Bill Bows Out

After a week of taping the show I co-host for Discovery's Planet Green network (G Word, with me and SuChin Pak) I'm back in action here at CBS. But as I return to one job, Microsoft's co-founder Bill Gates is leaving his. Well, sort of. Friday is his last day as chief software architect, but he'll still remain chairman of the board and the company's largest shareholder. Plus, I'm sure he'll keep Steve Ballmer (Microsoft CEO) on speed dial.

As the third-richest man in the world (according to Forbes) Gates will surely have enough money -- and time -- to do whatever he wants in the years ahead. Obviously he leaves behind a huge legacy and has amassed an enormous fortune. He says his main focus will be the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Look for a story about his remaining days at Microsoft on the CBS Early Show either tomorrow or Friday. In the meantime, check out this surprisingly hilarious spoof of Gates' last day courtesy of Microsoft at this year's CES. (Rapping with Jay Z? Priceless.)

On a personal note, I've interviewed Gates on two occasions -- once with CNN and once with CBS. Both times he was perfectly professional and pleasant, if slightly stiff in his presentation. But during the last Comdex in 2003 I encountered Gates walking the show floor with some co-workers (security guards?) looking slightly casual and wearing a ball cap. He stopped to chat with a Japanese company about a new video game peripheral that allowed people to do martial arts moves and see them recreated in a game. I chatted with him and suggested he try it himself. I was shocked when he decided he would; it was quite a sight to see him punching and kicking with this video game. (He may be uber wealthy, but Jackie Chan he is not.) Regardless, he was having a good time and mixing it up with the "regular" folks at the convention. I'll always remember that.

Short entry for now, but more in the days ahead. I'm heading to Sweetwater, TX, tomorrow to work on a story about wind power to air soon on the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric.

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