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Bill Gates & his 12 Steps 291

Hello, my name is Bill Gates, and I'm greedy, arrogant and evasive. Oops, wrong steps. This week, Time Magazine continues the media's proud tradition of fawning over Bill Gates every move. They've published excerpts from his new book "Business@The Speed Of Thought," the stupefyingly boring sequel to the very vapid but best-selling "The Road Ahead." Smiling from the cover, Gates is touting "Bill Gates' 12 Steps" for digital business success. Fantasizing a world in which truth is sometimes told, we offer our own version of Bill Gates secrets for success, certain you'll have even more.

It takes a certain amount of shamelessness to be a monomaniac billionaire dwarf. But even by Bill Gates' standards, excerpts from his new book Business - The Speed of Thought, gracing this week's Time magazine, set new records for gall.

Bill Gates, you may remember, hasn't had a good year. Business Week described one competitor, open source operating system Linux, as Microsoft's "Vietnam." 3Com has snatched the bulk of the handheld computer market right out from under Microsoft's nose. Apple's new open source operating system OSX is on the way. Sony is coming after Microsoft with new operating systems that run personal computing and consumer electronics. And then there's the trial, so far at least, powerful reinforcement of the notion that just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you.

When Gates appeared as a witness in the Microsoft trial he was shockingly arrogant, and - to put it as generously as possible - forgetful. Meanwhile, complaints about MS software bugs have hit record levels on MS bug websites, and IBM's middleware software is taking off. A number of state attorneys general are licking their chops over expected settlements in the Microsoft anti-trust trial, which the company's leading execs are skewered weekly and reminded what they wrote in e-mails months and years earlier. Beyond that, Microsoft's insanely hyped new media properties - the online magazine Slate,, and local Sidewalk entertainment and information sities - are all still struggling, all still losing vast sums of money.

Is Bill Gates chastened? Humbled? Don't be silly. He's written yet another vapid tome, the banal sequel to the much-hyped "The Road Ahead," his first best-seller, which accomplished something few authors could have achieved - making the future of the Internet so boring as to be unreadable. By and large, the press treated that book as if it were the Koran, personally delivered by the Prophet himself. Again, the mainstream media are slobbering over their favorite Millenial visionary. In this sequel, does Gates have a single word to about the many challenges facing his company, and his multiple mis-steps of l998? For that matter, does Time ask him? Don't be foolish. In his new book, gushes Time in its cover story, "Microsoft's chairman says that only managers who master the digital universe will gain competitive advantage."

Duh. This is how Gates made billions?

"To function in the digital age," writes Gates the author, "we have developed a new digital infrastructure. The successful companies of the next decade will be those that use digital tools, he continues. And to make "digital information flow an intrinsic part of your company," he offers a number of key steps.

If you're planning on reading this book and getting rich off of computers, go gamble on some e-stock instead, or play your local lottery. You'll do better. Gates' "Steps" are true yawners, either so obvious as to be useless, or full of the kind of incomprehensible cyber-jabberwocky news organizations like Time drool over. Like "Insist that communication flow through e-mail"; "Study Sales Data Online to Share Insights Easily"; and "Use Digital Communication To Redefine the Boundaries." (My personal favorite is: "Transform Every Business Process Into Just-In-Time Delivery." Everybody must realize, Gates cautions, that "if you don't meet customer demands quickly enough, without sacrificing quality, a competitor will.) Talk about vision.

And those are the best and most provocative ideas. It's hard to know which is dumber, Gates "steps" or Time's incomprehensible decision to air them on its cover.

Clearly, the Gates comeback is underway, the manipulable media ready for one more go at presenting this remarkably unremarkable man as a millenial wizard, and for the second, or is it the third, time? Modern media has no memory when it comes to fawning over the rich and powerful, and falling for hype is sure no vice in that business.

Imagine what Gates's true steps might be if we didn't live in so hype-heavy and world and if journalism told the truth. They might go something like this:

l. Destroy Competitors.

2. Discourage competition.

3. Be arrogant and evasive, even under oath and before a federal judge (this isn't really a new idea).

4. Build a digital castle for hundreds of millions of dollars and stuff it with Leonardo DaVinci's sketchpads, Napoleon's trinkets and other memorabilia. Make it so awe-inspiring that visiting journalists are dazzled and cowed forget to ask any tough questions, and continue to bally hoo even your dubious accomplishments.

5. Refuse to answer questions, anyway, except in carefully selected and protected environments - book excerpts, pre-arranged and carefully screened interviews.

6. Create unnecessary software and hype it beyond all reason, forcing hundreds of thousands of helpless and unknowing people to spend millions or even billions of dollars unnecessarily. Then charge them extra for "incident" help when they call up trying to get help they deserve for the products they bought.

7. Seek to dominate an entire culture.

8. Amass tens of billions of dollars, even though you could give ever poor kid in America his or her own computer without evening touching your capital. Give some money to charity, but require most of the recipients - libraries, for instance -- to buy more of your products to use the free stuff they get.

9. Be obnoxious, surly and arrogant.

10. Be sure to make friends with important people in media and have them over to your house.

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Bill Gates & his 12 Steps

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    I will start by recalling some facts. When Bill started his dos thing, there no people's computers. IBM et al. had huge nifty machines that cost a lot. Bill even tried to sell DOS (some say begged) to IBM, but the answer was to snob the whole PC thing. Apple didn't do any better. Sure they had cool stuff. But they were and still are worse than any Microsoft monopoly. Heck, they do it all from software to hardware, to peripherals. If they had had their way. You wouldn't be able to buy a mouse that's made by someone else.

