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Reactions from blogs and other online sources
"I think it's an improvement. Microsoft has always had the business practice of what's called a fast or slow follower in every major step of their history. All of their major products have been based on other products by other companies. Now, they've run out of taillights."
-- Mark Anderson
"The transition of founder and chief software architect Bill Gates out of daily operations over the next two years is a negative for Microsoft in our view. Having said that, the transition has effectively been under way for several years. ... Mr. Gates' delegation of this critical visionary role to Ray Ozzie was an important step in broadening responsibilities beyond himself in the organization."
-- Analyst Rick Sherlund
"This is the beginning of a major change of the guard at Microsoft. This probably heralds one of the biggest changes in the firm that it's ever experienced."
-- Analyst Rob Enderle
"The challenge is not about Microsoft's profitability or making money. They'll continue to make billions. Do they lead the future direction of information technology or not? That is slipping away."
"Ozzie has been at Microsoft for more than a year. He is well respected by other executives and within the industry. I just don't know if other employees will follow him as closely as they will follow Bill Gates."
-- Analyst Matt Rossof
"Microsoft and Bill Gates are synonymous. This is an indication that going forward that Microsoft will be a very different company than what we're used to."
-- Analyst Tim Boyd
"With Microsoft, Bill transformed an industry. Post-Microsoft, he'll try to transform world health and education. As inconceivable as it may seem, the work he does from here on may determine his ultimate legacy more than anything he did with computers."
-- Paul Andrews
"I think the real question is 'Why did he stay so long?' as opposed to 'Why is he leaving now'? This is a move a long time coming, and there's still two years more to transition. Overall, while it's likely to have impact, it's not likely to be disruptive."
Michael Gartenberg, analyst with Jupiter Research
"In some ways, Bill epitomizes the desktop software model. So there is something timely about his transition when the Web is poised to potentially change desktop software's relevance. ... For Ray and other Microsoft executives, the challenge will be either reinventing the company for the Web or binding more of the Web's utility to desktop software."
-- Joe Wilcox, analyst with Jupiter Research
"As of now, Microsoft stock is surprisingly quiet given the announcement that Bill Gates will step down. It should probably be going down. Ozzie is smart but not in the same class as Bill Gates. And it's really Ballmer that needs to go."
-- Joel Spolsky, former Microsoft employee and founder of New York City-based Fog Creek Software
"No matter what you think of Microsoft, there is no denying that Bill Gates has impacted his industry like few have before him. Whether the impact is good or bad is open for debate. Regardless, his philanthropic work may prove to leave a far greater legacy."
-- Andrew Carter, former Microsoft employee and software developer
"I don't see the other multibillionaires — Google guys, RedHat guys, [Oracle Chief Executive Larry] Ellison, [Apple Computer CEO Steve] Jobs, etc. — stepping up to the plate and making any commitment EVEN CLOSE to the level he has. All I see those guys doing is buying fighter planes, boats, sports teams and big houses. Good luck Bill!"
-- A post on Slashdot, an online technology forum that often pokes fun at Microsoft
"Maybe Gates knows he can do more good to the world with his foundation — where he's invested over half of his fortune — than with that lumbering behemoth, Microsoft."
-- Silicon Valley gossip site Valleywag
"OK, I'll admit it, if there was going to be a senior leadership change, this isn't the one I would have opted for first. I feel a bit like the guy on 'Let's Make a Deal' who just got the elephant instead of the trip to Europe. Wall Street seems to have been thinking the same way since the stock was up on the rumor but down on the news."
-- MSFTextrememakeover, a Microsoft employee blog
"Wow. It looks like the internal grapevine was right. That explains all the press Ray has been getting as the savior of Microsoft."
-- Dare Obasanjo, from an employee blog
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