To ask what impact Bill Gates has had on computing is, in a way, too small a question. For millions of people in the nearly four decades since he co-founded Microsoft, Gates has defined the entire field.

Whether browsing the Web on Internet Explorer on a PC running Windows or working up a PowerPoint presentation with Microsoft Office before taking a break to game on the Xbox, there are many among us whose entire digital experience have been filtered through products Gates helped create.

On Tuesday, Gates took what may be his final step away from leadership of Microsoft. With the announcement that Satya Nadella, a 22-year veteran of the company, will take over as CEO, the company also said Gates is stepping down as chairman of its board of directors.

Gates co-founded the company with Paul Allen in 1975 but stepped down as CEO in 2000. He then spent eight years as Microsoft’s chairman before stepping away from full-time work there in 2008 to focus on his charitable work through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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