The computer industry is welcoming Microsoft's promotion of Bill Gates' right-hand man Steve Ballmer to the role of company president after 16 years with the company.
Formerly executive vice president of sales and support, he will relieve Gates from the day-to-day running of the company. This will allow Gates to focus his attention on developing new technologies with chief technology officer Nathan Myhrvold, who is now the only Microsoft employee to report directly to Gates.
Bloor Research analyst Rob Hailstone commented: "There's probably internal politics going on that we don't know about. The whole gamut of service provision has a high technological content, so Gates does need a technology person to report to him. It's really no surprise; after all, he wants to retire by 2005."
However, AMD European market analyst and planning manager Rana Mainee suggested that Gates' step down was a result of the recent trouble the company had experienced with the DoJ. "Bill Gates has been bogged down by the whole DoJ thing and that's why he's moving off," Mainee said. "Now he wants to look at how to develop the computerisation and digitisation of life around us."
Other management changes at the company include the promotion of Jeff Raikes to Ballmer's former role. Raikes has worked in various product and sales groups at the company since 1981.
Other executives formerly at the same management level as Ballmer will now report to him. These include the head of interactive media group, Pete Higgins, chief operating officer Bob Herbold, head of the platforms and applications group Paul Maritz and Bill Neukom, head of legal and corporate affairs.
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