By People Staff
Updated December 29, 1997 12:00 AM
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Microsoft top dog Bill Gates, 44, the richest man in the world, stepped aside as CEO of the software behemoth Thursday, handing over the day-to-day control to his longtime friend (since Harvard) and underling Steve Ballmer, 43. Gates will stay on as chairman, he said, so he can focus his time on developing future technologies.