Ballmer Time

Bill Gates Is Now the Dowager Countess of Microsoft

That rug? Terrible.
(Photo: Screencap)

(Photo: Screencap)

We just realized something: He doesn’t have the same ease with a zinger, but at this point in the history of Microsoft, Bill Gates is basically the company’s Dowager Countess.

Think about it. As chairman, he’s long since removed himself from the day-to-day running of the estate, preferring to focus full-time on his philanthropic projects. But like the grand Lady Grantham, he’s still kicking around, keeping one eye on how his successor is faring and forming his own opinion on the troubling remodel of the guest bedrooms, not that you asked (which you should have).

Hence, this exchange with Charlie Rose, during a recent interview with CBS News:

Charlie Rose: “Are you happy with [current CEO Steve Ballmer’s] performance?”

Bill Gates: “Well, he and I are two of the most self-critical people you can imagine.”

After rattling off a couple examples of what he considers recent successes (Bing and the Surface, if you’re wondering), Mr. Gates concluded: “He and I are not satisfied that in terms of, you know, breakthrough things, that we’re doing everything possible.”

Also, that new carpet in the foyer is just ghastly, and didn’t he recommend you hire the other footman?

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