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Microsoft Businesses

Paul Allen Rips Bill Gates In Autobiography 249

Posted by samzenpus
from the your-mother-dresses-you-funny dept.
itwbennett writes "Bill Gates was guilty of 'mercenary opportunism' when he schemed with Steve Ballmer to dilute Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen's equity in the company while Allen was recovering from Hodgkin's disease, according to Allen. In his upcoming autobiography, 'Idea Man,' which is excerpted in Vanity Fair, Allen paints a portrait of Gates as brilliant, focused, driven ... and ruthless. According to Allen, Gates in the early days twice sought larger equity in the company on the grounds that he 'did more.' Allen says he acquiesced each time, both because he understood his partner's reasoning and to avoid major conflict."
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Paul Allen Rips Bill Gates In Autobiography

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  • by Frosty Piss (770223) * on Thursday March 31, 2011 @12:50AM (#35674850)
    ...That Gates and Ballmer are scheming cut-throats?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 31, 2011 @01:47AM (#35675086)
      Paul Allen has $13 billion. Please excuse me if I find it difficult to feel sorry for him.
    • by mwvdlee (775178) on Thursday March 31, 2011 @02:04AM (#35675142) Homepage

      Nope.
      It's just nice to hear it confirmed by somebody with first-hand experience.

      • by sodul (833177)

        I've got first hand experience: I have been the involuntary user user of Microsoft products over the past 20+ years. Right now Exchange and Sharepoint.

      • by mrops (927562)

        It's just nice to hear it confirmed by somebody with first-hand experience.

        You mean like the rest of us Windows users.

    • Really, does anyone get to where Bill Gates is right now without screwing a couple people in the process?
      • Really, does anyone get to where Bill Gates is right now without screwing a couple people in the process?

        Legend has it Steve Jobs asked Bill Gates to write GUI software for the Mac. In a nutshell, Bill Gates thought, "Sod that" and stole the idea and subsequently Windows was birthed. Could be the reason why Apple are so anally secretive to this day....

        • by DrXym (126579)
          Apple lift their ideas from all over the place so they're not angels by any measure whatsoever.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by saleenS281 (859657)
          You mean right after Jobs lifted his GUI and mouse from Xerox?
          • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Thursday March 31, 2011 @09:10AM (#35677056)

            My understanding [bott.org] of the history [mackido.com] goes like this:

            • Apple got permission from Xerox corporate for a private meeting with PARC engineers.
            • Apple paid for two meetings and use of Xerox ideas with $1M of Apple stock.
            • PARC engineers didn't like the idea but complied.
            • Apple engineers were shown the Star and got to ask detailed questions about how it worked and concepts.
            • Apple would take the ideas and later build the Mac on it.

              The Mac was not an exact copy of the Star. The Xerox Star system however was far from complete. It didn't have drag-and-drop, windows could not overlap, etc. Apple did use the idea of menus, using a mouse as a pointer, etc.

            • Apple did not steal the source code from Xerox.

              Part of the deal worked out with Xerox was that Apple was shown Smalltalk. However, Xerox built the Star using another own language called Mesa. Even if Apple got the source code and an emulator, it would be useless as the Mac OS was written in assembly.

            • by sribe (304414)

              The Mac was not an exact copy of the Star. The Xerox Star system however was far from complete. It didn't have drag-and-drop, windows could not overlap, etc.

              Hell, on the Star, you used the mouse to select a file, then a little window opened for you to type your command to act on the file ;-) So Apple in fact added a whole lot to the ideas from Xerox, and shipped for a fraction of the price.

        • by ArhcAngel (247594)

          Actually I believe Apple paid Microsoft to co-develop the MAC GUI and the contract specifically forbade Microsoft from developing a GUI for any other platform. Microsoft ignored the clause and a multi-year lawsuit ensued.

