Leadership

Sanity check: Five things we have learned from Bill Gates

With the Bill Gates era coming to an end at Microsoft, this is the perfect opportunity to look back and examine five preeminent lessons we have learned from the world's greatestcomputer geek.

With the Bill Gates era coming to an end at Microsoft, this is the perfect opportunity to look back and examine five preeminent lessons we have learned from the world's greatest computer geek.

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Whether or not you are a fan of Bill Gates, it is impossible to deny the impact he has made on the spread of computer technology across the planet during the past three decades. Since Friday was Gates' last day as a full-time Microsoft employee, this is the perfect time to look back at five of the most important lessons we've learned from the meteoric, tumultuous, and lucrative career of the world's most famous software engineer.

5. Geeks can be businessmen, too

Before Bill Gates, computer programmers were mostly considered to be a necessary evil for businesses. They were stereotyped as misanthropic weirdos that you stick in dark corners in the back office. However, Gates, became the most successful businessman on earth -- if you judge business success by profits -- and almost singlehandedly transformed the term "geek" from an insult to a badge of honor in the process.

4. You don't have to be first to win

Gates and Microsoft rarely got to the party first with new technologies and innovations, but they were simply better at bringing technology products to the masses than anyone else in the industry. Internet Explorer is the most famous example, but Microsoft Windows, Microsoft Word, and Microsoft Excel are also great examples. Microsoft was merely better at executing. It didn't hurt that Microsoft often had the most resources, but Gates and Co. showed over and over again that they knew how to best take advantage of those resources.

3. Computing will spread everywhere

In the 1980s when the computer was still mostly a novelty, Gates expressed his vision that there would one day be "a computer on every desk and in every home." That vision has nearly become a reality in the U.S. and it's in the process of coming to fruition across the globe. Plus, Gates' vision of the computing experience has continued to inspire the industry in general as well as Microsoft's product plans -- from the smartphone to the Tablet PC to speech recognition to the touch-based interface.

2. Arrogance breeds failure

In the movie Pirates of Silicon Valley, the Bill Gates character says to Steve Ballmer, "Success is a menace. It fools smart people into thinking that they can't lose." He was referring to IBM and the fact that it let Microsoft sneak in and steal the thunder in the launch of the PC. A decade later, Microsoft's own success and arrogance led to its anti-trust defeat to the U.S. government. But Microsoft also remained humble and paranoid enough to always be on the lookout for the next small company that might do to it what it had done to IBM. Some of the most popular targets in its cross hairs: Apple, Netscape, Linux, and Google.

1. Software matters

The one message that Bill Gates spent his career reiterating was that software matters. Gates and Microsoft always believed in the magic of software to create amazing digital experiences. When "Micros-Soft" (as it was originally known) first launched in the 1970s, the computer business was all about the hardware. It was Gates and his vision of what people could do with computers that moved software to the center of the computing experience.

About

Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

222 comments
preet
preet

It was bill gates who brought IT world in limelights and as well as a useful tool to do progress. Due to softwares/tools provided by microsoft, whole world had million of additional jobs, specifically in IT. What bill gates did contribute to IT worlds, I seriously doubt that anyone else will be close to it. Hats off to Bill Gates.

webmaster
webmaster

Does it always have to be black or white? Unfortunately Bill will always be judged as a corporate persona rather than as a man on his own terms. This fact may make you wonder that Steve Jobs and Bill are friends, even when we make them into enemies. I am not a fan of Bill. Nevertheless I am not informed enough to judge most of the accusations leveled at him and Microsoft, but I know this, that Bill did not invent this System, that has at times served him well or that he has manipulated dexterously for his own advantage as his foes will claim and that has at other times made his life difficult. I also know that I feel sorry for the fate of Netscape. They had diamonds. Html, LiveScript (which they in my opinion they foolishly renamed JavaScript, to grab attention), probably the most dominant codes on the web but they did not make a fortune out of it. And we are all using it but who of us is willing to contribute with a periodic donation? Was it just the Internet Explorer that sealed its fate and was Microsoft unscrupulous here? I can not judge it, but I suspect that Netscape was just not clever enough to use the given opportunities present in corporate culture of a modern Nation, although they were no geeks but practical minded and user oriented. Secondly I have also purchased some (generally OEM) software from Microsoft. I never had this feeling ever that I was being fleeced. Despite the low cost of my products the customer service has been consistently VERY HIGH CLASS. One of the best in the world I know of. Together with Warren Buffet, Bill (Bill and Belinda Gates Foundation) is using his wealth in a very laudable way. I for one can not think of anything better at present. In that sense I think this article is a long overdue tribute to a social, political and technological transformer if not a reformer.

depler
depler

We can't argue too much with Jason Hinter's five lessons, all of which have the advantage of hindsight, but what if you're starting out today to make your fortune? Would these be the lessons you'd want to internalize? Are there, perhaps, other lessons that might serve us better? What if BillyG (not to be confused with BillyC) simply executed the lessons of old (think Sun Tzu) better than any of his competition? Which brings us to the question: what would the World look like if everybody emulated BillyG? To explain: When discussing someone as successful as BillyG, it's accepted practice (and the safest) to emphasize the good qualities of "the richest man on earth." But again that's hindsight ... in the beginning ... it should be understood that Bill's goal was NOT to "put a computer on every desk" rather it was to get a reasonable percentage of every consumer's pocketbook ... and ultimately a percentage of the nation's GNP. So how to do that? Two things: technology that scales (think Moore's Law) and "control of the bridge(es)" ... you want to be a "toll taker" to get a percentage of every transaction between the consumer and the manufacturers. The "bridges" of course were the OEMs and the software developer community. Giving the consumer a choice is never a real consideration; you always want to control the available choices (this works in our primary elections as well). In the beginning, big iron (e.g., IBM) and Apple (from Xerox's PARC place), were following the old business models which favored entrenched oligopolies who believed institutional sales were the key to keeping your competition at bay. Institutions, of course, wanted solid platforms suitable for running mission-critical applications on the manufacturing floor, in the laboratory, in the graphic studios, and in education. No way could BillyG gain entry into that club. However, by going directly to the consumer BillyG by-passed all that to eventually gain institutional sales, initially by pressure from the users; later from sound economics. And therein likes the bigger story that resulted in the tolerance of "products that were just good enough" for what was basically a universal secretary/administrator network ... users who were gamers at home but who wanted nice screen savers and animated emails at work. These were user's who could tolerate half-finished products so long as they had pretty screens ... and so long as they had faith that in another year or so, there would be an upgrade that "would make everything better." The point here is that the gamer's mentality was the driving force behind much of BillyG's success. It essentially created an industry when everyone (users/gamers, hardware/software wins ... except maybe for the nation's institutions where real progress was hindered primarily by the social-gaming mentality but also by frequent downtime. In the process, however, a strange thing happened: the world of computing began to accelerate exponentially, driven by tolerant consumers who were, surprisingly, quite willing to buy new hardware/software to get more speed and prettier screens. And so, once the development tools were in place, the notion of "rapid prototyping" took hold in the development community. The necessity of gaining a temporary competitive advantage by staying ahead of the curve was recognized by most companies even when it meant obsoleting their own products ... and for sure a new world was born. Note that more serious applications for industry began to be embedded in functional hardware and now we had REAL progress although much of it was transparent to most. Finally, I'm ready to answer the question initially posed: what would the world look like if everybody emulated BillyG? I would suggest that Bill's real genius was in the use of rapid prototyping to de-emphasize perfection to result only in small mistakes that are easy to correct and never catastrophic ... producing user-desirable products every few years. Think what the world would look like if such a mentality could be achieved in law, politics, medicine, education, and social programs. Think of the benefits of obsoleting things that no longer work for the user/voter in these critical areas every few years? Now THAT would be significant progress! For a better treatise on the technology aspect, read Andy Kessler's little book: How We Got Here; subtitled, A Slightly Irreverent History of Technology & Markets.

