Late last week, Microsoft announced that cofounder Bill Gates would finally be taking his exit from the company at some distant date in the future. Maybe. What was really announced? Gates is stepping down from his position as Chief Software Architect, probably because the company failed to ship a single major software product while he held that position. He will move to part-time status in two years, in July 2008. During the intervening years, Gates will begin to focus more on his charitable work for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which he will use to dole out part of his enormous $50 billion fortune to education and health concerns around the globe. Presumably, Gates will eventually retire from Microsoft for good, but the company isn't talking yet. My guess is he won't make it through the end of 2008