Ever since he was 17, Bill Gates has known only one thing — Microsoft. That’s where he’s worked his entire life and in just three days, he will walk away from the company he founded and take more of a backseat role (as Chairman) while he works full-time at the foundation he co-founded. We’ve known this was coming for two years, but now that it’s here, it’s hard to believe. He’s done so much for the computer industry and Microsoft, that I’m sure even for him, it’s bitter-sweet to leave.

Recently Channel 9 caught up with Gates and asked him about Microsoft and how it is going to transition into the future. We’re including the interview below because it’s actually pretty interesting. They start out the interview asking Gates how he got to the point where he decided his time would be better spent with the Foundation. Then they went into what the Chief Software Architect does (Gates’ previous role) and why Ray Ozzie was put into this role. Other things they talk about include why Windows is still important in the world we live in where the Internet dominates, why Microsoft is focused on competing with Google, and whether or not Gates will have more free time now that he’s leaving (to which he responded that he didn’t think he’d get much more because the foundation work is very important).

An article over at Forbes suggests that Gates is the first of many people we’ll see over the next several years leave the companies they founded. They point out that four important technology companies including Microsoft, Apple, Dell, and Oracle, are all run by the people that founded them several decades ago. Of course Bill Gates is the first to step aside, and then they suggest Steve Jobs will be next followed by Larry Ellison over at Oracle (he’s now 63) and eventually Michael Dell. What kind of impact will these departures have? For Microsoft, they’ve done enough preparing and planning that come Friday when Gates leaves, we don’t think there should be much of an affect.