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Emotions Run High In Bill Gates' Farewell Speech

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates and CEO Steve Ballmer were nearly overcome with emotion Friday during an event to commemorate Gates' last day as a full-time Microsoft employee.

hear his voice crack with emotion

According to Seattle Post-Intelligencer reporter Todd Bishop, who attended the event and posted audio of the speech, both Gates and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer both struggled to hold it together as Ballmer presented Gates with a farewell gift: scrapbook of photos and memories.

"Even the times that were the toughest, in some ways, those are the ones that bond you the most," Gates told the gathering of some 800 employees. "You know, when IBM decides to attack you, or when some legal ruling isn't quite right, and you have to have a press conference afterwards."

Gates urged employees to realize that the work they do has a long term impact on the world, and said that he takes special pride in seeing blind people using the Internet as a result of the accessibility improvements Microsoft has made to its software over the years.

In the end, though, Gates said the overriding memory he'll take from his time at Microsoft is the fun he had coming to work every day.

"You've made it so much fun for me. There won't be a day when I'm not thinking about Microsoft and the great thing that it's doing, and... wanting to help," Gates said.

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