          • I do not think it was the GUI they paid for, but they did ask Microsoft to write Excel for the Mac. Stephen Manes wrote a great book (Gates: How Microsoft's Mogul Reinvented an Industry--and Made Himself the Richest Man in America) where he shared that at one point Apple stopped by to check progress on Excel, and did not realize that in the next room to where they met, Microsoft had a PC machine running Windows. Microsoft had always implied they would not be developing a GUI OS.
      • by JosKarith (757063)
        Actually I believe Bill got where he is because of who his mom was screwing...
    • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Thursday March 31, 2011 @04:20AM (#35675674) Journal

      Oh it wasn't just him, I remember a story about how Jobs fucked Woz out of something like $1500 by saying that the game that Woz wrote that Jobs sold to Atari had only netted $300 (and thus making Woz's half $150) when it actuality it had sold for something like $3000, and this was supposed to be his friend..

      I bet if someone did a full psyche work up on most successful CEOs you'd find that damned near every single one is a sociopath because to reach that level of success and power one has to be willing to fuck EVERYBODY, friends, family, workers, everyone they come in contact with. So is it any surprise that Gates did what probably every other top CEO did and fucked his colleague? Sadly we reward sociopaths when it comes to business.

      Doesn't make him any less of a douche, it just gives him a hell of a lot of company, Jobs, Ellison, I bet every major tech CEO that has reached the billionaires club has a hell of a lot of fucked over friends left in their wake.

      • by Sulphur (1548251)

        Their hobby is screwing people. If they couldn't get paid for it, then they would do it for free.

      • by Lumpy (12016)

        Fact: you dont get filthy rich by being the nice guy. you MUST screw others.

        I love how the "american dream" is to become rich yet most people dont have the guts to stab each other in the back and climb to the top on a pile of corpses..

        • by mldi (1598123)
          You can't just stab anyone in the back though. You have to be strategic about it.
      • by sribe (304414)

        Oh it wasn't just him, I remember a story...

        Sorry, but I think you mean "I remember an unsourced rumor"

    • by GooberToo (74388)

      Does it surprise anyone...

      Not in the least. Gates is a complete douche bag and always has been. He's never shown much smarts when it comes to matters of technology. Period. People have always attributed technological and business prowess where little actually exists. His business position has always been one of luck, usually by the ineptitude of others (cough, IBM) more so than any genius for business. Gate's real ability is in marketing and unethetical, cut-throat behavior. Its always been true. I can't help but look down on any an

      • by Raenex (947668)

        He's never shown much smarts when it comes to matters of technology. Period. People have always attributed technological and business prowess where little actually exists. His business position has always been one of luck, usually by the ineptitude of others (cough, IBM) more so than any genius for business. Gate's real ability is in marketing and unethetical, cut-throat behavior. Its always been true. I can't help but look down on any and all who idolizes Gates.

        You talk a lot about IBM, but they only got in the position to work with IBM because of Basic. You should try reading the article (the second link, the Vanity Fair one), which is written by Paul Allen and provides a detailed, early history of his partnership with Bill Gates and the creation of Microsoft. To say that Gates didn't have technical skill is completely ignorant.

        • by Belial6 (794905)
          Are you trying to claim that being able to write a basic interpreter makes you tech savvy? A little MAYBE, but it is hardly on the scale of what Gates is attributed with. Pretty much anyone with an interest could write a basic interpreter. Not to mention he had help.
          • by GooberToo (74388)

            Couldn't of said better.

          • Are you trying to claim that being able to write a basic interpreter makes you tech savvy? A little MAYBE, but it is hardly on the scale of what Gates is attributed with. Pretty much anyone with an interest could write a basic interpreter. Not to mention he had help.

            Writing a BASIC interpreter is pretty easy.. Writing one that resides in 8KB of memory and is functional on late 70's technology is at least a little hard. I'm not saying Gates is/was a technical genius, but if I was hiring developers in the 70's, he'd probably make the cut.

        • by GooberToo (74388)

          I'm fully aware of Microsoft's background, which is why I wrote an informative post, to which you replied.

          To say that Gates didn't have technical skill is completely ignorant.

          My comment was very much hyperbole but the point remains valid. Gates is extremely low on the tech savvy scale and nothing near the skill what he's constantly attributed. He wrote, with assistance, an extremely low end basic interpreter. That skill level is easily achieved by anyone who achieves a degree in computer science.

  • by MrEricSir (398214) on Thursday March 31, 2011 @12:51AM (#35674858) Homepage

    Saying nice things about people never sold anything. If he said nice things about Gates, would the book even be on Slashdot?