ScarF
ScarF

I have nothing to learn from Gates as I have nothing to learn from mediocrity. For anyone who likes to read and see farther than the news flashes, all the presented things are unsustainable and superficially presented. The author come with small ideas far from the real stories as well as from the complete truth. Every thing from the five presented can be the starting point for long debates and presentations before finding that any of it cannot be attached to Gates' name. Personally, I am more than happy that Gates decided to retire. I really hope that Balmer will follow. Then - being an optimist, I hope that the humanity learned something after having to deal with these two unscrupulous individuals, and the things will change to better. Seeing the megalomaniac buildings in Dubai I doubt, though. See you all in better days for the IT.

BALTHOR
BALTHOR

Synth Maker and Synth Edit are the only two programs I have ever seen that can successfully make an exe or a dll and they both wire modules together.

jk2001
jk2001

Gates has also lobbied, hard, for the unlimited H1B visa. That would be a terrible blow to the American programmer's wages. As if the boom-bust cycle isn't bad enough, and the entrance of 100k workers during a recession isn't bad enough. An uncapped H1B would give MS and others a pool of labor who, because of their immigration status, would not have the power to quit working for their "sponsor" (unless they wanted to be deported back to their home country). If these billionaires really need more engineers, why isn't Gates arguing for a GREEN CARD program for engineers? If they are good enough to work in America, they should be entitled to full protections under the law, as future citizens of our country. They don't argue for immigration reform because they want an army of labor that is fully under their control. They want their workers to be second-class-non-citizens-non-residents. Sometimes, these H1B advocates try to paint their opposition as racist. And, sometimes, the anti-H1B-people are racist, and say negative things against India. But, there's really nothing more racist than taking a group of people and keeping them in a second-class status, so they have fewer rights, get paid less, and are put into conflict with their coworkers.

jk2001
jk2001

Gates and Microsoft have had some legal problems. In the late 90s, there was the "permanent independent contractor" problem, when ICs and temps were working at MS for years, inside their offices, during regular business hours. This was against the law. (If you're in this situation, your "client" aka "boss" is breaking the law.) See Vizcaino v. Microsoft. MS has been busted for anti-trust, particularly regarding the bundling of Internet Explorer. The bundling/integration was a problem, but maybe more important than the ability to uninstall IE has been the fact that MS hasn't been able to really preclude another browser from being installed. I believe that if the courts weren't watching, MS would probably have done something to make Firefox run worse inside Windows. See United States v. Microsoft. MS also has a history of pressuring hardware vendors from offering alternative OSs on their computers (often successfully). They did this when companies considered selling DR-DOS as an alternative to MS-DOS. They did it when vendors were offering Linux as an alternative to Windows. These vendors need the MS software, so they go along with MS. MS has also tried to use its market dominance to both embrace-and-extend and copy-and-screw-up Java. They made their own JVM that, on the one hand, allowed programmers to call Windows code (a nice feature), but also contained numerous bugs that would cause java code to fail. I think this is a legal gray area, but, ethically, it's not playing very fair. It's like, if beef sellers got together to open vegetarian restaurants that would deliberately sell bad food, with the intent of convincing the public that vegetarian food was poisonous and beef was safer. Well, it's not quite like that. It's illegal to sell tainted food, but I'm not sure if it's illegal to sell tainted software, which is what Microsoft was doing.

g_machuca
g_machuca

I?ll stick to my first assertion that the guy is a modern day conqueror. The big difference is that his conquest has been/is, in the literal sense, bloodless. Alexander the Great, the Roman Empire, the Church. They weren?t exactly ?nice guys? when they set about their conquests. They were all responsible for a bucket load of dead people and, in the modern sense, ?casualties?. So ? what would happen if MS became the ?mad professor? and decided to bring the whole deck of cards down? Scary isn?t it? Or in another way, all previous ?empires? have collapsed haven?t they?

mikifinaz1
mikifinaz1

Most people don't remember when he used to slum in the user meetings in and around Seattle and rant at users. He was a real pig and all the money in the world hasn't changed him. The PR aside he is just a little more polished, but scratch the image and it is the same old billy.

120529-000107
120529-000107

What I have learned is behind every great fortune seems to be a great crime. In this case the plunder of Xerox's PARC intellectual property. I often wondered why MS couldn't mount a decent graphics printing system or analytical engine -- possibly because the founders of Adobe and other such companies got their first. Gates is a great businessman, not so much as a techie, and even less as a futurist. But, what he doesn't know he can buy -- the principle rule to be learned from this exercize.

jpm007
jpm007

How could Bill Gates have left his company in the hands of Steve Ballmer? Aspiring huckster for infomercials, he simply doesn't look, sound, or act like someone who can lead Microsoft into a successful future. Perhaps the company will not have to worry about decimating its competition with innovation, once all the real geeks leave.

ksady
ksady

And would not want to learn a single shread of information from him. And to those of you who think differently, he thinks Americans are too stupid to hire for his software dev. Here's a word from me in the US to remind everyone of his intellegence. VISTA

The Scummy One
The Scummy One

1. BSOD 2. MS documentation of errors is almost as bad as the senseless errors 3. senseless and incorrect errors -- those errors that pop up telling you something specific is wrong, when it is nowhere near the truth. 4. Software has more bugs than my yard -- before spraying. 5. Put the blame elsewhere. Whenever there is a problem found in your code, place the blame on everyone else. Then you can delay fixes for another 3-6 months.

