Bill Gates said a teary goodbye on Friday to Microsoft Corp, the software maker he built into the world’s most valuable technology company based on the ambitious goal of placing a computer on every desk and in every home.
He leaves his full-time executive role at Microsoft, which he co-founded with childhood friend Paul Allen in 1975, to focus on his philanthropic organization, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the world’s largest charity, funded in part by his vast fortune.
At an event at Microsoft’s headquarters campus here, Gates, who will become a non-executive chairman and work part-time, joined Chief Executive Steve Ballmer on stage to deliver a short speech and field questions from employees.
“There won’t be a day in my life that I’m not thinking about Microsoft and the great things that it’s doing and wanting to help,” said Gates, who wiped away tears as the group of employees rose to give him a standing ovation.
Ballmer, a Harvard University classmate who joined Microsoft at Gates’ behest, got choked up as he tried to describe Gates’ impact on the company and society at large.
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