Gates says retirement from Microsoft means he'll still be around

Bill Gates is scheduled to retire from Microsoft on July 1, shifting his efforts over to his namesake foundation. But Wednesday night at the Wall Street Journal's D conference, Gates clarified what he means by "retirement."

In an informal question-and-answer session before his keynote with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer during which the Windows 7 multi-touch interface was briefly demoed, Chairman Bill Gates said that he'll continue to spend 20 percent of his time on Microsoft projects. The remaining 80 percent of his time will be dedicated to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation -- a swap from the 20 percent he devotes currently.

According to CNET's Dan Farber, who first reported on the Q&A, Gates will continue to work some of the week from his office on the Microsoft campus, and spend time on the next version of Office and natural interfaces such as voice and touch.

Gates' primary focus during his 20% Microsoft time, however, will be on search. Even without Yahoo, the Microsoft chairman says his company will build the best search -- a bold claim considering the problems Microsoft has encountered even holding steady in a market dominated by Google.

Another pet project of Gates for his 20% time? He wants to completely map out the African continent.

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