Redsheep
Redsheep

Try Xerox and Jobs. Gates is probably the world's most successfull ME TOO-er.

dkrause24
dkrause24

Gates did one thing right - he knew how to tap into consumer greed. Starved for a "personal" computing solution, we did it to ourselves, letting him in the front door ... he didn't even have to "sneak" in the back. All he needed do was give us half of what we deserved and then get us to pay for it over and over again while always promising to "fix" things in the next release. Big Blue couldn't get out of their own way and Apple refused to deliver "trash". But Philanthropist Bill just gave us what we clamored for - a half-ass product. So, with the hook set, and the dominos falling, ... the rest is history. I will say that Bill was a good businessman, foregoing ethics to increase the (i.e. "his") bottom line. But I am somewhat envious ... in some small way, I'm upset that I didn't think of this first !

jazzy5
jazzy5

I have to thank Bill Gates for everything he as done for the computer business. If it wasn't for him, only geek will be using computers. He may using a computer easy to use and raise awareness to lean about computer and even computer science. For all those IT people crying how bad is Microsoft and how they stole others people ideas, keep in mind that because of Microsoft you have a job, you got interested in computer and took computer science at school. You did not got there because of Apple, Linux or Lotus or even IBM. You got into the business of computer because of Microsoft plain and simple. All you guys want to be part of the geek comunity that bash Microsoft not knowing why. Most of you are brain dead than can think for yourself and pick a line of some idiot and run with it. Can someone have all the good ideas and only he can push the idea? The answer to this is no! Bill Gates had one idea and sorround himselft with smart people. He did not invented DOS, but was smart enought to recognize the value while the creator was greedy and did not know the value of what he wrote. He just so the money and he run with it. It wasn't perfect, but just good enought. Good enought to be DOS, Windows 3.1, Windows 95 and Windows 98, etc. Like I said before, no one person has all the good ideas but many people have good ideas. With this in mind Microsoft was always looking for the next thing and buying into it or adding the features to their product. Like the DOS creator, they sold their idea and run with the money and then after Microsoft made it a good thing, they realize the mistake they made and starter crying foul and calling Microsoft thief. After hearing the stories of these fools, they join together and started calling Microsoft evil and a bunch of idiots follow like a cult, becouse they do not have a brain to think for themselve. This is the reality and if you do not like it, tough. Me, I always use Windows, since DOS all the way to Windows XP. I still have computer since the 90's running in Windows. BTW no crashes. I bought my daughter a Apple laptop and she had crashed more than I have all my Windows computers put together. My point is most crashes had the user and not the machine and all the computer that I have repair is the user the problem not the computer. I also believe that the coding for every Windows software was good at the time it was created. Remember that technology is going so fast that is imposible to have all the drivers available. When Windows 2000 or XP was crated, no one was thinking in all the dishonest people out there is the web. Programers believe in the honor system and honesty of everyone. Too bad our society is now a bunch of thief that use the web and features of Windows to do their bidding and taking honest people for a ride. It use to be that only a simple lock at the door will keep my house safe. Now I need an alarm system, a motion sensor and a minimu of three locks to have my house safe and that is not enought. So is with Windows, the features the let you enjoy rich multimidia in the net now are holes in Windows that needs to be close down. When Microsoft close down these holes like Vista has done, it's a pain in the neck for users. Damn if you do and damn if you don't. But to Bill Gates thank you for everything even with a few bumps along the road.

martinopereznyc
martinopereznyc

1. Outsource and offshore as many jobs as possible to cut costs and put people living in your city, state and country out of work. THEN, using your increased profits, start a foundation to give this money to third-world countries to promote technological education and vaccinations so that your supply of cheap labor is assured for generations to come. 2. Continue outsourcing and offshoring as many jobs as possible. Engage in sanctimonious hand-wringing about why US students are no longer interested in technology. Start a foundation to get students interested in studying technology. Ensure the topic of compensation never gets brought up in any media interview, conference or debate. 3. When you???ve got a dominant market share in many product categories, you no longer need to add useful features to your products. Slash R&D spending to the bone! For upgrades, just move menus around, change color schemes and add a few new sounds. Also, ensure your locked-in customers are forced to upgrade by instituting a drop-dead date or auto-disabling the software if customers don???t upgrade

yomisoye
yomisoye

Well, I give Bill credits for making computers popular, but the fact still remains that he owes his success to development of other peoples works.

Paul W. Homer
Paul W. Homer

Bill taught us that we don't have to fix the bugs, all we have to do is provide a stupid red button on the cover of the machine to reboot it faster. He made 'work-arounds' famous. He also taught us not to think, that it is far easier to just wait and see what everyone else is doing, then steal their ideas, provide low quality versions, and then just market it better. After all, it's not about who has the best technology, it's about who is most aggressive, isn't it? Paul

