With this news:
Microsoft announced Thursday that chairman and co-founder Bill Gates will transition out of a day-to-day role at the company, effective July 2008, to spend more time working on his charitable foundation.
Microsoft's active era comes to a close, and they enter the "big, but not influential" space that IBM entered when Microsoft came on the scene. Gates was able to turn the huge ship that is Microsoft, seemingly through force of will. He clearly has other interests now, and I just don't see Ballmer as the guy to lead Microsoft through the period they are entering. Ray Ozzie has vision, but I don't know that he'll be able to pull the troops along the way Gates - as founder - could.