I think this will ultimately be good for Microsoft and for consumers.
As CEO, Gates was in his element. He is an incredible businessman, and his decisions moved Microsoft from an obscure developer of BASIC interpreters to the world-dominating operating system powerhouse.
But ever since he left that position to focus on technology decisions, Microsoft has started slipping. Ballmer (the current CEO) is not that good a businessman, and Gates is far too visionary to be designing commercial products (at least not if they will be stable, ship on-time and on-budget.)
Disgruntled Microsoft employee blogs have been saying this sort of thing for a while, and they do a better job of explaining than I do, so I won't go into all the details. Suffice it to say that while Gates loves technology and stays up to date on all the latest innovations, he seems unable to recognize when a cool feature is too complicated to be implemented in a consumer product, and he's unable to recognize when a product (Windows) has grown too complicated to work on without radical reorganization.
Hopefully, he will be replaced by someone with a little less vision (but not a lot less), and a lot more experience with management of large software development projects.