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

5. Bill was always a geek but he's more a strategy geek that was good with computers rather than a computer geek who figured out business. He's definitely included in the list of Hackerdom but I'd consider him a Business Hacker foremost. ???Geeks??? have always existed and have always become the cool kids when there area of obsession becomes hip. Hams and Blinkers became cool when the radio became hip for the public. Gearheads, crazy oddballs until everyone needed a car. Hackers and the less obsessive ???computer geeks??? would have become hip with the inevitable popularity of the general purpose personal computer. The mass media???s corruption of the first as used only in the pejorative form being a gross misrepresentation by lazy journalists interested only in selling papers. 4. ???rarely got to the party first with new technologies and innovations??? ??? so very true. IE ???innovated??? after Netscape and many other browsers. I can???t remember if they bought Word outright and I would guess Excel also but I don???t know the history of those two programs. Definitely most innovative in business; always pushing the legal limits in new directions. 3. Computers becoming popular was inevitable. The moment the computer got shrunk from a fridge too a desktop box; it was going to happen. There where even better offerings than IBM???s personal computer but that just leads back to better execution killing better technologies (or doing it???s best too anyhow). The one point I???d question is Mr. Gates vision of computing experience; would that be user interaction with a cpu through a WIMP interface? (Xerox sold too Apple stolen by Microsoft; innovative business.) Smartphones where a party MS was late too yelling ???me too, me too??? but the control Exchange so wince was an easy sell too business; that party started with Palm???s PDA (left to rot on the vine) and Apple???s Newton (great technology ahead of it???s time but poorly executed). Merging cell phones and PDA was a natural step rather than any MS driven innovation. Speech recognition didn???t start in MS labs; MS didn???t have a product offering until very late but the technology has yet to live up to the promises anyhow. I???d question tablet PC also but I don???t know the history there; I just know they always like to adopt someone???s innovation and rename it. Touchscreen interfaces are also not a Redmond invention though they did adopt multitouch technology out of the Univeristy labs where it???s existed for years. Let???s not forget ???Personal Navigation Devices???; we call those GPS, they???ve been around for a long while now but thanks for finally showing up to the party again. 2. I???ve often found it sad but ironic that MS was hailed for freeing us from IBM tyranny so that, in short order, it could turn around and impose it???s own position. Heck, read the transcript from Bill???s testimony; slimy argumentative arrogance. I wouldn???t consider watching for the next company to consume a sign of humility. 1. This is just downright irony. The one message Bill has spent his career reiterating is ???My software matters; everything else is a cancer???. If you try to read the message his products reiterate; ???profit before quality. If it???s good enough to sell, why spend more time on it. If it???s saturated the market, release an new ???version???.??? The homebrew club was already exploring what software could do. Hacerdom was way ahead in the area of what software could do. That threat even resulted in his open letter admonishing those who would learn from source rather than profit by its obfuscation. I???ll admit that someone who remembers the history in better detail could correct me though. I just can???t start behaving like people at a funeral where suddenly you only hear the ???good news??? stories about the deceased and attribute everything to MS. We???ll see how it does now that the less charismatic of the two founders is moving on to other endeavors. I truly hope he???ll be as successful at that as he has been in business.

subbuvk
subbuvk

Having read the article and the posted blogs, so far...it seems to me the proverbial "tomato" throwing by "critics". To survive in a cutthroat industry where "IT Professionals" openly and brazenly steal code using reverse engineering, it takes a sepcial kind of human to succeed. Whatever all the highly educated technologists say about the products... none of them had the vision that Bill has...after all it is because of him that our children "while still in preschool" can use computers. I am just glad that no statues were erected to honor critics and crybabies.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

In terms of business measurements, Microsoft under the leadership of Bill Gates has been a fenominal success. In terms of bringing "It world in limelights as well as a useful tool to do progress".. computers would have evolved without them.. some argue that they would have evolved much faster too. It's not profitable to evolve your products too fast unless the competition is pushing you to do so and MS has crushed competition through other strategies.

depler
depler

Mr. Webmaster, I applaud your ability to recognize a dead-end to quickly terminate what would have turned out to be a complete waste of time had you continued. Your response was classic in all the best interpretations of the term. Maybe like you, I?ve always been a sucker for seemingly intelligent narrative that perhaps for lack of world experience is missing a critical component to arriving at reasonable opinion and conclusions. For the most part I?ve generally been successful in expanding the horizons of the myopic ? but not in the case of our mutual friend. Your observation that ?no sane human being can be just that one sided? invites but one conclusion. Having got that out of the way, let me say that I enjoyed your comments, especially your ?perspective.? Whatever BillyG was in the beginning, he is a different individual now. That frequently happens. The things that lead to spectacular success early-on don?t often serve us well later in life. To review: People who don?t like BillyG are generally those who subscribe to the notion that if law and custom doesn?t specifically permit something, then it shouldn?t be done ? and they call that ?ethics.? People who admire BillyG for overcoming various ?legal? anti-competitive practices (think IBM et. al.), subscribe to the notion that if law and custom doesn?t specifically prohibit something, then it is fair game ? and they don?t think that?s necessarily unethical ? rather they believe it is innovative. BillyG?s innovative business practices allowed him to advance the technology, not by doing all the right things, but rather by not doing anything obviously wrong. His leadership style was to reward useful behavior and to penalize unwanted behavior. He provided the needed focus for any enterprise to succeed. Criticism (and lawsuits) were unavoidable. Now, at 52, BillyG is still a young man. The fact that he matured early (in understanding the way the world works) has allowed him to ?progress? (in the liberal sense) to create the largest transparently operated charitable foundation in the world. Not all bad! Being techies, most of us have probably worked for companies that have been harmed by BillyG?s innovative business practices, but at some point most of us have also benefited immensely, both financially and by the products turned out by Microsoft. Certainly that?s been the case with Ray Ozzie (software), Craig Mundie (business/research - an old nemesis from Data General) and a host of other former competitors ? as well as millions of stockholders. Not all bad! I entered this discussion by posing the question: What if the World Emulated Bill Gates? And concluded that there are a number of non-technical disciplines that could benefit from the lessons we?ve learned from BillyG ? which after all was the object of this discussion.

webmaster
webmaster

Making guesses about the future of software technologies think is a rather daring enterprise, even for the specialists. Microsoft! Desk top! Now what! ARPA! The web! Who imagined... Google? A search Engine Software with a clout to buy out ...many of the lesser and even major companies in this realm! Who imagined... My Space? Who Imagined You Tube? Who imagined ...? Social Networking! Alright, alright, All those buy outs! But none of the above show a necessarily logical relationship. When you think of web, you are bound to flounder if you think in classical linear Lamarckian way. This is a Darwinian tree, per se! As for innovation going out! That is foreign to life. However a catastrophically induced regression, or should we say a short break in innovation is possible and considering the state of the planet even probable! No doubt the marketing and buy out methodologies are copied or diffuse from Silicon Valley to Taiwan or Tokyo and same applies to modern corporate culture. But I agree, this corporate culture has something new to offer. Personally I do prefer it to the to the classical one of the modern times, that of Golf-Clubbed Neck-Tied Bahamas-Sailing Playboy-Playmate adorned VIP-Club Card exclusivity. It smells refreshingly of downtown bazaars and fresh-fruit markets in Bangalore, the open source communities gathering around the globe, the bosses and workers not stratified by impermeable opaque layers of granite or basalt. Less stratified middle class, that men like Negroponte imagine to be within reach of all the poor people still left out in the rain! I prefer it to what was... but it is certainly and hopefully is not the end.. in fact it nothing to what can be and maybe will be... By the way is not Negroponte somehow transforming even this very user desirability ethos as you have pointed out, a step further ? There is one thing I do not agree to here though. This is just my personal judgment. I simply do not believe (it is a belief and as such does not require evidence) that any person interested in ONLY money and the slice of GNP can have success in life. It needs an idea too, even if a foolish and wrong one! And Bill seems to have had almost a missionary zeal. Add to it he has certain attributes of a puritan in classical Weberian sense. Compare that to an account below, concerning a much greater software wizard but one apparently without a mission? ?Gary Kildall liked the money and soon loaded up on the toys he could now afford- airplanes, speedboats, motorcycles, a stretch limo, a Corvette, A Rolls Royce, Formula One racecars, 2 Lamborghini Coutachs, and a Ford pick-up.? Source: http://www.freeenterpriseland.com/BOOK/KILDALL.html

