"No," Gates said and stopped speaking. "Steve (Ballmer) might give a more nuanced answer."
Gates said he knew the question would come up on stage and that he wouldn't have more to say. "You won't see me answer since it's all up to Steve."
The chairman did have a little more to say, such as whether his new job would mean more time with his family.
"In a small way," he said, saying that in addition to dropping his kids off at school three days a week as he does now, he'll be able to pick them up some of the time.
But he noted that giving away $3 billion a year is a major undertaking.
I asked him about whether the spike in gas prices is helping in some ways by drawing more attention to the energy challenges.
While there may be some increased attention, Gates said, it pales in comparison with the increased suffering. He noted that while most Americans see higher gas and food prices, the consequences are even greater for the world's poor.
Farmers get caught in a negative cycle where they use less fertilizer, get lower crop yields, and thus have even less to spend, he said.
"It is a very tough situation," he said.