It's probably fair to say that software giant Microsoft has lost its reputation as a stellar provider of leading edge technology that people can't live without.
So to help the company regain some of its luster, a certain former employee who is closely associated with its past success might be applying for a part time post.
Bill Gates could be going to work for one day a week in product development, BloombergBusinessweek reports. Yes, Bill Gates, the guy who co-founded the company back in 1975 and who served as its CEO for a quarter of century until handing the reigns to Steve Ballmer in 2000.
Gates hasn't had a day-to-day role at Microsoft since relinquishing the job of chief software architect in 2008, although he has served as its chairman for 33 years - a non day-to-day position that he might now also chuck.
Even as Bill Gates weighs giving up his title of chairman of Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), he’s poised to remain involved at the company he co-founded in an area of its deepest need: crafting must-have products.
The magazine points out that in Microsoft's earlier years Gates helped develop such innovative wares. One former Microsoftie welcomed the prospect that the 58-year-old could soon offer his hands on expertise, although he questioned whether Gates could successfully apply his touch in a technology landscape that has shifted:
“Bill’s product reviews were legendary, and Microsoft’s products would benefit from his input,” said Todd Warren, a 22-year Microsoft executive who left in 2009. “My concern would be that the tech landscape has shifted away from the PC in recent years."
The news comes as a favorite has emerged to replace CEO Ballmer, who is stepping aside later this year. BloombergBusinessweek reported late last week that 46-year-old Satya Nadella, who runs Microsoft's enterprise and cloud computing operations, now has the inside track. (Update: A couple hours after this story posted, Microsoft did indeed name Nadella as CEO, effective immediately. It also said in a press release that Gates has bowed out of his chairmanship and "will assume a new role on the Board as Founder and Technology Advisor, and will devote more time to the company, supporting Nadella in shaping technology and product direction").
The new CEO might be looking forward to bumping into a pesky 58-year-old product developer in the lunchroom one day a week.
Cover photo is from Michael Carian via Flickr