Gates delivers farewell speech

In an emotional speech to Microsoft employees, the chairman bids farewell to his full-time day job at the Redmond, Wash.-based software company he founded.

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates joins CEO Steve Ballmer at a town hall event Friday, Gates' final day as a full-time Microsoft employee. Microsoft

Bill Gates' farewell speech to Microsoft reminded employees that the company knows how to come from behind as well as to lead.

"In some cases, those are the ones that bond you the most," Gates said, recalling some of the tougher times. "You know when IBM decides to attack you or when some legal ruling isn't quite right, and you have to do a press conference afterward."

Gates, whose voice cracked at times, thanked Microsoft's employees for all of their dedication as he marked his final day as a full-time Microsoft employee. (Note: I was not at the event, but Todd Bishop at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer has posted an audio clip on his blog, from which these quotes are taken).

"You've made it so much fun for me," Gates said. "There won't be a day in my life that I'm not thinking about Microsoft and the great things that it's doing."

For more on the event itself, check out reports from the Seattle P-I and from Reuters.

And for lots more coverage of Gates' transition here at CNET, check out this page, as well as my interview with Gates.

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