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TheStreet Open House

Bill Gates Wants to See Commitment to the Cloud

NEW YORK (TheStreet) - Microsoft's (MSFT) founder and "technology advisor" Bill Gates said on in a Reddit conversation that he believes the company's cloud computing offerings have "a LOT of potential" as Satya Nadella, a longtime executive, takes the reins of the company from outgoing CEO Steve Ballmer.

Gates said in a Reddit thread he believes Microsoft's office connected to the cloud is off to a good start, adding Cloud Storage needs to be "a lot richer." Those comments, taken from an about hour-long Reddit conversation, indicate that the Microsoft founder may focus his efforts on cloud computing as he takes an more active role with the company, devoting a third of his time to product work.

After spending years and billions on the roll-out of Microsoft Office 365, Gates also said a lot more could be done.

Earlier in February, Gates stepped down from the chairmanship of Microsoft's board of directors and took a new role as "founder and technology advisor." The role is expected to make Gates more active in Microsoft's product development. He will also assist incoming CEO Satya Nadella, as he works to map out a refined strategy for Microsoft.

"I was thrilled Satya asked me to pitch in to make sure Microsoft is ambitious with its innovation. Even in Office there is a lot more than can be done," Gates said on Reddit on Monday afternoon.

Gates' comments also indicate Nadella will have freedom to make changes to Microsoft, which has struggled to get some customers and investors behind its newest software offerings and in its efforts to build tablets and smartphones.

"Satya is taking a fresh view of where Microsoft is - strengths and weaknesses. A new person gets to step back and change the focus in some ways. He is off to a great start," Gates said.

In some respects, Gates also indicated he believed Nadella may have the opportunity to fully realize the potential of Microsoft's current product offering.

"The Windows project which required a lot of patience was great. Office was also great. Together they defined the big success of the 1990s for Microsoft. Office connected to the cloud has a LOT of potential and we are off to a good start. Cloud Storage needs to be a lot richer though," Gates said.

Microsoft shares were rising less than 1% on Monday afternoon trading at $36.72. Shares in the company have gained over 33% on the past 12-months.

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