Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Pitch #1

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  • Microsoft spent more than a quarter of a billion dollars on the biggest and noisiest product launch in the history of the computer industry - the Windows 95 launch
  • very serious about advertising
  • for the Windows 95 launch, Gates invited about 500 journalists and dozens of television crews from more than 30 countries
  • different advertisements in many countries
    examples are as follows:
  • bought the entire press run of the Times of London and on launch day gave away 1.5 million copies free -> "Windows 95. So Good Even the Time Is Complimentary."
  • gave a free copy of Windows 95 to all babies born on launch day
  • Toronto -> a 500-foot banner pitching Windows 95 was unfurled on one side of the Canadian National Tower
  • New York City -> paid to have the 102-story Empire State Building bathed in the logo colours of Windows 95
  • etc.
  • very competitive
  • a computer geek who was once ridiculed for his personal appearance
  • by 1995, Bill Gates' wealth was approaching $20 billion
  • Forbes named him the world's 2nd richest individual in 1994
  • was named the world's richest individual a year after
  • one of the world's most powerful
  • so well known internationally that he conducted his own foreign policy
  • called on China's president and other world leaders during business trips abroad
  • socialized with Warren Buffett, his friend who was named the world's richest individual in 1994 by Forbes
  • played golf with the president
  • wanted to be taken seriously, as a visionary, as a statesman, as an adult
  • college dropout
  • founded Microsoft with buddy Paul Allen at age 19
  • crushed all competitors
  • Internet = Gates' greatest enemy that he has ever faced before
  • attended college in the early 1970s
  • often cut classes
  • when he did go to his classes, he paid little attention
  • in 1975, at Harvard, Bill Gates and his childhood pal Paul Allen had hunkered down in the Aiken Computer Center and spent 8 weeks working day and night to develop a high-level computer language for the first microprocessing chip à their software program, called BASIC, became the foundation of Microsoft Co., which they soon found in the high desert of Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • it had been less than 3 years since Gates had met with some workers from Lotus in Boston after the Computer Bowl (annual battle of wits for software execs) for what in industry lore became known as the “Gates Date” and had predicted that IBM would fold within 7 years
  • on January 20, 1993, with 303 million shares outstanding, and selling at a price of $88.375 a share, Microsoft’s market value was $26.78 billion à Microsoft overtook IBM in total market value by $0.02 billion
  • Microsoft now the world’s greatest computer industry company
  • it ranked 14th among all public companies
  • made Gates the most hated man in the industry and Microsoft the most feared competitor or “predator”
  • Gates had started out as only a low-level soldier in the information age revolution, but now towered over the industry
  • had gained the kind of power and influence over an industry
  • both his fame and his fortune were growing at an astronomical rate
  • Gates sold off nearly a half billion dollars of his stock each year, making investments that only a select few people knew about
  • Microsoft was selling a million copies a month
  • by end of 1992, Microsoft had captured an astounding 44% share of the software market à at the end of 1991, Microsoft had 29% of the market
  • in early February 1993, at Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond, Washington, Bill Gates was sitting in his office across from Thomas Murphy, chairman of the board of Capital Cities/ABC à offered if Gates would like to be the next chairman of IBM
  • Gates was fully committed to Microsoft and was not interested
  • a poker player when he was at Harvard

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