depler
depler

Since you asked ... The tone of your last response, Apotheon, reinforces my point ... and also answers your question as to 'what all this has to do with your Resume/CV page.' If you want people to respond to your 'points' you need to identify them in a way that invites a response. Regarding Bill Gates, I believe I agreed with all your points except for two: 1) Bill (and all businessmen) should exhibit ethical conduct (presumably from a list of do's and don'ts); and 2) Because Bill wasn't 'ethical' his success shouldn't be recognized. My response to your objections was an attempt to inject some reality into your world in a way that didn't injure your tender sensibilities (your responses tend to exhibit that knee-jerk quality characteristic of a pseudo-intellect). Everything I wrote, Apotheon, was an attempt to get you to see that success, especially great success such as that experienced by Bill Gates, IS a validation of a person's ethics as measured by how many people have benefited (a core component of ethics). You need to know, Apotheon, that age has a way of expanding one's horizon to provide a vision of the world unavailable to the young. Especially those who have reached that point where they 'know' they have found all the important answers. At this point, it's not just me that you don't trust ... you seem to trust no one except for yourself ... the infallible Apotheon (the exalted one). Pity that you're destined to learn the hard way. I no longer think my words will have any meaning for you in the 'near' future. I only hope that in the meantime the collateral damage to your associates won't be too great.

apotheon
apotheon

Unfortunately, the advances undertaken by Bill Gates' creation (Microsoft) were not actual technological advancements, for the most part. In fact, there's been some significant backward "progress", thanks to the way Microsoft does things at Gates' behest and that of his appointees. If everyone did things the same way Bill Gates does, we'd see everything undergoing rapid advancement in superficial marketability, and not bloody much else. Any real advancement that occurred under Gates' watch has, for the most part, been accomplished by others and [b]purchased[/b] by Microsoft so his corporation can claim credit and market share. The question that arises is this: Who does everyone buy out for their innovations if nobody's innovating, and everyone's looking for innovators to buy out?

jk2001
jk2001

Many of the original ideas we use today were invented by Doug Englebart in the 1960s. Jobs came along 20 years later, in the 1980s. Microsoft finally got their duplicate right in the 1990s.

DaemonSlayer
DaemonSlayer

??? How can being greedy and not knowing the value of what you wrote work together? If you are greedy, you'll be over-pricing (over-charging if you will) for your work... not selling off what you got for pennies compared to its true value.o You also ignore the anti-trust cases that M$ has lost where they have pressured companies into selling off to them, or be forced out of the industry. Yes, the world has gotten worse, so has Microsoft's desire to control the technology world.

ksady
ksady

Matter of fact may I quote you on my blog?

tinus.brink
tinus.brink

I have to aggree with everything you say in your statement. I say the best thing Bill taught me. Install linux and you won't need frequent upgrades on software and your system will run regardless etc... etc... etc...

online
online

Imitation is nothing new. Yes, Bill bought SC-DOS from Seattle Computer Products, but SC-DOS was created as an 8086 imitator of CP/M, whose command language was patterned on DEC minicomputer operating systems. Obviously code was different for different processors, and there were changes and innovations as time went on, but Bill is hardly unique in building on the work of others.

kltullis
kltullis

Here Here! subbuvk I have been in this industry a long time. I used to teach all sorts of software including lotus. MS was the one who made life so much better with Excel as Lotus sat on their arrogance and did not improve their product. While there are tactics that I, from the outside looking in, "dont approve of". I wasn't in the board room or responsible for thousands of employees and their families to help make those decisions. If you read the book "The difference between God and Larry Ellison* *God doesn't think he's Larry Ellison". You will find that Bill Gates does not have a monoply of superb marketing at the expense of "perfect" software. I have a feeling all the successful Tech CEO biographies might show some of these same traits. Not many people can truly say the world is different, in a positive way, because they walked on the earth. Bill Gates can.

apotheon
apotheon

Passive-aggressive insults do not constitute meaningful arguments.

depler
depler

As a ?Berliner? your English is pretty good, though not perfect. Even so, your message is clear and I believe understandable to most, if not to Apotheon. Pity that Apotheon didn?t read to the end [TL;DR] to click on the link you provided to the Gary Kildall story. I knew the story from personal experience but hadn?t seen it documented for the public ? the story seems accurate to me. As an old machine/assembly language programmer, I wasn?t as enamored with Gary?s code as the story?s author, but Gary had the ability and mindset needed by Intel to make microprocessors truly useful beyond the simple Japanese calculators envisioned by the market at that time. Gary wrote a few programming tools for Intel?s 4004 (a 4-bit microprocessor used in calculators), but it was his efforts for Intel?s more advanced microprocessors, the 8-bit 8008 and 8080 that were significant. The 8080 was important for its 16-bit address bus which enabled addressing 32K bytes of memory ? finally enough memory to do something useful. As the article points out, it was Gary?s CP/M (control program for microprocessors) software, using 8? single sided floppy?s (160K bytes), that provided the necessary motivation for entrepreneurs to get involved with microprocessors. Gary also wrote the assembly language software for the 8080 - a ?contextual? assembler for which I still haven?t forgiven him. Assemblers are supposed to have a 1:1 correspondence between the machine code and the symbolic instruction ? not Gary ? his assembler would translate instructions into different machine code based on ?context? which was responsible for a lot of mischief in the early years. Motorola?s 8-bit line (the 6800) came a little later. It was a superior architecture with much better programming tools than those Gary developed. Jobs, Wozniak & Wayne used the 6800 in their Apple II computer which, though a superior system, suffered from proprietary marketing efforts that allowed the Intel-Microsoft duo to dominate the market. People sometimes say that, by being in the right place at the right time, Bill Gates was lucky but nothing could be further from the truth. Primarily he was intelligent enough to understand the technology but wasn?t so much of a geek that he fell in love with any of his company?s creations. He wasn?t afraid to make mistakes; he didn?t require perfection. When a better idea came along, he was able to jettison the baggage in favor of something clearly superior (a rapid-prototyping concept). He had the vision, was focused, and had been prepared at an early age by his lawyer-business parents to dominate the competition. I?m quite sure a similar set of opportunities exist today as did in the early ?70s when BillyG developed his vision. We'll read about them in another 15 years. The BillyG paradigm is a lesson that young people need to be introduced to as early as possible (ideally Kindergarten) although today that may be possible only in private schools. Unfortunately it?s also necessary to avoid most University programs ? as Bill found out.

