Why Bill stepped down

He wants to run for president -- and a cornucopia of other "top 10" reasons from our e-mailbag.

Published January 18, 2000 5:00PM (EST)

Thanks to the hundreds of you who responded to our call for further entries to our Top 10 reasons Bill Gates stepped down, we're delighted to be able to provide you with this follow-up, carefully culled from your suggestions and submissions.

Responses clustered in a few predictable areas, some already mapped out in our original list: Gates wants out before the Justice Department breaks up Microsoft; Gates hears the hooves of Linux thundering at his gate; Gates is overwhelmed with Mac envy or Steve Jobs envy or Steve Case envy.

Many of you apparently feel that Gates is, in one form or another, the Antichrist or the Evil One -- or maybe a Faustian figure in cahoots with same. There are a lot of unkind thoughts out there about Bill's personal hygiene, which we have omitted (not because of excessively high standards of taste but because they're not that funny). We received many suggestions that the cream-pie-in-the-face incident lies at the heart of Gates' decision. Finally, a surprising number of you seem to think Gates is prepping a presidential run.

Joke? With this year's roster of candidates, who can really say?

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

He finally realized that he had absolutely no idea what he is
doing running Microsoft.

-- Jon LaBass

Bill Gates wants to decide what piece of today's Microsoft he will get
instead of being told what piece he gets. With his percent of shares in
MSFT on the day the courts call it splits, Bill will be able to chose
where he wants to go today.

-- Douglas LaRue

Because of the DOJ, he can't stay head of the "dream team" for much
longer. So he's biding his time until his hostile takeover of
AOL Time Warner comes to fruition.

-- Philip Brown

He discovered AOL chatrooms. =)

-- unsigned

He decided he wants to be president so he can fire the Justice Department.

-- Sylvia Hawley

1) Needs time to reinstall Windows 98 on his laptop.

2) Outlook crashed and instead of admitting he lost the next quarter's
numbers, he quit instead.

-- Chris J. DiBona

1) After 44 years in beta, Gates' Real Life (tm) is ready to launch.

2) Hard to find an answer to daughter when she asked, "Daddy, what do
you do at work?"

-- David E. Romm

Finally wanted to figure out how to convert Hotmail from FreeBSD to
Microsoft products. ;)

-- Mark Price

To help code the KDE project and implement the "start" button.

-- Kevin M.

He can only be CEO of one company; he can be the chairman of the board of many.

-- unsigned

Realized that software is a young man's game.

-- Dale Kirby

He wants to spend some time catching up on Bill Gates jokes.

-- Michael South

Because watching "South Park: The Movie" freaked him out: What if some
cartoon character really does execute him because of the bugs in Windows

-- Ted Cashin

1) His home planet is calling him back.

2) After telling CNBC that "we are not a monopoly because someone in a Silicon
Valley garage could be coming up with innovations to challenge," decides to
spend full time buying all the Silicon Valley garages.

-- Bob Sassone

Wants to find the guy that stuck the pie in his face and cream him.

-- Doug Markham

He wants to laugh at Ballmer's face when he gets hit with a pie.

-- Roberto Breve

He discovered on Jan. 1 he was not Y2K compliant.

-- James Thurston

Just now realized that all those zeros on his bank balance
were for REAL!!

-- John N. Bryan

Got tired of pizza delivery people demanding their tips in the form of
stock options.

-- Dave Solomon

Decided it was time to pursue a career in antitrust law.

-- Sean Sullivan

Microsoft: been there, done that, have the shirt.

-- Alex Irvine

1) If things go worse with the antitrust case Gates, as the biggest shareholder, can now come back and say, "The CEO's head has to roll" without cutting his own head off.

2) He wanted to allow Ballmer to be able to
say with a straight face, "It's a whole new company. That Gates guy
didn't understand the antitrust laws and see, he's not CEO as a

3) He couldn't stand Steve Case getting as much press.

-- Gerry H. Goldsholle

Midlife crisis. When you're 44, and you realize you only have $80
billion, you have to decide what you really want to do with your life.

-- R. Weisman

Needs more time to play with his iMac.

-- Jon Glazerman

He is addicted to playing ms-monopoly.

-- Henti

Hopes that having a CEO with the same first name as that of Apple's would be viewed as an innovation.

-- Unsigned

If Win2000 crashes at a demo -- perhaps while trying to connect to a USB server ;-) -- it won't be him who people laugh at.

-- Christian Stocker

He wants to give his ego a rest for a few years while he starts a
few of his own pet technology companies. He'll do this until Microsoft is
a rusting hulk of the company it once was. Then he wants to bring the
company back from the dead a few years later with new ideas and color -- oh,
never mind. Different guy.

-- Ryan McBeth

Diapers! Diapers! Diapers!

-- William Peschel

He lost the CEO position in a New Year's poker game.

-- Timothy Locke

He wanted to pursue his career as an actor on the new show "Freaks and Geeks."

-- Dennis John Anthony

Bill is going to work with GM to develop a start button for stopping the car.

-- Carl van Opstal

Found a weird computer from 1980 he had forgotten to port Basic to.

-- Tor Iver Wilhelmsen

Got a job at Home Depot where he can "finally sell some *real* windows,

-- William A. Bryan

Wanted more time to work on becoming a Pokemon Master.

-- Joseph Lerch III

Time to tinker with his config.sys and autoexec.bat files.

-- anonymous

Considering Bill's wealth and age, the answer is very basic and can be
answered with another question: Wouldn't you?

-- R.J. Rossi

The smartest bail out first.

-- Richard Storey

You know how rats will jump off a ship just before it sinks?

-- Adam Schumacher

1) Wants to manage an open-source version of MS Bob, "Bobzilla."
2) Figures Justice Dept. would be more sympathetic to a bald guy.

-- Ron Monroe

Two words: Swing dancing!

-- Cindy North

Answer all his e-fan mail.

-- Norman Levin

Mrs. Gates finally finished his "Batman" suit.

-- John Graybill

I think it's a bit like the time when Deng Xiao Ping stepped down as
president of China, while remaining chairman of the Communist Party and
commander in chief of the armed forces. And Gates is starting to look a
little bit like Deng too ...

-- Don Huesman

To go work in the mailroom at Transmeta.

-- unsigned

Spend more time playing poker with Ellison, McNealy and Barksdale.

-- Microsoft Alumni, D.C.

Was approaching the maximum number of digits Quicken
could handle.

-- Joshua

He didn't step down; he performed an illegal operation and crashed.

-- Jeffrey Whitmore

He encountered a segmentation fault and is restarting in protected mode.

-- Unsigned

By Salon Technology Staff

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Department Of Justice Microsoft