    If you want your autobiographical book, newspaper, magazine, etc. to sell, you have to be at least a little mean.

    • by Daengbo (523424) <daengbo@nospaM.gmail.com> on Thursday March 31, 2011 @01:07AM (#35674938) Homepage Journal

      Gates was always ruthless, egotistical, and manipulative in his dealings with others -- possibly even sociopathic. His recent change is just Robber Baron Guilt playing itself out like it always does. No one wants to go down in history the way he was going to go. You've got to distract the public, donchaknow?

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        If he truly would be a sociopath, he wouldn't feel guilt.

        • by Daengbo (523424) <daengbo@nospaM.gmail.com> on Thursday March 31, 2011 @03:04AM (#35675370) Homepage Journal

          Sociopaths are really good at mimicking normal emotions. In this case, it looks like guilt, but it's really just as self-serving as ever.

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            Your reasoning fails a basic sniff test; The public at large has nothing like your nerdrage-based antipathy towards Bill Gates.

            • You've never know a (clinical) sociopath; they're quite good at faking anything that furthers their wants.

            • by Lumpy (12016)

              The public is also incredibly stupid and easily manipulated.
              And I will not do a sniff test on that... I've been on the subway, I know what they smell like.

            • by GooberToo (74388)

              Actually his reasoning is extremely well founded in medical fact.

              The fact is, his philanthropy didn't really start until he got married; or roundabouts. Chances are extremely high, his charitable efforts have everything to do with his wife and his deeply rooted need to appear normal for her. Such behavior is extremely common for sociopaths. And as have several studies shown, the majority of fortune 500 are in fact, run by sociopaths.

          • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Experiences with sociopaths/narcissists does make one paranoid...

      • Robber Baron Guilt (Score:4, Interesting)

        by wombatmobile (623057) on Thursday March 31, 2011 @02:50AM (#35675308)

        His recent change is just Robber Baron Guilt playing itself out like it always does.

        Robber baron's don't get guilt. Their "charity" is a sneaky form of hubris.

        • by Daengbo (523424)

          "Guilt" is what I call it, but it's really a form of egotism, just as you say, They realize their mortality and want to continue to live on through foundations and buildings, changing their image in the process.

          • by tukang (1209392)

            A Fat Cat is a man of large means and no political experience who having reached middle age, and success in business, and finding no further thrill ... of satisfaction in the mere piling up of more millions, develops a yearning for some sort of public honor and is willing to pay for it. The machine has what it seeks, public honor, and he has the money the machine needs

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fat_cat_(term) [wikipedia.org]

        • by lucm (889690) on Thursday March 31, 2011 @06:35AM (#35676264)

          > Their "charity" is a sneaky form of hubris.

          I agree on this one but I would say this is something recent.

          A good friend of mine is working for some AIDS-related NGO in Africa and she told me that the Gates foundation is using the same nasty methods than made Microsoft what is is today, crushing the "competition" and using their big bucks to do some arm-twisting and whatnot so things are done their way. Knowing that Warren Buffet pledged to give billions to that charity (while refusing to put his own children in his will) is not good news for her.

          However some insanely rich people did some good in the past. Think about Rockefeller, who had cut-throat business practices but also gave billions for science and education. The research centers he built and financed were responsible for eliminating a lot of diseases in the south of the USA (such as the ringworm). Also his money was crucial for the development of the University of Chicago. The Rockefeller foundation was created in a way that prevented interference from Rockefeller business and it was managed by consensus, so one single guy could not run the show. It is still active today.

          In the case of Rockefeller it was possibly a religious thing; for many baptists it is a virtue and a lifestyle to make a lot of money, to save every cent, and to share a large part of this money with the needy. As for Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, seeing how they gave nothing until very recently, one could wonder if they are not simply trying to buy themselves a good name or a good conscience.

          • by dunezone (899268) on Thursday March 31, 2011 @09:01AM (#35676992) Journal

            Knowing that Warren Buffet pledged to give billions to that charity (while refusing to put his own children in his will) is not good news for her..

            Thats because Warren Buffet doesn't like the idea of transferring wealth from one generation to the next. Warren Buffet wants his children to be independent from him and make it on their own. Ever hear of those stories where the children of the highly succesful tend to be screw ups? Because they were handed everything and never understood the idea of making it on their own. Additionally, they weren't written out of his will, they just wont receive a large amount of wealth, same thing is happening with Bill Gates children.

