Bill Gates Leaves Microsoft and Berkshire Boards
Bill Gates is leaving Microsoft's board, 45 years after co-founding the company with his childhood friend Paul Allen. Gates also announced that he is stepping down from the board of Berkshire Hathaway, led by his friend and philanthropic partner Warren Buffett.
Gates, 64, wrote in a post on LinkedIn that he is leaving the boards "to dedicate more time to philanthropic priorities including global health and development, education, and my increasing engagement in tackling climate change. The leadership at the Berkshire companies and Microsoft has never been stronger, so the time is right to take this step."
However, he hasn't severed his ties with Microsoft completely. The company says Gates will continue to serve as a technology adviser to CEO Satya Nadella and other Microsoft leaders.
Microsoft "will continue to benefit from Bill's ongoing technical passion and advice to drive our products and services forward," Nadella said in a statement, crediting Gates for founding the company "with a belief in the democratizing force of software and a passion to solve society's most pressing challenges."
Shares of Microsoft are down 3 percent in after-hours trading, following the announcement.
Gates is still closely associated with the company in the mind of the public, but in reality he has been gradually unwinding his connections to Microsoft as he has shifted his focus to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and his Gates Ventures private office.
"With respect to Microsoft, stepping down from the board in no way means stepping away from the company," he wrote in his post. "Microsoft will always be an important part of my life's work and I will continue to be engaged with Satya and the technical leadership to help shape the vision and achieve the company's ambitious goals. I feel more optimistic than ever about the progress the company is making and how it can continue to benefit the world."
Today's announcement comes 20 years after Gates stepped down as Microsoft CEO, after a bruising antitrust battle with U.S. regulators battered his reputation and left the company struggling to compete with a new generation of technology giants. Gates continued working at the company until 2008, when he left his day-to-day duties as chief software architect.
He remained Microsoft chairman until 2014 and had been on the board since then.
In the meantime, both Microsoft and Gates have experienced a renaissance. The company has risen back into the ranks of the world's most valuable companies. Gates has emerged as an outspoken leader in global health and science, sounding the alarm over the potential for a devastating pandemic and helping to fund potential solutions many years before the current spread of the novel coronavirus and the disease COVID-19.
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With an ambitious goal to building the Youtube of audio, Los Angeles-based Vurbl announced Monday it has closed its $1.3 pre-seed round with lead investor AlphaEdison with participation from Halogen Ventures and Ten13. The funds will be used to launch a platform later this year with millions of pieces of audio and podcasts.
"We know how user generated content works, we know how social and SEO work, we know how digital advertising work, and most importantly, we keenly understand the particular way you must stitch them all together to make a great UX for listeners, creators AND advertisers," founder and CEO Audra Gold wrote in an email to dot.LA.
As opposed to audio streaming companies such as Spotify and Luminary which have spent millions acquiring shows, Vurbl plans to differentiate itself by providing mostly cheaper user-generated content. It says it will also be the first scaled open market, realtime programmatic audio ad platform, doing for audio what has been so lucrative for video on Youtube.
"Because of this, Vurbl is poised to revolutionize the world of digital audio advertising," Gold said.
Gold previously founded Product N, a product management consulting and recruitment firm, and led product teams at Rubicon Project, The Mighty, Pluto TV, Fourthwall Studios and Defy Media (formerly Break Media). She also held senior product roles at WeddingChannel/TheKnot, Viviendi Universal's online division, and IGN.com.Apple owns the dominant podcasting platform even though audio is low on its list of priorities. Spotify has been on a spending spree to acquire more big name podcasts like Joe Rogan. Luminary raised more than $160 million to fund a subscription model with a hefty marketing budget but has burned through cash and struggled to attract subscribers.
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I deeply appreciate David's approach to life and work. On this episode of LA Venture, hear Fleck talk about founding FreeFlow in order to invest in startups coming out of Caltech that have the potential to improve our world.