Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Pitch #9

Pg. 241 – 270

  • Gates is viewed as the Satan incarnate of the computer industry by many people; he is amazingly destructive
  • is often compared too John D. Rockefeller, who created the Standard Oil monopoly
  • many complaints that Gate and Microsoft’s “predatory pricing” of its products had crippled many software companies
  • “He’s made it unprofitable for the rest of us. There is no balance of power,” said Philippe Kahn, Borland’s founder and Gates’s all-time rival
  • Kahn insisted that Gates would eventually control every aspect of the computer industry, from applications and operating systems to home banking and interactive television
  • “It will be a total dictatorship,” Kahn said. “This guy will go down in history as one of the most ruthless and powerful people of all time.”
  • Kahn described Gates’s technical capabilities as all talk. “It’s an image he’s trying to put out.
  • Gates = ubiquitous
  • Gates began writing a weekly newspaper column that appeared in papers around the country
  • Gates was also the subject of an entire newsgroup on the Internet, on which people around the planet could post “thousands of messages a day about nothing but what Gates says, how he looks, and whether his house on Lake Washington near Seattle is an architectural disgrace”
  • Gates’s ambition = to control the industry
  • “At [one] time, I felt the only thing that was going to stop the guy was his ego,” Kahn said of Gates. “He’s got a shitload of it. You sit down and you listen to this little prick going on about how he’s going to put everybody out of business… It’s not right, for the industry, for the customers… In an industry that is growing as fast as ours, why is nobody making money but Microsoft? Something very bizarre is going on at the top.”
  • Kahn later on, in Journal’s editorial page, praised Gates for all that Microsoft had accomplished:“Unlike Mr. Manzi, who tried to use the legal system to gain a competitive advantage, you, Mr. Gates, competed in the market-place – you did a very good job of it. You deserve credit for that. You’ve actually done such a great job at it that today Microsoft clearly dominates the software industry. Some say that Microsoft is like a government that has been democratically elected but is now tempted to take advantage of its position of power. Mr. Gates, prove these critics wrong. Use your position of leadership to foster industry practices that will help the software industry grow to its next stage of maturity, assuring our customers that the software industry will remain fair and competitive for decades to come.”
  • in what seemed to be an astonishing turnabout, between the lines of his letter Kahn was making a peace offering of sorts to his old nemesis with his downright nice compliments
  • Kahn’s new company, Starfish, was developing products to run on Windows 95, and some cooperation was in order. Gates had already extended a peace offering when he sent Kahn an e-mail when he resigned as Borland’s CEO, saying he hoped Microsoft and Starfish could enjoy a good working relationship
  • Gates sent a memo to his executive staff: “I have gone through several stages of increasing my views of [the Internet’s] importance. Now I assign it the highest level of importance.”
  • Gates instructed his staff to begin using the Internet whenever possible, and to encourage their staffs to use it too
  • Gates wanted to observe the ways his competitors are using their Web sites to present their products
  • Gates wanted every product plan to try and go overboard on Internet features
  • when Internet evangelist Ben Slivka suggested that Microsoft consider giving away its browser on the Web, à la Netscape, Gates exploded and called him a “communist”, a word he had applied a couple of ears earlier to an FTC commissioner who had suggested that Microsoft share its technology with competitors
  • although Gates had committed Microsoft to ride the Internet tidal wave, his most immediate concern was getting the much-displayed Windows 95 out the door and onto millions of computers

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