        • by Comboman (895500)

          Their "charity" is a sneaky form of hubris

          Not to mention a tax write-off.

          • by maxume (22995)

            When you give $1 to charity, you get a tax benefit of less than $1.

            It is probably possible to establish a foundation and then pay yourself to run it (and maybe some other people you like), but even that only avoids taxes on the money that stays inside the foundation.

      • by jabjoe (1042100)
        Thus the Gates Foundation to be remember by something else. Plus I'm sure it does MS no harm with him being all charitable and still supporting Windows. Everyone is a winner......
    • by timeOday (582209) on Thursday March 31, 2011 @01:15AM (#35674958)
      Telling the truth isn't mean, and you don't get to be the richest guy in the world by sharing. You get there with a combination of perfect luck, extreme talent and motivation, and by using every trick in the book. If you didn't, somebody else who did would be #1.
      • by mcvos (645701)

        Bill Gates didn't merely stick to tricks in books. He could easily write some new books on dirty tricks. He won't, because it'll make him look bad, so others other doing it for him.

        I don't think all billionaires used tricks that were quite as dirty as those of Bill Gates. Larry and Sergey seem rather nice, for example. I'm sure there are others.

        • by Kharny (239931)

          Yeah, the two guys who stole their revenue method from someone else seem "nice"

          • by tbannist (230135)

            You can't really steal ideas. They're not property. Doing what someone else used to do only bigger, better, faster, and more accurately, is what many people like to call "progress".

            Bill Gates, on the other hand, literally used fraud, deception, and theft to become a billionaire.

            • by Lumpy (12016)

              "You can't really steal ideas. They're not property."

              Tell the patent system and patent trolls that.

          • What have they stole, and from who?

    • by exomondo (1725132) on Thursday March 31, 2011 @01:28AM (#35675002)
      Not to mention at the bottom of the article:
      According to Wednesday's Wall Street Journal, Allen's portrayal of Gates "in the book is already making waves within the tight circle of early Microsoft alumni, with several people who know both men privately expressing confusion about Mr. Allen's motivations for criticizing his old business partner and questioning the accuracy of Mr. Allen's interpretation of certain events
      • by Sem_D_D (175107)
        Do you really expect WSJ to post *anything* else as their opinion?
        After all, they represent big capital in a very, VERY conservative way, not to mention that Keith Rupert Murdoch is breathing down their necks.
        Just an example of why I can relate, so to speak, to Paul Allen:
        When BillG announced his intention to "give away" or pledge half of his fortunes to the foundation of his and his wife's name, I thought: how convenient, this is what some ultra rich people are doing to actually protect their fortun
    • by rolfwind (528248) on Thursday March 31, 2011 @01:36AM (#35675030)

      Well, yeah, a scandalous book might sell more, but does Paul Allen really need the money?

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Well, yeah, a scandalous book might sell more, but does Paul Allen really need the money?

        Just in case he doesn't, I'll be torrenting the PDF ebook scan all night.

      • by c0lo (1497653)

        Well, yeah, a scandalous book might sell more, but does Paul Allen really need the money?

        You see... if it wouldn't be so scandalous, I bet that Paul Allen would had it published under a CC license.

        But... lawyers are expensive, better be safe than sorry.

        (GRIN)

    • by SomePgmr (2021234)
      I'm sure you're right, but I have to wonder why he much cares if his book sells well. He's worth $13 billion. Perhaps it's vanity or legacy-building, but then there wouldn't be much incentive to get nasty or even hyperbolic, would there?

      I guess the other conclusion is that he really did just feel like he was robbed... which I'd have a little trouble feeling bad about given his enormous wealth and, let's be honest, Gates' leading role in the acquisition of said bankroll.
    • by jabjoe (1042100)
      > Saying nice things about people never sold anything. If he said nice things about Gates, would the book even be on Slashdot?

