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Microsoft Businesses

Paul Allen Rips Bill Gates In Autobiography 249

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 Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 31, 2011 @12:58AM (#35674896)

    Who could have ever pegged Bill Freaking Gates as a ruthless opportunist? Who exactly thinks this is news?

    It's news because of who is saying it.

  • 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.

  • 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 ) <daengbo AT gmail DOT 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.

  • by Compaqt ( 1758360 ) on Thursday March 31, 2011 @04:16AM (#35675658) Homepage

    Is there any defense to stock dilution? I think this is a pertinent question, because a good number of /.'ers might be working for startups with stock as part of the package.

    Are there standard contracts which prevent this, or should everyone have to hire a lawyer to pound out custom contract$.

    If everybody's share is getting diluted at the same time, I guess that might be OK if the value is increasing.

  • 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.

  • Re:Say it ain't so! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mldi ( 1598123 ) on Thursday March 31, 2011 @10:18AM (#35677616)
    Considering that he's willingly giving up half his wealth to charity, I'd say he's not bad. I don't know about his business ethics but I don't believe he's a bad person.

    Steve Ballmer, on the other hand, watches you poop.
  • Re:Say it ain't so! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by TheSeventh ( 824276 ) on Thursday March 31, 2011 @10:54AM (#35678028)
    I heard about this originally a couple of years ago (maybe in a Paul Allen interview?), but while they were working on MS-DOS, he overheard Bill Gates discussing how to get back Paul Allen's company shares if he should die from his disease (Hodgkins), so that Paul's family doesn't have any control of the company.

    One of the co-founders has a potentially deadly disease, but is still hard at work for the company, and Gates is trying to figure out how to screw him and his family over if he dies.

    Yeah, Gates is not a bad person at all. Paul then mentioned that after this, he kept a close eye on Gates and what was going on, and planned on getting out as soon as he could, albeit with his Billions of dollars . . .

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