Is Microsoft (MSFT) co-founder Bill Gates set to resume a bigger role at the software giant? Check the Microsoft News Site and anecdotal evidence sort of suggests Gates -- not CEO Steve Ballmer  -- is running the company. That's not the case, but it sure looks like Gates has a bigger role (or influence) today with Microsoft than he did a year or two ago. Here's why.

When The VAR Guy went looking for Microsoft's official FY13 Q4 Earnings Release, our resident blogger stumbled instead onto the Microsoft News Site. While there, he noticed 18 mentions of Bill Gates' name on that news page. A few of them included:

How many mentions does Steve Ballmer have on the current Microsoft News Site page (as of July 19, 2013 at 6:47pm ET)? The answer is zero.

Admittedly, Bill Gates got a big numbers bump because he recently spoke at the Microsoft Research Faculty Summit -- generating plenty of Sound Bites for the software giant to promote. 

Where's Steve?

Meanwhile, Ballmer is under fire for Microsoft's weak Q4 2013 earnings results, which included a $900 million Surface RT writeoff. The VAR Guy thinks Ballmer has done a strong job making sure Microsoft embraced cloud computing while also maintaining server momentum. But the desktop, mobile, tablet and smartphone markets have been big areas of weakness for the software giant -- prompting a major business reorganization.

As you may recall, Ballmer assumed the CEO crown from Gates in 2000. Then Gates resigned as Chief Software Architect from Microsoft in June 2008. Gates remains chairman of the company, but he spends most of his time on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Here Comes Bill?

Still, Gates has been getting vocal about Microsoft again -- even defending the Surface tablet strategy in May 2013. Now his name is plastered all over the Microsoft news page at a time when the company needs a healthy dose of vision and execution. 

The VAR Guy can't help but wonder: Is Gates getting ready for some sort of Microsoft management encore?