    SO to state the facts, Bill was at the right moment at the right place. Does he deserve anything for this ? I think, maybe yes. After all, he went on with the PC idea, made it or made his company go the win3.x and then the jump to win95.

    Of course Windows is not stable, of course the whole thing is probably the crapiest thing to ever exist on the surface of the globe! BUT, no one else was there, to promote cheap PC's, to build software so that average Joe's and Janes get to press and then click some buttons.

    Apart from Linux, there isn't and never was anyone who tried to make something that normal users would afford. Like it or not, it's because of DOS, then Windows that we (normal people) could afford to buy computers.

    Yes, I think he deserves that money, and I don't think IBM or Apple are to be thought of as poor innocent souls. Both have showed they could be worse than Microsoft. They just never could really do it as Bill did.

    However, now is the time for people not only to use computers in a dumb way. It is the time where more and more people are trying to go further while using their machine, and they discover that even though Windows was and still is the best choice for average user with no idea, the OS just doesn't cut it when it comes to true use.

    And they at Linux, as I did and discover an alternative than shares with windows the fact that normal people can get it. I can't buy SCO Unix. I can't buy Sun sparc, or even SGI machine.

    My choice goes to PCS, and I definitly ditch Apple. They are the worst, but without the cash or the power!

    And for a good affordable, BUT STABLE PC, I have one choice: LINUX

    So this is Linux's time, Bill won't lose any money though. Good for him, he was there!
  • Or to any of the responses to this :-)
  • Wordstar did not become Word. Wordstar was still around when Word started to become popular. They responded by dumping most of their original code (which I hear was some of the most incredible hand-optimized assembly ever written), and making Wordstar2000 (in 1985) which flopped so badly that the company was never heard from again.

    As far as I know, the only actual code that Bill Gates worked on was MS-BASIC, and even that one was mostly done by Paul Allen.
  • As far as what has he done personally, I think he did a little of the coding work in MS-BASIC (the program that started Microsoft). AFAIK, most of the first version of MS-BASIC was done by Paul Allen and then the employees that they hired after they sold some early copies.

    As far as what has his company developed themselves, while Windows (I'm talking versions 1 and 2 here) was mostly other peoples ideas, I think it was coded by Microsoft. For Windows 3, 95 and 98 they contracted out a lot of it.

    Windows NT 3.5 was just OS/2 and VMS run together really fast with a Windows 3 GUI put on it, in fact the developers, and much of the code, were grabbed from the OS/2 design team and Digital.

    TrueType was a purchase from Apple (they developed it and were discarding it in favor of Adobe Type1). I think Word, PowerPoint and Xenix were purchased, I don't know from who.

    I think Microsoft Bob was written by them, I'm not sure. I also think the eariler versions of Masm and Microsoft C were written by them. Microsoft BASIC was written by them, and I think its decendants: BASICA, QBASIC and Visual Basic.

    You said "the Internet he did legitimately add to his OS, even if it was around for ages before". They didn't write their internet stuff. Winsock (i.e. "the Internet") was a kludged port of the same BSD networking stuff used in most Unixes. The same thing with most of the "standard" internet tools, Telnet, FTP, Ping, Traceroute. And, as you've said, Internet Explorer was purchased from SpyGlass.
  • by Gleef ( 86 )
    Mr P wrote:

    Let's see his innovations:...the Internet

    That's just not true! Everyone knows that Al Gore made the internet personally. :-)
  • by Gleef ( 86 )
  • Bill Gates new book is published by Warner Books, which is owned by Time-Warner which is also (you guessed it) the publisher of Time magazine. Can you say "conflict of interest"? This one even made the Drudge Report...
  • Isn't all of this simply a way to create increased dependence on Microsoft computers?
  • Well, I paid $1300 for an Apple //c, 128kb RAM, 12" full-color monitor, in 1984. At the time that was pretty much top-of-the-line. Nowadays all you can get for $1300 is last year's technology.
  • Posted by stodge:

    True. It's easy to get caught on the anti-MS bandwagon (its so easy!), but then it's also easy to get caught on the Linux hype bandwagon. You can't win either way!

    I'm one of these people who is pissed off with MS, their software and their practices. But I'm not the kind of person that Jon was addressing; the religious zealot. Yes I could just ignore his postings, but I thought this one might actually be witty and not just ranting and raving.

    I know all good causes and movements need a loud voice to carry the message to the world. But with postings like this we're posting the wrong message.

    Please just calm this hysteria. Be sensible, be mature, be intelligent. The more it occurs the more I'm tempted I am to walk away from Linux.

  • Posted by CyberPete:

    About Bill:

    I got "The Road Ahead" as a Christmas present a while back from some relatives that thought it was "computery" enough to interest me. I read it, and now it servers a very important place in my's helping to hold up one end of my battered old orange couch!

    About Katz:

    He could say ANYTHING on slashdot and over half of you would piss and moan! Makes me wish Rob could come up with a "filter all bitching" option for /.
  • Posted by stodge:

    Hahaha. You mean "Insist that communication flow through e-mail, but make sure you delete the dodgy ones that might come back to haunt you in court"??

