Microsoft‘s CEO search and the curious case of Bill Gates

There’s a question being whispered around Microsoft’s sprawling suburban campus: What will Bill Gates do?Gates’s role at Microsoft has been a source of wide fascination since he left his day-to-day responsibilities in 2008. But interest in it has grown in the past few years as Microsoft has stumbled, and it intensified sharply in the weeks since Steve Ballmer announced he would be retiring as Microsoft’s chief executive in the next year.

Many employees and investors fondly remember the company’s heyday under Gates, a towering figure in the tech industry who built Microsoft into a dominant force. And some Microsoft employees say they have noticed Gates around the company’s campus in Redmond, more often since Ballmer’s announcement, leading to speculation — perhaps mixed with a dash of hope — that he might want to assume a bigger role and return the company to its past heights.

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