apotheon
apotheon

What -- now you aren't even able to remember the context for your commentary? For those who are confused by Dick's comments here, the above comment of his (titled "A Response to Apotheon") is a duplicate of the third post in a discussion elsewhere, where he decided to pick up harassing me on a site other than TR. You can view [url=http://sob.apotheon.org/?page_id=8#comment-371825][b]the context from which this came[/b][/url] if you like. I don't feel like duplicating my own responses in two places, so if anyone wants to see what the heck Dick's talking about, check there.

depler
depler

We agree, Apotheon. Innovation was NEVER a goal for BillyG. The ?pioneer metaphor? was a business lesson Bill learned from his parents. Bill wasn?t interested in ?taking arrows? ? he wanted to be the ?land Barron? who foreclosed on the pioneers ? history records it as the surest and quickest way to success. But I know what you mean. Whatever Bill is, he is NOT the technological wizard the media has made him out to be. I would also agree that Bill?s predatory business practices did a lot to discourage significant innovation from being independently marketed ? but it may be possible that his contribution to accelerating progress outweighed the damage he did to some of the innovators. Maybe the question is whether someone else could have employed Bill?s business strategy to have advanced the industry further ? certainly possible, but we?ll never know. To address your concern whether innovation will dry up, I don?t think so. Pioneering (risk taking) is part of the human psyche, although it?s not for everyone. I think that real innovation that breaks the mold generally happens at the fringes and most often by physicists (whether they have a degree or not) ? even in the large corporations (i.e., the skunkworks metaphor of Lockheed). In the computer industry, think UNIX, first at GE (MULTICS) & then Bell Labs, and of course the PC at IBM, both of which were of little interest to the corporation (neither understood these things). Understand, in the old days, guys like AT&T and IBM maintained research centers primarily for the purpose of developing ?competition killers.? If someone threatened their monopoly, they could ?pull something off the shelf? to kill it. They rarely bought out their competition, and they weren?t particularly interested in obsoleting their own products ?before it was time.? To his credit, BillyG changed that as it was the ONLY way he could have gained an entry. Bill had the insight to know that to be successful, innovation had to scale AND it couldn?t be controlled too tightly ? in fact, to be really successful it had to be given away ? but only to the right people. Accordingly, he made finished products extremely attractive to OEMs and he provided free or low cost development tools to software developer community. This allowed product scaling to consumers every few years, a strategy that was a big winner for almost everyone. His monetary success was merely a by-product of that strategy ? the American way and all that! One last comment. I sense, Apotheon [oh, exalted one], that maybe you?re not a ?gamer? as you don?t seem to have a lot tolerance for poorly designed products. If so, I can understand why you wouldn?t be a big fan of BillyG. In many ways, I?m the same. I?m a devotee of hardware/software architecture design; I grew up with UNIX and I still maintain a proficiency in assembly language programming; with Windows I still prefer the command-line interface for most system tasks. However, the rising tide lifts us all and I?m quite sure the recent iterations of chips and software applications are significantly better at this point than they would have been without BillyG.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

.. just look at all the innovative business strategies they've developed to push too and beyond the limits of law. ;) (I couldn't resist)

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

If I remember my history (and I have been corrected before), Xerox cancelled the project to develop a GUI interface for mini and mainframe computers. Apple baught the rights too that source code when the project was cancelled. They then hired most of Xerox developers who'd worked on the project. Then then rewrote most of the source code so it would run on a personal computer. That's like taking today's windowsXP and rewriting most of it so you can run it off a 386 with 64 meg ram. Unless I remember history completely wrong. Apple didn't steel anything from Xerox but that's a common thing people like to claim. Apple has things to be disliked for but how they got the base code for the graphic Mac OS isn't one of them. (correction): seems Apple didn't pay for the rights to Xerox design. They did hire most of the people who worked on the Xerox Star's OS and extended it greatly. Xerox also cancelled there development of personal computers. They also did file suite against Apple during the Apple vs Microsoft litigation; one has to wonder why they decided to do so then. "The Xerox case was dismissed because the three year statute of limitations had passed ? Xerox had waited too long to file suit" - Wikipedia

DaemonSlayer
DaemonSlayer

Jobs took the idea, gained from a tour of Xerox-Parc, and implemented it in the Lisa, which was replaced rather quickly with the Mac. Gates seeing how well the Mac worked with it (Windows) wanted in on the action (IBM did too, hence GUI OS/2 & the nasty partnership (which started pre-GUI OS/2)with MS. Conspiracy theories can be found easily about that partnership). Ever notice this???? MS-DOS, old-timies can remember the early version 1/x, 2.x, etc., was more true to it's roots... a CP/M clone, but as DOS went on, it tried to become more UNIX like in nature. (Influences of Xenix, Unix, or early Linux?) Windows... took version 3, which was released at or about the time of the IBM/MicroSoft OS/2 partnership dissolution, to be stable and usable (wasn't NT released around that time too?)... BUT as Windows progressed, it has tried to look current Mac-OS-like. The Mac had its trashcan on the bottom right of the screen, then Gates decides to move the trashcan there in XP. OS-X gets flashy with it's screen/window presentations... Vista has to follow suit. Windows HAS made attempts to clone Mac-OS without going far enough to get nailed to the wall for look-and-feel infringement. (If they, MS, had access to the Mac-OS code, WHO KNOWS for sure what would have happened. We could have had "new" features in Windows; the Mac could have suffered greatly in OS performance, a better mac [doubt that one], etc. Conspiracy theories dealing with OS/2 just might have had more ammo and support... but Apple never let that happen, so its a moot point there.)

martinopereznyc
martinopereznyc

You are free to use any and all of my posting! Have a good 4th of July! M.P.

apotheon
apotheon

Caffeine wearing off . . . personality fading . . .