  • Posted by Pushkin:

    That the thoughts of a man who totaly denies his insantiy, is several times more interesting than a tyrant who denies his tyranny. Or somthing like that... At least all sales of Mr. K's book will go to the families of his victims (according to USA Today)
  • Posted by Hackin Bey:

    give the people the least possible technology at the highest possible price. thats it...look at most technology-related empires (microsoft, tci...) and you will see this formula at work - this is why steve jobs will never win, he's obssessed with product quality and style.
  • Posted by The Mongolian Barbecue:

    To anyone who railed about Jon having no place at /. this should permenantly silence you. I haven't read such a well written literate satire of gates in quite a while. This is the kind of stuff we need as opposed to the l33t hax0rs saying MS sux. I haven't laughed so hard in quite a while.
  • Posted by The Mongolian Barbecue:

    that was taken word for word from some article in ZDNet. At least be original
  • Posted by The Mongolian Barbecue:

    This wasn't really an anti-MS thing, as much as an anti-Bill thing. And come on. This is no mindless bandwagon. How can you tell me that there is merit in Bill Gates' shameless self-promoting tripe?
  • Posted by wri guy:

    ... doesn't run through Redmond. :)

    Btw, last year the local Borders had scores
    of copies of TRA stacked on the floor like
    cordwood, selling for $2.95. Is that how it
    managed to become a "best seller"? I wouldn't
    take a copy free if they were giving them away.

    Execs ought to be reading Guy Kawasaki's standby,
    _The Macintosh Way_, instead of anything by BG.
  • Posted by AnnoyingMouseCoward:

    A "sick bastard and a troll" I may be, but never an AC. It looks like things are highly "alpha" right now. This is just to let you know It's me.

    P.S: this is the 5th time that I have tried to make this posting under my nick! What the hell is happening around here? Every time I try to post, It comes out as "Annonymous Coward" instead of "AnnoyingMouseCoward". Has Rob converted to NT or what?
  • Microsoft Bob, J.R. ``Bob'' Dobbs' Evil Twin? New Study Suggests

    The teriffically horrific attempt to make Microsoft's point-and-drool OS even more point-and-drool. MS Bob was supposed to be a sort-of helping hand to new users of Windows 95; your digital friend to this brand new world of incompatibility and crashes. Or something like that.

    It ended up being even more annoying than that paperclip from Microsoft and bombed despite the fact that it was widely touted as being next generation stuff--at least, it was here in Bill's home town. Of course, at the time, Bob required top of the line, super expensive hardware to even run properly. Come to think of it, Microsoft Office is similar in that respect. At least you can shut the more annoying ``features'' off though...

    ...or can you?

    • According to you, money is obtained through "luck"

    Bull. What he said was that Bill's money was obtained through luck, not that money in general is obtained through luck.

    You'd make a good politician with your talent for twisting words. I hope you're proud.

  • The front grille of an Edsel rather resembled a toilet seat.
  • "Big Gates, you may remember, hasn't had a good year."

    Hmm, looking at Microsoft's stock price, he's probably increased his net worth since January by more than the combined lifetime earnings of everyone who has read this article. I wish I could have that sort of bad year...
  • Yeah, I agree with a lot of the Katz tirade. I also agree about the Billy Bashing and the attitude comment, but if you`re a Billionaire dwarf you gotta take it as it comes.

    'Nuff Sed

    You hear the dry click, too late you realize there is a gun in this house that you tried to rob!...

  • Who's becoming "closed-minded?" I think it was an accurate analysis of something that had me puzzled as well. I saw this magazine in a bookstore yesterday and wondered why anyone would listen to the guy. Yes, I realize he has more money than anyone else in the country, but that didn't come through his savvy business sense. A review of the events that got him to where he is today shows that there was at least as much luck as skill involved. Now the media goes and ignores all the trouble his vaunted business sense has gotten him into and publishes a puff piece on him. Are they even the slightest bit critical? Nope. Do they even question anything he says? Nope. Why not? That's all I want to know.

    I agree that maybe the "pseudo-steps" at the end were going a bit far, but that's the kind of reaction that irresponsible media produces sometimes. I can't defend Jon for crossing the line either, but I can see why he did.

    I'd rather not be written off as another jealous Bill-hater. Money is not that important to me and I don't let it color my perceptions of people. It's not the fact that he has money that makes me not like him. It's just him. His attitude. His business practices. His lies. His arrogance. Tell me what there is to like about him. I can't think of anything.

  • I'm not saying that money has no importance. I work full-time to support myself and pay my way through college. I understand the importance of money very well. I just don't make it the goal of my life or assign the kind of importance to it that would make me jealous of Bill Gates' money. I only said this because I hate being accused of being jealous off Bill's money anytime I say something critical of him. Some people can't seem to see past the money issue.

  • Microsoft's C compiler was bought from the company that produced Lattice C. IE was NOT purchased - it was SUPPOSED to be licensed, but M$ stabbed poor Spyglass in the back by then releasing the licensed browser for free, nearly killing off Spyglass entirely. TrueType was licensed from Apple, not bought. And BTW, their socket API borrows heavily from the Berkeley Sockets API (check the copyright info on the WinSock DLLs).
  • ... he's crying all the way to the bank. And will be for some time to come.
  • oft1.html
  • Isn't all of this simply a way to create increased dependence on Microsoft computers?

    Well, yes, of course. That's the marketing goal of any company. What I meant was that these goals are applicable to any computing organization -- especially Free Software.
  • Before you go bashing, let's examine what Mr. Gates has to say. Rest assured, I hate MS just as much as the next guy, but Gates isn't completely off the mark. Here's the Time article point-for-point.

