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Bill Gates at the 2019 New Economy Forum on November 21, 2019 in Beijing, China. Photo: Hou Yu/China News Service/VCG via Getty Images

Microsoft's Bill Gates stepped down from the company's board of directors on Friday to focus on philanthropy in arenas like global health and education.

The big picture: It's been a slow, long exit for Gates who has devoted more of his time to humanitarian efforts for more than a decade. He handed over the CEO reins 20 years ago and left full-time employment with the company more than a decade ago.

  • Gates will continue to advise CEO Satya Nadella and other Microsoft leaders, the company said Friday.
  • He announced in 2006 that he would leave full-time Microsoft employment as of July 2008.

Our thought bubble: Though Gates has stepped away from most of his duties at Microsoft, he has remained an advisor on key projects, strategic direction and is a major shareholder.

What they're saying:

“The board has benefited from Bill’s leadership and vision. And Microsoft will continue to benefit from Bill’s ongoing technical passion and advice to drive our products and services forward. I am grateful for Bill’s friendship and look forward to continuing to work alongside him to realize our mission to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more."
— Satya Nadella said Friday

Go deeper... Bill Gates: Coronavirus is "a lot like the once-in-a-century pathogen" we've feared

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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The electric vehicle revolution is underway, led by the un-sexiest of plug-in models: the commercial truck.

Why it matters: Growing demand for cleaner trucks means 2021 will be a pivotal year for electric vehicles — just not the kind you might have expected.

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Data: Department of Labor; Chart: Axios Visuals

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By the numbers: As of Nov. 14, 20.2 million Americans were receiving unemployment benefits of some kind, including more than 13.4 million on the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) programs that were created as part of the CARES Act and end on Dec. 26.

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The top candidates Biden is considering for key energy and climate roles

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has urged President-elect Joe Biden to nominate Mary Nichols, chair of California's air pollution regulator, to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: The reported push by Schumer could boost Nichol's chances of leading an agency that will play a pivotal role in Biden's vow to enact aggressive new climate policies — especially because the plan is likely to rest heavily on executive actions.