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Microsoft Investigated Bill Gates' Relationship With an Employee Before He Quit the Board

Image Credits: Reuters

Image Credits: Reuters

The employee, an engineer at the company, confirmed over a letter to have been in a relationship with Gates "over years."

A week after Bill Gates and his wife announced divorce, different allegations of affairs and Gates’ private life have come to light. Board members at Microsoft Corp. made a decision in 2020 that it wasn’t appropriate for its co-founder Bill Gates to continue sitting on its board as they investigated the billionaire’s prior romantic relationship with a female Microsoft employee that was deemed inappropriate, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal. Citing unnamed sources, The Wall Street Journal reported online Sunday that board members looking into the matter hired a law firm in late 2019 to conduct an investigation after a Microsoft engineer alleged in a letter that she had a sexual relationship with Gates over several years. The Journal reported that Gates resigned before the board’s investigation was finished.

An unnamed spokeswoman for Gates acknowledged to The Journal that there was an affair almost 20 years ago, and that it ended “amicably." The spokesperson told The Journal that “his decision to transition off the board was in no way related to this matter." When he left Microsoft’s board last year, Gates said he was stepping down to focus on philanthropy.

Microsoft told The Associated Press that it “received a concern in the latter half of 2019 that Bill Gates sought to initiate an intimate relationship with a company employee in the year 2000. A committee of the Board reviewed the concern, aided by an outside law firm, to conduct a thorough investigation. Throughout the investigation, Microsoft provided extensive support to the employee who raised the concern."

The employee, an engineer at the company, confirmed over a letter to have been in a relationship with Gates “over years."

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Gates, who founded Microsoft in 1975, resigned from his post as CEO in 2000, saying he wanted to devote more time to his foundation. He denounced his full-time role at Microsoft later in 2008.

Bill Gates’ biographer James Wallace, who wrote two books on the Microsoft founder in the 1990s, has revealed that Gates used to host strippers in some “wild parties" back in the day. Wallace now wonders whether Gates will resume his partying, now that his marriage with Melinda is over. In an interview, Wallace claimed that it was wrong to assume that Gates was a “choir boy" during his early days. The 74-year-old said, “A lot of those Microsoft kids back then, they were young guys in pizza-stained t-shirts for two or three days working on software code. Then they would have some pretty wild parties, where they would go out and get strippers in Seattle and bring them over to Bill’s home."

He added, “He wasn’t a choir boy back then, he wasn’t just this little computer nerd. He did have a life back then."

(With inputs from AP)

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first published:May 18, 2021, 14:44 IST