    Insist communication flow thru email

    Study sales data online to share insights easily

    Shift "knowledge workers" into high-level thinking (ie, freely distribute company data)

    Use digital tools to create virtual teams

    Convert every paper process to a digital process

    Use digital tools to eliminate single-task jobs

    Create a digital feedback loop (ie, re-evaluate your processes frequently)

    Use digital systems to route customer complaints immediately

    Use digital communication to redefine the boundaries (ie, re-examine what your business does, what it can do, and what it should do)

    Transform every business process to "just-in-time delivery" (ie, keep low inventory/overhead; speedy delivery)

    Use digital delivery to eliminate the middle man

    Use digital tools to help customers solve problems for themselves Admittedly, none of these are brilliant breakthroughs (it's all stuff various tech visionaries have been saying for years). However, behind the corporate double-speak, there's still a solid plan for 21th-century business. Ironically, notice that the Open Source community follows every one probably better than any corporation. When was the last time Alan's diary contained the entry "spent all day in a meeting with Linus" or Miguel wasted half a forest on yet another "GNOME is almost finished" memo? Don't be so quick to dismiss ideas just because they came from mouth of the Devil of Redmond.

  • 11. Choose your grandparents wisely. (i.e., be born into wealth)

    12. Lie, Lie, Lie! (Most people then become so used to the lies that they stop even trying to question them, and the 2nd, 3rd and 4th lie divert attention from the 1st)
  • I don't know a company that wouldn't pick Microsoft if their price for the same merchandise was 10 times higher than a reseller. The Microsoft nametag is alive and well in business.
  • I get so sick of people who just don't understand what an analogy is. Making a comparison between two things and saying they have one particular aspect in common is not the same as saying that they are "on the same level". In fact, the two things compared on an analogy are usually *not* "on the same level", but instead one has the aspect being compared to an unusually high degree, so as to emphasize that aspect in the other.
  • Some interesting thoughts.

    That is all I have to say about that.

  • ...and it might do pretty well - I'd recommend selling it at Spencer's, it would fit in well there. They simply expand that area where they sell all the toys ...
  • Why? Because people want to buy it. So what? The price of Microsoft stock indicates one thing: the price of Microsoft stock. That's all.

    Example one:, whose market cap is billions, and whose profit is miniscule.

    Example two: Dell recently released an earnings report with double-digit growth, and their stock FELL.

    I could go on, but why?
  • by jd ( 1658 )
    Stock values have NO relationship to Bill Gates' personal fortunes, or even that of the company.

    So long as there's a POSSIBILITY of dividends, investers will buy the stocks. From there, it's simple maths:

    You buy stocks, the price goes up. You sell stocks, the price goes down. More stocks bought than sold, the price rises by more than it falls.

    You also have to consider that tech stocks are largely regarded as hyper-inflated, anyway. For the reason given above - people buying promises, not goods. Actually, that, in itself is a good indicator - other tech stocks more than doubled in the year - I believe did very nicely for itself.

  • I think that's very unfair to Gates. (No, I don't work for MS and no, I don't worship the ground he walks on.)

    Most people, and almost all businesses, in the mid-seventies thought that microcomputers were toys, a complete waste of space. But Gates made the company motto 'A PC on every desk and every home all running MS software' (I paraphrase). It seems obvious now, but it wasn't then.

    Secondly, whether or not the hackers were improving the software, they *were* in breach of the licence agreement. If they didn't agree with those conditions they should not have used the software.

    Gates *has* been very lucky, but I don't think MS would be as successful as they are if that was his only skill.

    As has already been established, one skill he *doesn't* have is writing. Read 'Being Digital' or 'Release 2.1' instead. They're definately worth looking at.
  • I agree with soren. I've read the excerpts and the articles which follow. I don't think we should be bashing what it says just because it comes from a person that a lot of /.'ers don't like. I for one don't really care whether MS is a monopoly, or if Bill has more money than the GNP of my country. I also don't care if Bill is just repeating what he's read elsewhere. Bill want's a computer on every desk and in every home running MS software. Most of the /.'ers want Linux to achieve total world domination. The two goals are in opposition. But I bet Bill is paying attention to what the open source community is doing and saying We should pay attention to him as well
  • "Yeah. I mean, Microsoft has done great things for
    computers! They make software which is of high
    quality and which increase work efficiency. A
    multi-billion dollar corporation has nothing but
    our best interests at heart. Anyone who doesn't
    agree with them is obviously spreading propaganda
    and should, therefore, be ignored."

    Quick...Which one is the REAL propaganda?
  • Gates published his book to draw some attention towards himself and away from his company's woes. Time Magazine published excerpts from it so that people would raise a fuss and other people would buy a copy of Time to see what all the fuss is about. Both of them want your attention; you're giving it to them in spades.

    As Mae West said, "I don't care what you say about me, as long as you spell my name right." It's the same concept as when a web site such as CNet publishes a story titled something like "Does Linux Suck?" because they *know* it's going to draw the attention of the exact group of people they want to advertise at.

    The greatest danger in this is that Joe Sixpack may read his copy of Time and think that Unca Bill is really a pretty nice guy, and then he sees all of these SlashDotters foaming at the mouth and he decides to keep away from whatever they're selling.

  • Everyone knows Bill Gates only has four steps to success:

    1) Lie.
    2) Cheat.
    3) Steal.
    4) Repeat as necessary.

