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What's Your Take on Bill Gates?

Posted August 01, 2008 8:43 AM

Bill Gates, arguably technology's most financially successful figure of all time, has said goodbye to Microsoft, the company he founded, to concentrate on philanthropy. While C/Net caught up with Gates for his reflections in his final days on the job, the software tycoon's career invited a barrage of commentary in the press. Some saw him as a hero and positive change agent. Others viewed him as a ruthless competitor who squashed many would-be entrepreneurs. How do you assess Bill Gates' impact on technology, business, and people's everyday lives?

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#1

Re: What's Your Take on Bill Gates?

08/01/2008 2:45 PM

I think his charity work far overshadows any criticisms he faced as a CEO. Really, are we qualified to judge a man who has managed to raise over 60 billion dollars (counting the money Buffett has promised) to help the most needy? I could live a 100 lifetimes and perhaps not be able to help as many people as his charity can. I rarely hear this work discussed in the media. Now this author wants us to judge whether Gates is a good person or not? I realize it's a good way to stir up converstion, but cmon.

http://www.gatesfoundation.org/default.htm

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#9
In reply to #1

Re: What's Your Take on Bill Gates?

08/07/2008 8:14 AM

I think he cannot repay what he has stolen from people who bought Microsoft products that had to be patched and repatched again to be able to barely work!

I have spent too much time reinstaling Windows again and again after it has fallen apart..... For this, I would get no recompensation nor donation from Mr. Gates, who STOLE MS DOS from his coleague and did not give right author allmost nothing!

He could have done greater service to humanity by paying proffesionals to make good (if not perfect) OS, that would work as expected and be safe allways.

Beside this, giving money away is bad practice, as once money is spent it is gone!

I would setup perpetualy self renewing fund for helping people to provide themself cheap energy, water and good seed to produce more and cheaper food, regulate rivers to preclude floods and dig water chanels for watering crops.

But, no matter that I know 100 times better way to use such money, Mr. Gates would newer read this and ask me to explain, or, heaven forbid, to hire me!

I have plan how to diminish CO2 production, preclude Polar Ice Cups meltdown and as colateral feed over BILION chronicaly hungry and periodicaly starwing people to whom he send food instead.........

Not only this, Fund that I would establish with as little as 100 milions (and compare this to 10 BILIONS he gave for charity) would be completely safe for investing money by pension funds, savings and so on, and it would give at least 20% of interes to its members, while disseminating technology that would boost agriculturall production, diminish woodcuting for fire, lessen use of hydrocarbons for fuel and so on....

Regards, Marijan Pollak, IT SA/SE 1st. Class, Instructor & Team Leader Director and owner of company OBERON d.o.o. ZAGREB From Zagreb, capitol of Croatia EUROPE (Not EU yet) Email: oberon@globalnet.hr (in case Mr. Gates DO read this by some miracle, AND would like to hire my company)

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#10
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Re: What's Your Take on Bill Gates?

08/07/2008 8:31 AM

"...in case Mr. Gates DO read this by some miracle..."

Nothing like being an optimist!

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#2

Re: What's Your Take on Bill Gates?

08/01/2008 5:53 PM

Bill Gates has made a lot of money for himself, his corporation, this country and the world. The Gates foundation has helped countless small communities and non-profits come into the internet age through grants of both software and money to build infrastructure. As the former president of one such non-profit (a public computer center/internet access point) I can attest to their generosity.

Mr. Gates could probably have been stingy and done just as well, but he wasn't. Did he step on toes and make enemies through his business ventures? I'm sure he did. Show me a successfull businessman that hasn't.

By being one of the prime movers of the internet revolution he has earned his place in history. By giving back and paying it forward he has ensured it. Is he perfect? Of course not. Could he do more? Perhaps - he's not dead yet, just retired from business. Give him a break. Successful people usually raise our suspicions about how they got there. It's called envy.

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#3

Re: What's Your Take on Bill Gates?

08/02/2008 3:16 AM

The amount of money he has made is disproportionate to the quality of the goods.
His virtually monopoly has possibly hindered rather than helped the development of computing.....Is the PC as we know it an evolutionary backwater?

Just a couple of thoughts to contrast with the previous views.
Proportionately to her disposable income I expect Mrs Cat gives more to charity...
Remember the story of the Widow's mite?

Del

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#4
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Re: What's Your Take on Bill Gates?

08/02/2008 8:57 AM

I concur wholeheartedly. He can do all the good he likes, but will remain a dweeb despite that. The product offered has created no mere monopoly, it has stifled computing development no end.

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#5
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Re: What's Your Take on Bill Gates?

