Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Pitch #3

Pg. 61-90

  • in an interview, Commissioner Owen commented, "At some point, one wonders if taxpayer money is being well spent by constantly looking and looking and looking and hoping you will one day find something... This was gross abuse of government power. This business of duplicating what we did after 38 months of investigation was unheard of, absolutely unheard of." --> Bill Gates's enemies hope to one day find some dirt on him by investigating and digging up without much success
  • Antitrust Division in the Justice Department of FTC wanted to take action against Microsoft for monopolization
  • no one who understood the deep competitive fires that drove Bill Gates expected him to make it easy for the Antitrust Division to get a win in the lawsuit, however small
  • in the end, Gates did not lose, neither in business nor in the courtroom
  • he and Anne Bingaman, the head of the Antitrust Division, were like two very powerful locomotives speeding toward each other on the same track, and neither was going to move to a side track and let the other pass
  • tardiness had become a fashionable habit for Gates
  • he was arriving late more often than not to give speeches
  • he had even been late for his talk at the Comdex trade show in Las Vegas in November 1992 à showgoers and fans had lined up hours in advance to hear him talk, only to wait even longer for the computer industry’s biggest name to take center stage
  • he likes fast pace
  • he loved to take his Porsche or his red Ferrari 348 out late at night and race at breakneck speed into the Cascade foothills east of Redmond
  • the attention surrounding the visit by Gates rivaled that of a rock star when he came to give speeches to the public
  • to members of the computer club, Gates was one of their own; he shared their vision; he spoke their language
  • he was a rumpled, hyperkinetic nerd with oversized glasses who had become fascinated with computers as a seventh-grader in private school in Seattle
  • he now stood at the pinnacle of the industry, casting a giant shadow over even once-mighty IBM
  • he was the computer industry’s grand master of chess, always looking ahead, plotting tens of moves in advance
  • when Bill Gates wasn’t spending valuable brain time on Microsoft’s antitrust problems, much of Gates’s attention had been focused on the role Microsoft would play when the cable and entertainment industries took advantage of interactive television and other cutting-edge technology to deliver information on demand into millions of homes across the land; it promised to be a dazzling multimedia future; Gates wanted to move Microsoft beyond the desktop, exploiting the company’s hegemony to shape the future that he imagined
  • he wanted to write a book about the potential of the ‘information highway’ built by Microsoft
  • for many years, Gates had refused to even own a television, preferring instead to spend his time reading books and magazines
  • now he saw in the future a ‘marriage’ between television and the personal computer, a crossover between compute and consumer electronics
  • he believed that the television would become the general-purpose entertainment and information device – a newspaper, a TV guide, a phone book, and a textbook for the kids
  • Gates liked to know everything he could about a competitor or a friend
  • when it came to business, he looked for every advantage
  • Gates said in an interview with Forbes, “We’re interested in getting together with anyone who might have thoughts about how technology will come together with content. A lot of those people happen to be in Hollywood.”
  • his voice = high-pitched and boyish
  • in his ideal future: 1. communications technology would liberate computers from the desktop 2. digital information would be available anywhere, anytime, beamed to devices that hardly resembled computers anymore 3. people would soon be able to talk back to their televisions, ending the era of passive entertainment 4. a pocket-size computer would make the leather wallet obsolete
  • soon, Gates’s vision of Microsoft’s dominance included the home television using Microsoft’s software
  • he wanted it all
  • Gates met several movie stars, including Barbra Streisand and Kevin Costner
  • Gates also spent time with writer Michael Crichton
  • “Bill found most Hollywood celebrities to be rather boring” because he was more famous than most of the stars he met
  • movie stars didn’t have the high bandwidth intelligence that Gates most prized in those he like and got along with

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