    That about sums it up, don't you think? By the way, some people are talking about how M$ has done good things. Frankly, I'd like to see one good thing MS has done which a) was actually good and b) was actually done by M$. I can't think of any off the top of my head.
  • slashdot has been changing, and will continue to change.... I think Rob has been doing everything in his power to keep the news fresh, varied, and occasionally very damn funny.

    Katz has his place.... I for one would think he would be more at home @ LinuxWorld or someother Linux-oriented webzine. They seem to revel in bashing MS more than anyone else.

    Slashdot is my homepage, and for good reason. It has all the news that's fit to print and then some. It has a nice mix of linux, hardware, software, open source, and everything else. Sometimes MS-rants are more obvious, at other times its the Star Wars info. Live and learn, use the spanking-new customizable Slashdot feature.. (should we call it CustomDot?)

    can't we all just get along?
  • Just if Katz has wrote something you like it doesn't mean that he is trying to get some points from you... If he did you would be all considering him a slashdot hero by now..

    Anyway Katz did a good job writing a hint sheet of what to say about Mr. Gates' new masterpiece. ;)
  • I agree with most of the points in this review. Microsoft and Bill Gates are certainly arrogant, and their products and services are not the most technologically advanced, and this reflects in the company's policies. I don't like Microsoft's policies but I certainly respect them. Keep in mind that Microsoft and Bill Gates have always stood for creating value for their company through the sale products and services for personal computers and they're very good at it. Technological excellence is not their goal--that's the Linux/Open Source goal. The Microsoft folks aren't doing anything wrong from their point of view.

    Personally I find Microsoft a great challenge, and that motivates me and the people who work with and for me to be smarter and to work harder at finding a niche where we can beat them. Who knows? We may even win. We try not to waste any time on whining about Big Bad Bill. That energy is better employed on other things.

    Finally, I have a problem with point 8 in the essay. Why is it that so many people feel so free to give other people's money or things away?

    What Mr. Gates wants to do with his money is his business. Nobody has to right to tell him what to do with it.


  • by ciurana ( 2603 )
    Oh, well... The anti-trust laws are an insult to the free market. While I may not like Microsoft's policies, nobody forces me to buy their products. I use Linux for my servers because it's better. I use Microsoft products when they enable me make money. I use a Macintosh for my personal stuff. I don't like the company, but I dislike the parasites who want to break it even less. Let the free market forces act!

    Interesting, how anti-trust laws penalize those who are successful. Is success in the scale of Microsoft's a crime?

    Gravity is my enemy and my friend. -- E. Sakumoto


  • Wowee!!!!!!!

    Troll heaven on Slashdot!!!!!! ;)
    Old Fart!!! Of tha SENIOR DADS!!!!!

  • Please. If Gates had such a bad year, why did MS stock more than double in that time?
  • Insist that you put your screed on a web page instead of an x-hundred-page book. Your audience will get your ideas faster and cheaper, plus you can delete the stupid/embarassing parts later.
  • Bob was a front-end to Windows 3.1.

    Imagine a children's game interface pitched to adults.

    It was incredibly insulting and required more resources than most novice users had. (As well as hoping that their video card was set to something more than 16 colors.) If they needed it, they could not install it. If they could install it, they did not need it.

    True Story about MS Bob:

    There is a program locally called "Town Hall". They have an audience and guests and try to stir up what passes for controversy in this town.

    They had a show on computers. One of the guests was a marketing flack from Microsoft promoting MS Bob.

    At one point the MS flack said (and I am *not* making this up) "The reason the name 'Bob' was chosen was because it was a sexually ambivelent name". I immediatly asked in a very loud voice "How many drag queens do you know named Bob?". They whole audience broke up laughing. Not to anyone's surprise, they deleted my comment from the program.

    To make it even more fun, the local station delayed airing the show for a couple of months due to a flood or storm or something of the sort. By that time, the local software stores were remaindering Bob at discount prices. (The local Egghead Software claimed that they only sold four.)

    You would think that someone responsible for such a fiasco would be fired or worse? Nope.

    The manager responsible for Microsoft Bob is now Mrs. Bill Gates.

    Shows how much attention Bill pays to quality...

  • heaven forbid that it turn out that MSFT actually did something good... /.-ers would never ever believe it.

    Fortunately, I don't think that's a scenario we have to worry about :-)

  • by hany ( 3601 )
    it's stunning article

    IMHO it's only question of time for M$ to cease to exist. but mr. gates alredy have a lot of money so he can start another "successful business". god save us (or whoever :) or better: save ourselves from such "visionaries"!

  • How many trees must sacrifice their lives so that this "innovative genius" can spew forth his "vision" for us? Trees help clean our environment. Bill helps pollute it. Please, stop the carnage!

    not a tree hugger...

  • Godwin's law is for lazy-brains who can't think for themselves.

    Repetition in America.
  • Wrong. The word is maths.
  • I didn't think there was "religious fervor" in this article. It's actually pretty close to the truth and anyone who can't see it must be totally ignoring what's going on!!!

    MS has gotten away with developing mediocre software for *years* and it's finally coming around to bite them.

    Truthfully, it doesn't matter to me what happens to MS, I haven't used *any* of their products in well over 3 years and don't intend to go back *ever*. I know I'm a minority, but I stick with stuff that I like, stuff that works.

    MS holds no place in my life and I try to convince others of the same thing.