webmaster
webmaster

Apotheon! This is unjustified and in my opinion completely off the mark and in way an insult too. True I may have implicitly wished that you may diverge just a bit from your, in my opinion hard-chore assessment of our subject. Depler has nonetheless shown a more liberal attitude to such a perspective, albeit his arguments concerning the motivation for certain deeds of MS maybe radically different from those of mine. I agree with him in one major and important conclusion, that there are a bunch of modern human beings who definitely see that everything one does is OK as long as you do it legally. Pharmaceutical firms distribute drugs, once they have been approved by the FED. They would not give a damn if the Fed may have made a mistake or overlooked something. I doubt if they do further research, once the drug has been approved. What for? Most of the time, the aim is the Approval itself (End Purpose) and associated with it, the ability to market the drug. It is not the health of the individual, especially when seen in longer time-spans, that concerns them or they feel morally responsible for. The billion-dollar assets that this industry possess are all the result of being able to offer remedies for SYMPTOMS, hardly ever or almost never in fighting the root causes of the disease. What is legal does not have to be ethical. I sure can understand this discrepancy and Bill is not the first to employ it. It is the malaise prevalent in the system itself. Anything goes and winners inherit the Darwinian Dioxin-Doped Demeter (Earth). And like Depler said, those who think like that are even proud of it, they see it as innovation! I am certainly not having fun. This is not fair man! If you continue to think like that, I am going to wish that I had never written anything here. Accept it please! I am really only too aware of the fact that I have not checked the authenticity of the sources of my knowledge as diligently as the discussion, if we wanted to argue further would demand, and honestly it is not worth my time at present. So I decided to retire. It had nothing to do with anybody else or my thinking about them. Of course Bill is not a supper brain? Do you remember that Ad with Bill showing off the CD's and the saved trees in Amazons? And do you know how many PAGES of crap are printed and how many used up ink Cartridges land up in urban and even rural areas of the world ever since the use of PC's spread around the planet? And all those pages mean trees and those cartridges mean more pollution and resource depletion. And most of those printed pages land in dustbins of history anyway. But I am still of the opinion that Bill may have genuinely thought of this new possibility and may have been innocently unaware of these unexpected secondary consequences! I am sure that is perhaps even the CIO?s of HP never imagined that their printers will be such a great success through out the globe! Hate the SIN! Not the Sinner! Gandhi Cheers!

webmaster
webmaster

A Short Story. So the author of our Kildall article? IBM decided to enter the world of Microcomputers. Aside from the niche held and maintained to date by Apple, the standard OS was the CP/M a genuine child of Kildall. They (IBM) approached Bill Gates. Apparently they thought he owned it! So much informed were the Goliaths. Bill directed them to Kildall. No dirty-biz handling here! What happened then, was not a fault or the result of some clever strategy of Bill Gates. The fact is IBM bargained differently? CP/M was offered $200,000 plus $10 royalty. Kildall refused! MS-DOS (MS-Assimilated Q-DOS of Tim Patterson, which apparently was an imitation of CP/M and had been recently purchased for $50, 000 by Paul Allen of MS) was offered an altogether different deal. MS could retain the right of ownership! IBM would pay them royalties for each copy of the OS. This is called bargaining. Bill did not play any part in the IBM-Kildall deal. Only after that deal having failed, he just handled in a opportunistic way. It would certainly have been unethical if he really had been involved in torpedoing that deal. But he was not. And here is my argument that I have tried to put forth to Apotheon. Copyright laws man. They protect you from outright copy not imitation! Kildall was a loner, had no lobby (besides his wife) and suing IBM and MS would have not been that easy. Still this seemed to have made IBM/MS afraid of litigation, so they consented to offer the users both, only one damn cheaper (6 times) than the other. That seems to have been the end of Kildall and the beginning of MS, besides an another fact (according to our author) and that is that Kildall would not agree to impose another software (spreadsheets, etc) on those who had purchased his OS. For ethical reasons? But who knows, they may to some extent also have had other reasons, that I can only guess but not confirm and therefore will not mention. Assuming our author is well informed and it is all true, one could here rightfully argue, that ethically something seems to stink here. And I would tend to agree here with Apotheon, who apparently despises such acts of mercantile opportunism, but I would only add, why only choose MS or Bill for the blame, what about the Goliath? And what about those Copyrights? How far do they really protect the real innovator? Furthermore that failed business deal Kildall/IBM may have other reasons, more rooted in our archetypical and paradoxically very banal day to day behavior than any great socio-political reasons. Kildall was flying somewhere for something, apparently not fully disclosed to the reps. Possibly the chemistry of the persons involved, the seriousness or the easy going, maybe even frivolous way with which Kildall confronted the representatives of the Goliath, may have all contributed to this simple twist of fate, as Bob Dylan would say!

apotheon
apotheon

If you can't address my actual points, there's no point making points any longer. Go ahead -- if you're going to respond to my points with irrelevancies, straw men, and ridicule, you can just have this discussion without me.

depler
depler

Sun Tsu (6000 BC) said: "All men can see the tactics whereby I conquer, but what none can see is the strategy out of which victory is evolved ... So in war, the way is to avoid what is strong and to strike at what is weak." And so it has been for some 8000 years. I'm afraid, Apotheon, you'll be forever destined for disappointment if you expect your competitators to be fair and ethical for such terms have always been local concepts reserved exclusively for your own minions. For example, you might be a devotee of Sharia Law, which is highly ethical for those 'who believe' but not so understanding of those who don't. One LAST thing: All social systems will have winners and losers, the BEST system is the one that maximizes the winners ... and few will disagree that BillyG did that better than any before! We might disagree with some of his tactics, but no one argues the success of his strategy.

apotheon
apotheon

"[i]Apotheon, the whole concept of 'honest competition' is unrealistic and an impediment to real progress ?[/i]" Hah. You're funny, trying to excuse Bill Gates' actions by pretending he only did what he had to because there's no such thing as an ethical businessman. Well . . . poppycock. It's not about "playing fair" -- it's about refraining from initiating force against others, whether that force takes the form of violence, threat of violence, or fraud. Obviously, you should create advantages where you can, take advantage of them where they exist, and press for success in everything you do as a business. You don't have to make sure your competitors have all the same advantages you do. You just have to refrain from running around with a flamethrower burning them all to the ground so that you won't have any competition at all. "[i]You seem to think BillyG did real harm to the computer world because he didn?t play fair[/i]" He did real harm to the software industry -- but it's not a failure to "play fair" that caused the problem. Instead, it was a failure to act ethically. These two things are [b]not the same[/b].

