That’s what Charles Schwab says here. IMHO that would be a colossal mistake on the part of Gates, for more than one reason:
- the factor that put Bill Gates in a class of its own among all other tech founders-turned-billionaires was his hunger. The guy was hungry even when he was the world’s richest man several times around. He kept running Microsoft like a startup until it became impossible. He tried staying as CTO, but I’m not surprised that, being a man of superior intelligence, he called it quits and went on to something entirely different where – again – he can change the world. Microsoft has in the meanwhile become if possible even more bureaucratic, slow and, sadly, irrelevant. There is simply no incentive for him.
- Schwab thinks “Jobs fixed Apple, Gates can fix Microsoft”. In thinking this he demonstrates how little he understands these people. Jobs did not fix Apple, Jobs healed a deep wound cut in his own self-esteem when Apple threw him out. Carrying AAPL to unheard-of heights was a side effect which no doubt Jobs noticed, but did not give a rat’s ass about.
- Microsoft is beyond recovery – like almost all tech wonders, it’s a one-trick pony whose trick was phenomenally successful but did eventually run its course. To my knowledge, IBM is the only tech company who successfully performed several transitions (some of which not without great risk and disruption).
- Warren Buffet says he won’t. And he’s always right.
I wish the shrewd Bloomberg journalist would instead ask Schwab how much MSFT they and their clients hold: the only one effect such an announcement might have is a powerful spike in MSFT whose value is stuck between 25 and 40 since immemorable time. Let it hit 60 and see how fast these “long term investors” unload.