  • Posting comments to /. about the evils of Microsoft doesn't help anything.

    Yes, but it is fun. :-)
  • That's called being a consultant. How do you think people make money from various forms of *nix?

    1) Setup and support servers for businesses that don't want to have there own IT department.

    2) Develop and deploy custom *nix applications.

    3) Replace crappy MS installations with *nix. :-)

    There are not enough bugs or problems with Unix to make money doing what the above poster describes.

  • Just because it's unpopular doesn't mean it's bad... perhaps the opposite is true. Sidewalk (SF at least) ROCKS! I hate to say anything good about MS, but I have rarely been disappointed in Sidewalk. Just thought I'd mention that.
  • My local Waldenbooks had numerous copies of "The Road Ahead" in their Bargain Books section for the unheard of price of $1.00. I bet they won't order as many copies of Gates' new book as they did last time!

    Not even Newt Gingrich's book went that cheap!
  • Every great revolution needs revolutionary writers. Incessant slamming of Katz's work by the slavering slashdotters is discouraging other writers from joining the cause, sending them back to Time to write pieces worshipping the Demon Gates.

    I went down to the local eatery this afternoon for lunch, saw the top 2 inches of Time, pulled it out and staggering back in shock and disbelief. We NEED someone like Katz to answer back on behalf of all of us. No, I take that back - I can't speak for everyone. I need him to answer back on behalf of ME.
  • Did you notice the last line?:

    (Man I love writing this drivel!)

    It's sometimes hard to classify the occasional pro-Microsoft comments that appear around here. I see four categories:

    • Astro-turf (as in, fake "grass-roots" support, i.e., MS people trying to make it look like MS has more supporters than it does)
    • Flame-bait (possibly some from MS, trying to provoke us so they can show how immature the responses are, but probably mostly just for fun)
    • Honest Microsoft support (I guess it's conceivable that someone would actually believe this stuff. Takes all kinds.)
    • Sarcasm (He doesn't mean it, and he doesn't expect anyone to be fooled -- he's making fun of anyone who would say these things seriously)
    However, in this case, it's not too hard to guess which category we're in -- he acknowledged it right at the bottom as "drivel". He was being sarcastic. He wasn't even trawling. You just jumped into the boat and impaled yourself on a hook.

    David Gould
  • I just got AOLs 4.0 version of "the internet and more!" So which is newer? how many internets are there? man, this computer thing is real complicated. Thank god i will have my computers off so that the y2k virus that is spreading doesn't infect my computer and makes it come alive and crash my windows, or does it crash your car? Man, i am can't wait to finish this time machine that i am working on in my basement, with it i can go back in time and buy a ton of MS stock, and be real rich! i can make it go up to a few hours into the future, but i can't make it go backwards. Oh well, maybe when i upgrade the OS on the built-in computer system in it from windows95 to windows 2000, i can get it to work correctly.
  • Different Bob's. Bob of the Slack is JR Bob Dobbs, the symbolic diety of the Church of the Subgenious. I'd tell you what they believe in, but I'd get it wrong and have a hundred screaming fanatic threatening to burn my house down.

    MS Bob was a poor attempt at a bad idea. The idea was to have a cute little guy follow you around on your computer and provide help when you need it. Kinda like that jumping paper clip in Word. People heralded it as an (probably the only) example of Microsoft innovation. No one liked it or bought it and it's fallen into the annals of history next to the Edsel.

    The Edsel was a car that didn't sell.
  • >Visual Basic - more apps have been written in VB
    >than any other language (ref: DevX). It brought
    >programming to the masses.


    You must surely mean HyperCard, right? Programming to the masses indeed.

    - Darchmare
    - Axis Mutatis,
  • >TrueType

    TrueType? Ever hear of Apple?

    By the way, Office and Windows are hardly innovations. Innovating is doing something that has never been done before, or doing it in a way that has never been done before.

    - Darchmare
    - Axis Mutatis,

  • This is the first Jon Katz article I really liked and had no problems with.

    He presents the media the way it is, and it shows how the entire power structure is so bent on money they will sacrifice every ideal to get there.

    I'm glad Open Source is getting some recognition, because the ideals it is based on are intrinisically more sound than something based on the whims of a corporation that wants to own everything that is the computer industry.
  • Hitler? Nazis? Guess thread is dead.
  • ...sense of life than they do about Bill Gates. According to you, money is obtained through "luck" -- either you have it or you don't, right? So money is not that important to you, as it's just a crapshoot as to who has it and who doesn't.

    I guess the terms "earning money" and "making money" mean the same to you as "stealing from someone else" or "winning the lottery." Maybe if you understood the meaning money a little better (or had to _earn_ it yourself), you would have more respect for it.

    Are you out of college yet? Do you live with your parents? Have you had to earn your own money to survive? Maybe money would be more "important" to you if you did.

  • Never thought I had it in me. Yes, AC, I do agree that there are more important things in life than money (getting laid, for just one instance). And perhaps I was doing a bit of Hasty G (a "nice" Hasty G, tho :-) on the poor guy. But this is an opinion I hear time and time again re: Bill Gates.

    I have read one of his biographies (_Gates_) and, yes, I am aware that:

    1.) He was born into a wealthy and well-respected Seattle family.
    2.) He went to an exclusive prep school (Lakeside), and later to an exclusive university (Harvard).
    3.) He is fairly smart (800 on math SAT, upper 700's on verbal, 800 on three Achievement tests)

    Which of these three does he truly "deserve"? If you agree with John Rawls, you would say none of them. If you agree with me, you will say he deserves all of them. His father (Bill Gates II) has the right to spend his money any way he wishes, including his son's education. And he is just as deserving of his IQ as you are of yours.

