It's never logging out for Gates, Murthy | india | Hindustan Times
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It's never logging out for Gates, Murthy

Both have displayed stark similarities in careers and the parallel paths seem to continue even after their retirement.

india Updated: Jun 18, 2006 17:35 IST

Bill Gates and NR Narayana Murthy -- icons from two distant lands in today's technology-laden world -- have displayed stark similarities in their careers and the parallel paths seem set to continue even after they retire from their two most respected brands in the IT world.

Both Gates and Murthy recently announced their retirement plans, which are as ambitious as their dreams when they set up Microsoft and Infosys companies.

When Bill Gates announced plans of his retirement from his day-to-day operations at Microsoft, the world's largest software maker, memories of Murthy's retirement plans were still fresh in the minds of millions, both IT professionals and those who have literally worshipped the two giants of the IT era for years.

In fact, the similarity dates back to the duo's dreams taking shape on the back of each other, just like their retirement plans.

The two technology giants -- Microsoft and Infosys -- were set up within a week of each other way back in 1981.

While Redmond-based Microsoft Corporation was incorporated on June 25, Infosys Technologies was established in Bangalore on July 2 in the same year.

Besides being legends of the IT industry, the two men have always been known for their philanthropic qualities and when they announced their retirements their beyond-the-board room choice was obvious -- designing software and practising philanthropy.

Both Gates and Murthy have set an example on to make money and also to donate it through their respective charities -- the Bill and Linda Gates Foundation and the Infosys Foundation -- organisations that the two IT czars co-founded with their wives.

While the Gates Foundation undertakes work in global health issues and education, the Infosys Foundation conducts healthcare, education, social rehabilitation and rural upliftment programmes.

Both the legends have in their own words described the picture. Bill Gates said at a conference during his late 2005 India visit that while at one meeting he planned on how to make more money, at another on the same day he discussed ways to give it away.

At the same conference, Murthy said he always believed the real power of money was the power to give it away.

Both Gates and Murthy have said that the commitment to the respective companies, that they founded would continue unabated even beyond their retirement from the day-to-day operations.

Earlier this week Microsoft Corporation announced that its Chairman Bill Gates would step back from his day-to-day role starting July 2008, while other senior executives would step ahead to shoulder the leadership responsibilities.

"I have decided that two years from today, starting July 2008, I will reorder my personal priorities ...I will shift, work full-time at the Foundation, part-time at Microsoft as Chairman and as a senior technical adviser," Bill Gates said.

Prior to Gates' announcement, Murthy said at Infosys' 25th annual general meeting, while striking a note of humility, that he would continue to function as the non-executive chairman, provided the board of directors approve of it at its meeting on July 11, the day when his successor would be decided.

Murthy has expressed his intention to relinquish both the posts he holds, Chairman and Chief Mentor of Infosys, on August 20, his 60th birthday.

"My commitment to the company will continue. However the youth in the company would take over the mantle," he said.

"The two-year transition plan will shift my day-to-day responsibilities to a group of incredible technical leaders who are already doing amazing things at the company," Gates had said.

Earlier, Bill Gates had handed over the Chief Executive's job to Steve Ballmer in 2000 and took up his role as the Chief Software Architech, in order to concentrate on his first love -- developing software.

The two icons of IT industry attribute their success to some defining moments in their lifes. As for Gates it was the opportunity to use a personal computer when he was 13, that led him to believe that IT was his destiny, while for Murthy it was his arrest and subsequent release by Bulgarian authorities that led him to set up an organisation that is respected globally.

While, the two IT stalwarts have followed different business models -- MS follows a royalty-based licencing revenues model and Infy follows a software services model wherein revenues are projected and billed on per-person per hour -- the results have been similar with huge wealth creation for their employees and shareholders alike.

And the two still dream to make it big for their respective brainchilds -- Microsoft and Infosys -- as well as those who need their help beyond the world of software even after logging out from their board-room garbs.