Starting in July 2008 

The clock is ticking for Microsoft Co-founder and Chairman Bill Gates as he prepares to abandon his day-to-day role with the Redmond company. Back in June 2006, Gates announced a two-year buffer period designed to ensure his smooth transition out of Microsoft. At this point in time, there are less than 10 months until he will dedicate his time and efforts almost exclusively to the global health and education work via the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. As of July 2008, Gates will remain only a Microsoft Chairman and serve as an advisor on key development initiatives.

But until Gates takes on full time his philanthropic endeavors with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Microsoft will achieve a unique milestone. The company’s Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer, forecasted that by mid 2008, the install base for the Windows operating system will hit the 1 billion mark. As the estimates coincide with Gates’ departure from Microsoft, a small part of his original vision of a computer on every desk in every home has already taken form. What next for Microsoft’s co-founder? Well, nothing more than saving the world.

Gates authored an article entitled “Saving the World Is Within Our Grasp” for Newsweek. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has a capital of no less than $62 billion, with Bill and his friend Warren Buffet as the largest contributors. The Foundation plans to spend approximately $3.5 billion per year well after Bill, Melinda and Warren will be dead in order to stretch the resources for nearly 50 years. In the article, Gates underlines the necessity to fight malaria, tuberculosis and AIDS across the world, and save millions of lives in the process.

And Gates will have an ample opportunity to do so. In the image at the top you will be able the see the trio that will remain to lead Microsoft following Gates’ departure. From left to right, the man next to Gates is Chief Research and Strategy Officer Craig Mundie, a new role acquired in June 2006 with responsibilities over incubation and research projects. Next to him is Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie, a title handed over by Gates the past year. Ozzie is responsible for overseeing Microsoft’s technical strategy and product architecture. And on far right, CEO Steve Ballmer.

[Via Softpedia]