  • The book by Gates is an apt example of this statement.

    Who else could have made such statements with this many bug's in their products. Definitely not the ones who deliver good products !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • 12 Steps. Sounds like something to do with Alcoholics Anonymous. I know... Microsoftics Anonymous!

    The first step: Admission.

    "Hi, my name is John Doe, and I'm a Microsoft user."

    "Hi John!"

  • This is pretty funny. When people flame Katz for being a bad writer, everyone gets real upset. But when Katz himself flames one of the easiest targets in the world for being a bad writer, he's the man.

    I wonder if the same folks who have been defending Katz during the flame wars are going to stick up for Gates <smirk>

    If you don't like Gates, don't read the book. That's the logic you folks use, right?

  • But it was intersting, right?

  • 1. Never buy what can be safely copied or stolen.

    2. Never waste money on research. You can save money by letting others innovate for you.

    3. Never compete on the basis of quality. FUD and customer lock-in are cheaper and easier.

    4. Never allow your products to become compatible. If others manage to adopt your standards, change them. This will ensure customer lock-in.

    5. Never wait until your product is stable before releasing it. By releasing early, you save money on development, while ensuring extra cash for the "upgrade" (e.g. Windows 98).

    6. Never provide full backward compatibilty with your own products. Provide just enough to claim compatibility, while ensuring that your customers will eventually be forced to pay you for the upgrade.

    7. Ignore your competitor's protocols. If a competitor's protocol looks like it will succeed, embrace and extend that protocol until you destroy it or control it.

    8. Never lie about your competitor's products--unless you can get away with it.

    10. If a competitor's product runs on your platform, never use a false error message to discredit it. Use an incomprehensible message, and allow the user's doubts to do your work for you.

    11. Never publish a complete spec for your platform. Always leave enough undocumented to ensure that your competitor's products can be made incompatible on the next release.

    12. Never provide your customers with complete documentation for your products. Complete documentation leads to customers being in control of their systems, and the resulting confidence will interfere with your ability to control their decisions.
  • People will still be people, regardless of what operating system they use. They will still make stupid generalizations, and propeganda will still take the same form.
  • there was an ap called QDos from Gazelle. it was just a (great) file manager for dos. but thats not the QDOS spoken of here. QDOS was the original DOS that is now owned by Caldera and renamed OpenDOS
  • Oops, maybe it was DrDOS that was OpenDOS and is now once again DrDOS (heh)
    Anyways still two diferant QDOSs
  • Jeez - this is so funny - it's just like the old
    Monty Python movie "Life of Brian" where the Israel zealots were having an underground meeting and John Cleese shouts, "Name one thing that the Romans have ever done for us!" and one by one people get up and say, Roads, the Aquaduct, currency, sanitation, military security, etc :))

    The Holy Sandal! []
  • makes them feel good. Better, in fact, than not reading something that they fully expect to irritate them.

    I know.

    Go figure.


  • It's OK, but sometimes it horribly out-of-date sometimes. They closed down a club in my area and they kept listing it as a "hip" place to go.

  • See above. Got tired of wading through the variations on the theme of all the possible things that can be wrong with an essay, a person, a philosophy, a life, and figured you might appreciate hearing from somebody who enjoys your work. :) Especially since we seem to be in the majority. :)


  • stodge wrote:
    True. It's easy to get caught on the anti-MS bandwagon (its so easy!), but then it's also easy to get caught on the Linux hype bandwagon. You can't win either way!

    I'm one of these people who is pissed off with MS, their software and their practices. But I'm not the kind of person that Jon was addressing; the religious zealot. Yes I could just ignore his postings, but I thought this one might actually be witty and not just ranting and raving.

    I know all good causes and movements need a loud voice to carry the message to the world. But with postings like this we're posting the wrong message.

    Please just calm this hysteria. Be sensible, be mature, be intelligent. The more it occurs the more I'm tempted I am to walk away from Linux.

    Um, use Linux if you find it useful. If you're hanging around vitriolic Linux users, find some less vitriolic Linux users. :)

    Personally, I enjoyed the essay. I guess it's a bit irritating that having a few billion dollars means you can keep trying to reinvent yourself as a historic figure till you get it right.... Must be nice.

    On the whole, I'm just glad I don't have to use the guy's products. They're okay, but they crash a lot. And he keeps trying to tie people into proprietary standards, a strategy that will make lots of money through other people's misfortune, so I guess that irritates me too.

    I guess if you make a lot of money, you are likely to get a lot of people annoyed at you, particularly if you're not that picky in how you go about it. Such is life.

  • Katz... you got so worked up you forgot to read the article immediately following the "12 obvious, technobabble fluff filled steps".

    "Is There a Chapter Missing,Bill?" by Chris Taylor was a pretty good read. He brings up the point that no mention of any of the anti-trust trial are made. And the Gates reflected in the book and excerpt is very different from the Gates seen in the trial, and pretty much tears him and his book into little tiny pieces from there. Fun read, and I was very happy to see it accompany the main article.

    My favorite quote from the excerpt:
    "The old saying 'Knowledge is Power' sometimes makes people hoard knowledge. They believe that knowledge hoarding makes them indispensable. Power comes not from knowledge kept but from knowledge shared."

