Fortune magazine is causing a little stir today by dropping a hint that Bill Gates may return to an active role leading Microsoft.
The story’s based on a third-hand, anonymous source, but it taps into the vein of investor discontent with Microsoft’s leadership that’s always good for a burst of Web traffic and lively online comments.
Here’s the relevant bit in the Fortune story:
One prominent chief executive told Fortune he’d heard from someone close to Gates that he might be considering such a move.
Gates directly and unequivocally denied this in a June interview with England’s Daily Mail. He told the paper, “My full-time work for the rest of my life is this foundation.”
The paper continued:
Will he ever return to helm Microsoft?
“No. I’m part-time involved. But this is my job now,” he said, referring to the foundation.
He could change his mind so you never know. But it sounds like a long shot.
UPDATE: Impossibly long shot, according to a Gates spokesman, who said via email that there is no truth to the story.