Bill Gates opens up about Microsoft management changes

Bill Gates

Bill Gates has revealed CEO Satya Nadella specifically asked him to take up his new technology advisor role at Microsoft to help guide the software giant's future business and product strategies.

Microsoft co-founder Gates made the admission during an Ask Me Anything session on Reddit yesterday.

In a wide-ranging chat with the social news site, during which Gates insisted the only tablet he uses is a Surface Pro 2, he treated readers to insights into his favourite Microsoft products and how his new role at the firm came about.

As reported by IT Pro last week, Gates has relinquished his role as Microsoft chairman to take up the newly-created position of board technology advisor.

I was thrilled Satya asked me to pitch in to make sure Microsoft is ambitious with its innovation. Even in Office there is a lot more than can be done.

In this role, he is tasked with assisting the firm's new CEO with shaping the vendor's future mobile, cloud and business strategies.

During his time on Reddit, Gates claimed he assumed the role at Nadella's request, after one of the site's users asked him what his new job would entail.

"I make sure we pick ambitious scenarios and that we have a strong architecture to deliver on them. I encourage good work (hopefully)," he wrote.

"I was thrilled Satya asked me to pitch in to make sure Microsoft is ambitious with its innovation. Even in Office there is a lot more than can be done," Gates added.

He was later quizzed on how Nadella's management style differs to his own and that of previous CEO Steve Ballmer, but he didn't seem keen on dwelling too much on the past.

"Satya is taking a fresh view of where Microsoft is strengths and weaknesses. A new person gets to step back and change the focus in some ways. He is off to a great start," Gates diplomatically answered.

However, he did shed some light one area he thinks Microsoft could do better at, in response to a question about his "favourite ever" Microsoft projects.

"The Windows project, which required a lot of patience, was great. Office was also great. Together they defined the big success of the 1990s for Microsoft," he stated.

"Office connected to the cloud has a LOT of potential and we are off to a good start. Cloud storage needs to be a lot richer, though," Gates added.

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.