08/02/2008 12:24 PM

I am sure you are to young to remember the monopoly IBM, Apple, and Novel had... But before Microsoft it was big iron and the no standards for the new personal computer. Microsoft brought a open and stable OS that everyone wanted... That is why they became so big!

Now... time go's on, and Bill gets to do what he wants be a Geek... so he lets Paul Allen non-geek a accountant type run business, and what do you get a another IBM, Apple, and Novel. I think the Linux open source movement is like Microsoft of old.

I for one will hope Microsoft gets it's act back together I miss the excitement. Linux is the closest thing to excitement in OS's we have right now.

If you don't know the past, then you destined to repeat it...

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#6
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Re: What's Your Take on Bill Gates?

08/02/2008 12:35 PM

Welcome aboard! I'm far from too young to remember those days, and please don't mistake my comments for anything more than a great disappointment in the results that came out of those, as you correctly describe them, exciting days. MiniSquishy has provided an OS that does what they want it to do, with precious little apparent consideration for what their customers wanted it to do. Some features are excellent, some are dismal, and most are, alas, pretty dang mediocre. To have reaped the fortune he did, I would have expected better performance from Mr. Gates and crew. IBM lacked imagination, not expertise. Basic and DOS had imagination, but required expertise. Linux is an up-and-coming possibility (although hardly "new"!).

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#11
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Re: What's Your Take on Bill Gates?

08/07/2008 9:18 AM

Honored sir,

I was there on big irons before PC came around, working on FACOM (Fujitsu), IBM and HP computers, and those computers had really STABLE OS-es, and provenly working for decades.....

Is it not curious that neither IBM whose >>Mainframes<< with 64 Kby of RAM were working flawlesly, nor FUJITSU whose biger machines had 512 Kby of RAM (and I started on one with just 32 Kby + 256 Kby on magnetic drum memory, but which could also use part of HD for virtuall memory, and compile and execute up to 10000 instruction of COBOL program) did not use THAT for PCs? First PCs had up to 640 Kb of RAM and floppies were allmost half big as removable HDs of same era, not to mention later HD's that were of even bigger capacity, and they were fast enough, but WHO would then buy EXPENSIVE MAINFRAMES?

Nobody, of course! That is reason IBM choose inferior Intel procesor over far superior Motorola, and that is why they need BAD and limited OS to actualy discourage people from serious use of PCs that were meant for play and text procesing ONLY..

Consequences we suffer still today.........

Perhaps Mr. Gates have done just what IBM has asked him to do, but once it was obvious that future lies with PCs, he should have revised his policy of recruiting geniuses and leting them play with making OS, instead hiring System Analysts and Systems Engineers to do it properly. I would say You did not really use computers with MS OS installed much, or did they sent faulty versions outside US intentionaly, to hamper development of good software otherwhere in the World? I remember how they were HIDING parts of WINDOWS API functions for having unfair advantage over non MS programers in making software, but it did not help them either since the were not PROFESIONALS, therefore their applications were as buggy as Windows itself....

Even Windows were not developed in Microsoft, and they just put it on top of bad DOS, so how it could work? MS bought, bribed or destroyed competition whenever someone was making some good program or application, so I would say they HINDERED progress instead promoting it!

MS used its monopolistic position even to mock its clients, shamelessly answering some news reporter who asked >>How they are not embarrased to sell so bad products that usualy have ro receive patch BIGGER than deployed OS, Aplication or program merely two weeks later?<< that >>Our users WANT exactly such quality! f that would not be so, surely they would not buy it? Since they DO buy it, then everything is s it should be!<< :-((

As other freelance programmers, I also has to target my applications for PCs and OS that hold 80% of market, I had NO CHOICE really, othervise I would NOT lose one more second because working with WINDOWS is sheer waste of time!

Allways, when new OS come from MS, my applications would refuse to work or everything would be skewed on screen or on paper, so I spent YEARS unnecesary by adjusting applications to new OS that would be replaced in at most 5 years...........

Definitely, Microsoft has done FAR MORE harm than good, I have felt it all om my own skin!

Mr Gates ought to give me donation of at least 100 000$ for all troubles and lost profit that his BAD roducts has cost me, but what could I do when one has to sign agreement with EULA that say: >>This product is NOT fit for any particular purpose<< which I translate into >>NOT GOOD for ANYTHING<<.........

So regardless of his charity work, I am sure more people would remember BAD experiences his Microsoft products has etched in their memory........

Everybody make mistakes, but has to learn how to avoid them in future, NOT to learn how to make bigger mistakes!

If WINDOWS OS was planed, it would be able to EVOLUTE, retaining stability, but they kept making new patches of bad OS and just changed makeup every time!

But, who would then pay milions for (not so much bigger in capacity) Mainframes?

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#27
In reply to #11

Re: What's Your Take on Bill Gates?

