. Enjoy the good work you and the Foundation are about to do. Thank you for everything, Bill.

Posted by Chandra

2:07 PM, Jun 27, 2008

you are great, Mr. Bill Gates... you changed the face of the world with never ever expected opportunities and the world is so small and with your creativity we are living like Thomas wattson's invention of light to everyone...

you lighted my career and life...

Thank you very much, Bill...

( I do not know you personally, but I know more abt u n MS products...)

Posted by deepinder

3:03 AM, Jun 28, 2008

the best part is that he made billions to give it all away...individuals like bill delay the world from becoming a hell...that it is destined to be someday because of people's greed for more than what they get on their plate and inflated egos...

Posted by Scooter

7:35 PM, Jun 29, 2008

I have read so much of the rhetoric surrounding Bill Gates and his reitrement. He is such a brilliant man. For all of you computer user users, like it or not, he created the best unified system for all of our computers to operate, and talk together, and share information.

He is worth every penny he made, and don't forget, he created a bunch of millionaires/billionaires in the process. I am old enough to remeber when Apple and IBM were going to take over the desktop, but they didn't. Bill Gates had the smarts to buy companies to fill gaps in the operating system. Would you give up Microsoft Office for Sun's Open System. How many Apple users would give up MS Word? Remeber, Bill Gates saved Apple when he announced Microsoft would continue updating Office for Apple.

I may not like Vista as much as I want, but it is running on my computer. I have tried alternative system from Linux, and nothing compares to the ease of using a Microsoft product.

Ultimately, I am sick of hearing people decrying the success of others. I am lower middle class, and I do not harbor any ill will towards Bill Gates and I applaud his success. It is shameful that people are angry at Bill Gates for all of his success, he did it all himself. And now from his wealth he has the opportnity and time to devote to others. If I am jealous of him for anything, it is because he can do this and I can not. Can you think of any others in the last 10 years that are willing to devote not only their money, but their time for philathopic reasons?

Posted by kamara mohamed

7:27 AM, Jul 02, 2008

i do like the way mr bill gate did this thing for the microsoft to be chang to a new man ... an all i ll say is that i got an idea but i need some like you people ..but i dont know how to get all of your address this ma e-mail.

i do want to work 4 microsoft 1 day..
im from west africa and im in texas dallas im workin 4 teleplan irving texas.

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