Gates Retires From Microsoft With a Philanthropic Vision

Bill Gates saved his first public display of emotion for his last day on the job. During his farewell speech at Microsoft today, Gates wiped away tears as his employees honored him with a standing ovation.

Pankaj Ojhe, a Microsoft employee, spoke with ABC News today.

"He will always be with us, even if he is not coming to the office," she said. "We will always get inspired because of our office ideals and values."

Another Microsoft employee shared a story about sharing an elevator with Gates on the employee's first day of work, almost knocking down the iconic figure.

Gates has been the driving force in the computer world since he founded Microsoft more than 30 years ago. As a brash 28-year-old college dropout, Gates was an early e-mail user and developed a vision that computers would change the world.

"I don't think people really understand what a revolution personal computers are causing," Gates said, long before people were aware of his potential.

Matthew Miller of Forbes magazine had nothing but praise for Gates.

"Bill Gates is almost single-handedly responsible for putting a computer or two computers in every single household in the United States and, really, around the world," said Miller.

As Gates revolutionized the world's computers with the advent of Microsoft, Gates' net worth sky rocketed.

When Microsoft went public in 1986, the 11-year old company was worth $315 million, rising to $2.5 billion at the launch of Windows.

Since his peak, Gates has donated billions of dollars to humanitarian causes, shrinking his own worth to $58 billion. This is Gates' first year since 1995 that he has not been the richest man in the world.

Despite his early retirement, Gates' ambitions moving forward in this new chapter of his life are enormous. He seeks to use his fortune not to wipe out computer viruses, but epidemics like malaria and AIDS.

Barb Elliot, a Microsoft employee, expressed her confidence in Gates' decision to focus on philanthropy.

"I am just delighted that he's going off to do what he's doing," she said. "It's terrific. I can't think of a better person to put in a position with that much money to solve social problems around the world."

Despite his retirement, Gates affirmed his deep love for software and programming.

"My primary life's work was writing software. That's what I was thinking about from the age of 13," Gates said.

As Gates embarks into charity work full-time, he has the potential to change the world -- again.

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