      Quite possibly, as a shock factor. This is pretty much as we expected.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 31, 2011 @01:21AM (#35674982)

    Bill Gates always claimed that his stuff was cheaper than everyone elses, and he barely made any money at all. Thats why he has made the Forbes greediest list for such a long time, his priest-like oath to poverty. I heard the story about how Allen would be pale, vomiting, and shivering over a console, while Gates tells Ballmer, that if he doesn't put in a full 60 hours a week, and get the project done on time, he forfeits 80% of his stock. Gates didn't contribute any code, not much for ideas, but he did have the company. Oh, and he had more greed than any of the others. Some also described him as a sonofabitch. But you never heard that from me.

    • Gates didn't contribute any code

      This is so not true. [wikipedia.org]

      • by eples (239989) on Thursday March 31, 2011 @07:47AM (#35676534)
        Yeah, that, and the BASIC interpreter itself. Not a small thing.
        • by hitmark (640295)

          Supposedly he wrote some code for excel. This showed up in a story from a programmer talking about how it was to work inside Microsoft (apparently Gates would verbally rip you a new one if he thought your stuff was poor workmanship, not unlike some claims about Jobs or for that matter the various mailing list quotes from Torvalds). It showed up because the programmer had found and fixed a old bug in the code, and when presenting the finding at a meeting, Gates present, he learned that the piece of code he f

    • by dunezone (899268)

      Bill Gates always claimed that his stuff was cheaper than everyone elses, and he barely made any money at all. Thats why he has made the Forbes greediest list for such a long time, his priest-like oath to poverty. I heard the story about how Allen would be pale, vomiting, and shivering over a console, while Gates tells Ballmer, that if he doesn't put in a full 60 hours a week, and get the project done on time, he forfeits 80% of his stock. Gates didn't contribute any code, not much for ideas, but he did have the company. Oh, and he had more greed than any of the others. Some also described him as a sonofabitch. But you never heard that from me.

      Are you describing Bill Gates or Steve Jobs here? Because I heard this same story from the Apple camp also just with different names.

  • Paul's the Good Guy? (Score:4, Informative)

    by mpapet (761907) on Thursday March 31, 2011 @01:22AM (#35674986) Homepage

    Is Paul the good guy in this scenario? Nope. Not even close.

    • by AVryhof (142320)

      Maybe he's saying these things more out of respect than dislike.

  • by RR (64484)
    Calling Bill Gates ruthless and greedy, this is controversial? It seems rather a compliment compared with what other labels you could legitimately attach to him.
  • Paul Allen Awarded Patent: Ripping Bill Gates, Via Autobiographical Publication
  • tiniest violin (Score:2, Insightful)

    by rritterson (588983)

    Yep, you got so screwed that you only became a billionaire instead of the richest person on earth. If only we could all be so fortunate.

  • We hear this all the time. Successful business leaders are smart, extremely hard working, driven, greedy sociopaths. These MS guys of course are the most extreme of them all. Seems most tech business is this way.

    There's a species of small marsupial in which the males compete so fiercely, even suicidally, for mates that the ones who survive the fights all die anyway after their first mating season. They're burned up from the constant, intense, no holds barred fighting, and the toll of their raging horm

    • great post what about the role of visicalc in transforming pcs from toys for hobbyists into an industry ?
      could it be that all of gates and allen's money is based on the work of two ivory tower academics ?
      also, didn't gates not pay his temps health insurance for many years ? sort of detracts from the charity bit, as a pope remarked, when raising hte pay of vatican workers and cutting back on aid to the poor, justice before charity
  • I mean, being kind-of-an-asshole to Allen was the best thing Gates ever did over his life.

    I also have to question portrayal of both Gates and Allen as competent programmers. What is described as their outstanding accomplishments, is something any decent programmer of that time would have to do every day, and most did that without the atrocious design that Microsoft is known for, ever since.

  • I don't see anything in the article saying Allen 'understood' Gates decision to bilk Allen out of his share of Micro-Soft ..

    "One evening in late December 1982, I heard Bill and Steve speaking heatedly in Bill’s office .. It was clear that they’d been thinking about this for some time. Unable to stand it any longer, I burst in on them and shouted, “This is unbelievable! It shows your true character, once and for all

    "In January, I met with Bill one final time as a Microsoft executive.

"Most of us, when all is said and done, like what we like and make up reasons for it afterwards." -- Soren F. Petersen

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