As he starts work advising Microsoft's new CEO Satya Nadella on products, Bill Gates described his role to a Reddit chat group as also including agenda writing and setting performance standards, roles generally associated with the CEO.
His message on products: get busy making Office in the cloud better and bringing more features to storage in the cloud.Gates told the Reddit Ask Me Anything session that he sees potential to get more out of the Windows operating system, cloud services and improving Office.
"I am excited about how the cloud and new devices can help us communicate and collaborate in new ways. The OS won't just be on one device and the information won't just be files - it will be your history including being able to review memories of things like kids growing up," Gates wrote. "Even in Office there is a lot more that can be done.'
"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."
He says he's thrilled Nadella asked him "to make sure Microsoft is ambitious with its innovations," and that he plans to spend a third of his working time on the task with the rest being spent on his charitable foundation.
With Nadella just finishing his first week on the job as CEO, Gates set himself up as setting goals and seeing they are carried out. "I make sure we pick ambitious scenarios and that we have a strong architecture to deliver on them," he says. "I encourage good work (hopefully)."
While much of the questioning was about his work with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, some of it was more related to technology, including what PC he uses. His answer? "Surface 2 PRO which works well for me," which is a bit of a gaffe since the actual name of the device is Surface PRO 2.
What was his favorite project at Microsoft? Windows comes first, but, "Office was also great." Those two products defined Microsoft's success in the 1990s, he said.
Tim Greene covers Microsoft and unified communications for Network World and writes the Mostly Microsoft blog. Reach him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter@Tim_Greene.
Read more about software in Network World's Software section.
Join the CIO Australia group on LinkedIn. The group is open to CIOs, IT Directors, COOs, CTOs and senior IT managers.