    This looks like something to be thrown right back at him! :)

    From the article:
    "If there was ever was a time for Microsoft employees to slap their boss with a reality check, this is it."

    Go get the magazine and give it a read. Lots of ammo, and a good article by Chris Taylor.

    (And maybe that plug will keep me out of trouble for posting direct quotes. :) But seriously, get it and read it. Or find it online, if it's posted.)
  • Please allow me to retract the part about "go get the magazine to read the other article". I just read the Drudge Report, and other posts on that little tidbit of information.

    Plugging your own company's book as news to generate publicity is a bit sick. Not the first time it's happened, but still.

    Don't buy it. Even if the other article is good.

    I'm allowed to change my mind, right?
  • Bill does have talent. I will be the first to admit he has business skills.

    But as far as being a visionary, however, he is not.
  • Mr. Katz, although you dwell on Bill Gates many shortcomings, you forget that he is the richest man on the planet. I could not quite discern if this piece was written out of jealousy or hatred for climbing to the top of the mountain without morals. which? I am not exactly his biggest fan, but anyone who can amass such great wealth and put it to use, if only for himself (which he hasn't done, B.G. is already the most contributing philanthropist in history) gets my vote of confidence.
  • From the description (no, I don't want to use up any of my precious brain cells checking this), it sounds like the book is possibly dull and pointless enough that perhaps it was written by some new Secret Microsoft Technology(tm) that writes books for people....

    Hmmmm..."IntelliActiveDirectCrapX". Works for me.
    (With Al Gore as co-author?)
  • He spoke at Mips once, and he was anything but boring. He was a great speaker, and really had people excited. It wore off after a while, but I can see how his employees, continually exposed to his hype, could get wrapped up in it all.
  • "Its just a flesh wound!"
    I don't understand what this has to do with Microsoft, but...

    Hitler has something to do with the _idea_ of the Volkswagon Beetle. He comissioned Porsche to dsesign a cheap "people's" car - which became available as the KdF Wagon (Strength through Joy Car). VW, despite a wartime history of using slave labor, came back as a postwar business with western blessings. The Beetle built until 1970 was essentially the 1930's car without fundamental changes.

    Which proves:
    *the Nazi regime temporarily benefited some Germans during the first years of their rule

    *advertising can sell a terrible car

    *nothing whatsoever related to the over-priced products of bland old Microsoft. MS has never sent thugs to kick in any Mac-users teeth (despite what Mac user web sites might claim!), taken over any goverments, attacked ethnic groups, etc.
  • nts/catalog.html []

    This doens't include the Windows-OS/2 forked/concurrent development IIRC.

  • many of whom believe Bill Gates and Microsoft are responsible for the personal computer, the GUI, and the internet

    C'mon now... Every schoolkid knows that Al Gore invented the Internet!

  • Here's the whole report (remember, matt.htm isn't static!) XXXXX DRUDGE REPORT XXXXX 03/16/99 21:02:58 ET XXXXX BUSINESS @ THE SPEED OF BOUGHT TIME magazine [March 22, 1999] features Bill Gates on its cover this week. The world's richest man gives the world 12 steps for the world's businesses to survive in a new digital world -- a sneak peek from his forthcoming book, BUSINESS @ THE SPEED OF THOUGHT. But in all of the excitement, TIME editors fail to point out that the book's publisher, WARNER BOOKS, is owned by the same parent company, TIME WARNER, that owns TIME magazine! Corporate synergy turned sinergy? Nowhere in the editorial copy of the nation's most trusted news weekly is the reader informed that this week's cover story is an active promotion for a company product, the Bill Gates book, set to be released next week. "This is not news, this is an infocommerical!" declared a senior editor for a competing weekly. Have TIME editors thrown journalistic integrity out the window by shamelessly hyping a TIME WARNER product for sales? "We do books all of the time, like Tom Wolfe's book last year," a TIME magazine editor explained. "We report news. Bill Gates is news. Drudge, if you had a book, we would consider writing about it." Case closed. Flattery will get you everywhere. The Gates book looks impressive and is a very important literary work that deserves every cover! _________________________________________________ Reports are moved when circumstances warrant (c)DRUDGE REPORT 1999 Not for reproduction without permission of the author
  • Let's see his innovations:

    DOS, Windows, Word/Excel/PowerPoint/Office, TrueType, the Internet, the Sidewalk, SoftImage, AVI, ...
  • Screwed over all us dumb f&*ks while amassing Billions. While Commodore, Apple and the gang shoot themselves in the foot. The reason Bill Gates got the IBM DOS account was that his mother sat on the IBM board of directors and knew all the IBM executives. He's a momma boy, a rich boy, who knows there's a class war going on in the world and the rich are winning. So F%$k us all for Linux, open source, the gift economy, the U. S. Constitution, the French Revolution, fighting WWII and turning the VW bug into a peace symbol. Why was Bill Gates ever told about the Internet in the first place!!!!!! Bill Gates has never been a geek unless every boy with pimples on his a$$ is a geek. My next computer purchase is going to be a real computer with a real OS. That means so long Wintel. It's been hell knowing ya. I feel better now :)
  • Here's a link [] to an amusing little site (albeit biased) about how Bill made his fortune. Enjoy!


"The number of Unix installations has grown to 10, with more expected." -- The Unix Programmer's Manual, 2nd Edition, June, 1972