depler
depler

It seems, Apotheon, that we?re talking past each other. Maybe I shouldn?t have let it go, but I allowed you to divert me from the main point of my original post in the interests of commenting on Bill?s predatory practices which you obviously felt important ? alas, to no avail. So now, I?ll wrap up my part of our discussion by reposting the answer to my question (in case you missed it): ? ? what would the world look like if everybody emulated BillyG? I would suggest that Bill's real genius was in the use of rapid prototyping to de-emphasize perfection to result only in small mistakes that are easy to correct and never catastrophic ... producing user-desirable products every few years. Think what the world would look like if such a mentality could be achieved in law, politics, medicine, education, and social programs. Think of the benefits of obsoleting things that no longer work for the user/voter in these critical areas every few years? Now THAT would be significant progress!? My comment didn?t address Bill?s predatory practices (which we both agree on), but rather suggested that his real genius was in knowing how to make mistakes that are easy to correct by using a rapid prototyping approach. I feel that is THE most positive ?BillyG lesson? to be learned and is something we all could benefit from knowing (especially by those in our political/legal system). Your concern, however, seems is wrapped up in your recent comment: ??the question is whether a whole lot of someone-else?s, between the lot of them, competing against each other honestly on the strength of what they produced, could have advanced things further. Apotheon, the whole concept of ?honest competition? is unrealistic and an impediment to real progress ? which is the greatest lesson BillyG learned from his parents. From an early age, most of us are taught to ?play fair? but it?s a lesson we are forced to reject once we get into the real world. The fact that Bill didn?t have to waste time unlearning that lesson is, I believe, the key to his early success. The B-schools say that most people seem to fail at least three times before they get it right ? throwing away useless baggage learned in kindergarten is one reason. You seem to think BillyG did real harm to the computer world because he didn?t play fair (always a possibility ... for some), but I suspect Apotheon that if you or I had wanted to compete in world of Big Iron, we would have been forced to adopt BillyG?s business practices ? or we wouldn?t have survived! You?re right: Bill learned how to swim with the sharks from some of the best ? ?he became the new IBM? ? and so would you and I if we wanted to survive.

apotheon
apotheon

"[i]Maybe the question is whether someone else could have employed Bill?s business strategy to have advanced the industry further ? certainly possible, but we?ll never know.[/i]" No -- the question is whether a [b]whole lot[/b] of someone-elses, between the lot of them, competing against each other honestly on the strength of what they produced, could have advanced things further. The answer, it seems to me, is that probability overwhelmingly favors that possibility. "[i]To address your concern whether innovation will dry up, I don?t think so.[/i]" I think you must have missed my point. My point was that innovation would dry up [b]if everybody did things the way Bill Gates has done things[/b], because Gates' business model wasn't about innovation at all. Yes, people innovate. Yes, people will [b]keep[/b] innovating. That means we will [b]not[/b] see everyone doing things the Bill Gates way, pretty much by definition. "[i]In the computer industry, think UNIX, first at GE (MULTICS) & then Bell Labs, and of course the PC at IBM, both of which were of little interest to the corporation (neither understood these things).[/i]" It's that lack of interest from the corporation that makes my point. If someone comes up with a really innovative idea at a corporation, it won't get much traction. It's when someone comes up with such an idea on his own and pursues it because he believes in it, and manages to make it fly because he's not beholden to corporate masters who can just end a project as easily as flipping a switch, that real innovation makes a real difference -- and, at that point, the corporation finally takes notice and either destroys it or buys it (and, of course, buying it destroys any further forward progress from that avenue). "[i]Bill had the insight to know that to be successful, innovation had to scale AND it couldn?t be controlled too tightly[/i]" Yeah . . . at first. Then Microsoft became the new IBM. Innovation happened at the edges, just a little bit, and at first Microsoft made use of that -- but then, eventually, just absorbed it and ensured that no further progress was made (sometimes intentionally, sometimes just because that's the nature of large corporations, whether they like it or not). "[i]His monetary success was merely a by-product of that strategy ? the American way and all that![/i]" You might be able to make a case for that in the earliest days of Microsoft. Maybe. After a few years, though, that all went out the window -- and for the last twenty five years (give or take) Microsoft has done more harm than good. If Microsoft, for most of its time, has done any real good, it has really been in convincing others they could do better -- and thus inspiring others to compete by creating something better. Unfortunately, Microsoft became very good at destroying such efforts. "[i]I sense, Apotheon [oh, exalted one], that maybe you?re not a ?gamer? as you don?t seem to have a lot tolerance for poorly designed products.[/i]" What kind of "gamer"? I play both D&D and World of Warcraft. Well, okay, I haven't played WoW for a while -- but I may start again in the near future, and I still play Neverwinter Nights on my laptop once in a while. I don't really have a whole lot of time to devote to intense computer gaming, though -- in part because of the weekly D&D game I run. "[i]However, the rising tide lifts us all and I?m quite sure the recent iterations of chips and software applications are significantly better at this point than they would have been without BillyG.[/i]" You're assuming that without Bill Gates nothing would have changed except that a lot of computers with MS Windows on them would disappear. I'm pretty damned sure we'd have a lot of other stuff in their place -- and about the only way it wouldn't be better is if someone else did the same thing Gates did, filling the void his absence left and causing all the same widespread damage. Unfortunately, the likelihood of such a drop-in replacement for Gates is pretty high, because corporate and copyright law as they currently stand really lend themselves to the creation of such empires.

DaemonSlayer
DaemonSlayer

So Linux wasnt on the MicroSoft's Radar in the early 90's (only when it became bigger, and in an area M$ decided it wanted the whole pie in) Micro$oft got a Lisa to look at for "learning how to write apps for"... My ref to M$'s influence was directly on the OS, like their "consulting" on OS/2 It would stand to reason that M$ would have needed access to an Apple to have produced Office for it (until they decided to bully everyone into using their OS).

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I think your lineage of OS is a bit off. Dos couldn't be invluence by Linux since Dos was almost forgotten long before 1993 when the Linux kernel was released for use outside of Mr Torvald's development machine. Posix like OS have had influences in the later Unix OS which GNU attempted to provide a free (libre) alternative but they focussed on rewriting the userspace with the OS core as the last step. Linus focussed on an OS core as his project and when it became usable, they plugged it into the GNU OS. This is why the more ideological insist on "GNU/Linux". Hurd is the original project to develop a core for GNU but with Linux, it's really just a duplication of work and hasn't been able to progress very quickly. Microsft did have access to the system. Apple allowed them to take a Lisa home to Redmond as a test platform so they could develop third party software for it. (that was the story sold to Jobs by Bill anyway; "we'd like to develop for it"). Microsoft would have then set about reverse engineering and directly copying any feature they liked. Reality is better than fiction sometimes; this is especially true in IT history.