Arrogant. Bullying. Ruthless. Stubborn. All of these are adjectives that former and current Microsoft colleagues and competitors have used to describe William Henry Gates III. But would those critics describe him as evil? Not in a million years.
When Gates announced that he was stepping down from daily operations at Microsoft in July 2008, it spawned a flood of articles about his legacy. Some compared him to Henry Ford, another person who took an expensive, rarified technology and devised an ingenious way to selling it to the masses [source: Ferguson].
Microsoft's long-time mission was to have "a PC on every desk and in every home." Indeed, Microsoft operating systems have been used on billions of PCs worldwide since 1981 [source: Hamm].
Some journalists and pundits chose to compare Gates to Henry Ford, but a more apt comparison might be to Andrew Carnegie, the steel baron who engaged in ruthless business practices before dedicating the final years of his life to philanthropy. By the time he died in 1919, he'd given away all of his ill-gotten riches to found museums, libraries, parks and numerous charitable organizations.
Gates may be guilty of many underhanded businesses tactics, but has yet to order mercenary troops to attack his own factory (as Carnegie did). As a philanthropist, he's poised to become the greatest giver in the history of the world [source: Gralla]. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has already invested tens of billions of dollars toward the eradication of disease and poverty in developing nations and eventually will give away all of Gates' wealth. How evil could that be?
For more great lists, head to the links below.
- Colony, George F. "Bill Gates' Legacy: Constructive Monopolism." The Counterintuitive CEO. June 16, 2008 (July 15, 2009)http://blogs.forrester.com/colony/2008/06/bill-gates-lega.html
- Enderle, Rob. "Microsoft: Hated Because It's Misunderstood." InternetWeek. September 3, 2003 (July 15, 2009)http://www.informationweek.com/news/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=14200393&pgno=1&queryText=&isPrev=
- Ferguson, Tim. "Bill Gates' legacy: a modern day Henry Ford." Silicon.com. June 25, 2008 (July 15, 2009)http://news.zdnet.com/2100-3515_22-208193.html
- Gralla, Preston. "Gates' historical legacy may focus more on philanthropy than Microsoft." Computer World. June 23, 2008 (July 15, 2009)http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9101858/Gates_historical_legacy_may_focus_more_on_philanthropy_than_on_Microsoft?intsrc=hm_list
- Hamm, Steve. "Sorting Out the Gates Legacy." BusinessWeek. June 22, 2006 (July 15, 2009)http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/jun2006/tc20060622_627526.htm
- Ho, Justin. "Debunking 15 Myths About Microsoft." JustinHo.com. May 10, 2008http://justinho.com/blog/debunking-15-myths-about-microsoft/
- Investopedia. "Natural Monopoly" (July 15, 2009)http://www.investopedia.com/terms/n/natural_monopoly.asp
- Jones, Jeffrey R. "Windows Vista: One Year Vulnerability Report." Microsoft. January 15, 2008 (July 15, 2009)http://blogs.technet.com/security/attachment/2772991.ashx
- PBS. "Triumph of the Nerds: The Rise of Accidental Empires." June 1996 (July 15, 2009)http://www.pbs.org/nerds/part3.html
- Moore, John Frederick. "Federal judge says software firm possesses operating system monopoly." CNN Money. November 11, 1999. (July 15, 2009)http://money.cnn.com/1999/11/05/technology/microsoft_finding/
- Moscovitz, Ilan. The Dumbest Investment I've Ever Seen." The Motley Fool. July 9, 2009 (July 17, 2009)http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/31828993/ns/business-motley_fool/
- Rapoza, Jim. "Microsoft's Top 10 Innovations." eWeek. (July 15, 2009)http://etech.eweek.com/slideshow/index.php?directory=ms_innovations¤tPic=1
- Reimer, Jeremy. "A History of the GUI." Ars Technica. May 5, 2005 (July 14, 2009)http://arstechnica.com/old/content/2005/05/gui.ars
- Silverthorne, Sean. "The Secret of How Microsoft Stays on Top." Harvard Business School. December 2, 2002 (July 15, 2009)http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/3196.html
- Sink, Eric. "Memoir from the Browser Wars." EricSink.com. (July 17, 2009)http://www.ericsink.com/Browser_Wars.html
- The Smoking Gun. "Mug Shot of the Week"http://www.thesmokinggun.com/mugshots/gatesmug1.html
- Webopedia. "WIMP"http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/W/WIMP.html
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