10/10/2008 7:23 PM

So maybe Bill Gates is a bastard. But who here wouldn't do the same thing. I'd take a monopoly over a small share.

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#20
In reply to #4

Re: What's Your Take on Bill Gates?

08/21/2008 10:47 PM

As much as he has stifled computing, his companies products have enabled many a non-technical person to be empowered and able to use computers for useful work.

I am no Gates fan, and I have deplored the business practices that his company has perpetrated on the world. But his existence has not been totally negative even without him trying to purchase his way to a good reputation as his public business life winds down.

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#21
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Re: What's Your Take on Bill Gates?

08/21/2008 10:55 PM

I agree that the money he/his company has made is disproportionate to the quality delivered, but in a business sense, not to the value that was delivered to the customers. If there was not enough value, the customers would not have purchased even from a 'monopoly'.

Some good ideas failed, like the Lisa, to re-incarnate as a Mac. The Mac is still overpriced for the hardware delivered (like ALL Apple product I have seen starting with the original Apple's). But even with better and more reliable hardware, the market still anointed M$ as the high value proposition for the resources society expended.

Is it 'right'? Probably not. It is what it is. ... Now I will go mope for not purchasing just a $1000 each of Apple and M$ back in the '70s...

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#24
In reply to #21

Re: What's Your Take on Bill Gates?

08/22/2008 7:23 AM

"...the market still anointed M$ as the high value proposition for the resources society expended..."

Not exactly - MiniSquishy OS software was provided FREE in the early days to be bundled with every PC sold. The expectation was (and justified) that the sale of upgrades and applications would bring in the profits. Boy, did that theory work to a fault! The money just rolled in, and the product quality didn't even need to improve.

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#26
In reply to #24

Re: What's Your Take on Bill Gates?

08/22/2008 7:31 AM

He stole that business model from the drug dealers! Free at first until you become addicted, then raise the price and watch them suffer!

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#28
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Re: What's Your Take on Bill Gates?

08/07/2009 6:09 PM

We say in my country that >>Ignorance is not knowing there is something better<<.

Therefore people used what was served, and APPLE computers were disproportionately higher priced, so people naturally choose what they could afford.......

LISA computers from APPLE has come AFTER Macintosh, and was supposed to be >>Business<< model of Macintosh. It was good, but several times more expensive than >>ordinary<< MAC, and ordinary Macintosh costed 6000$, as I remember, and I could not afford it, so LISA with 20 000+$ price was out there in clouds for me.

Then come ATARI 520 PC, and that was affordable so I bought it. O, Boy!

That was machine that could run circles around even MACs. It has had everything LISA had, except there was no application developed for it, while LISA could run all Macintosh software.

I would say that APPLE realized they set price too high as they sold just few LISAs, but they probably thought it would ruin their prestige if they cut down price of NEW and best model of their computers....

APPLE has had truly stupid marketing team that know nothing of Economy Laws, as there is more profit in selling 10 000 computers at 20% of price that selling 100 at 100% price. If there was just one person to show them such mathematic, they would sell MACs at half IBM PC price and grab 90% of market forever, and then PC as we know it would not survive..... Surely, they has to pay back development cost, and quality was good, but I heard that factory production price of MAC was just 200$, so even at 600$ it would be 200% profit earned, and still they charged 6000$, while IBM PC was around 2000$........

That is what has costed them supremacy on PC market. Nowadays, to add insult to injury, they switched to INTEL processors, which is plainly stupid move :-((

They would learn hard way, and they are doomed by this move as others have head start on them in number of application programs, so people would still choose IBM compatible PC, as APPLE still hold prices high, but with inferior processor they lost advantages they had so far.

I wonder how old You are, because if this is Your picture You use for Avatar, You should be old enough to remember those days just like I do, or You are too old to remember it any more? Perhaps it's me, because I have had to dig deep into both processors while making programs, and ordinary user know nothing about what is under hood, huh?

I tried to contact Mr. Gates Foundation, explaining how I can produce food for billion people or more, but while motto of their Foundation is to exterminate hunger and poverty, nobody even acknowledged receipt of my mail :-((

Still worse, from Rockefeller Foundation I got message telling me my Email was DELETED even BEFORE it was READ.....

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#7

Re: What's Your Take on Bill Gates?

08/02/2008 12:36 PM

I agree, Mr Gates has done a lot of good with the money, at the expense of using his customers to develop MS's beta software.

Having family working for MS gives me some insight not many get. In my opinion, because I don't work for MS, the product has been more about money than function.

MS is a huge business that has very little pressure on its cash cow (MS OS and office software). There is also the added buffer that any competitor must gain acceptance by the users before they can be a serious threat to MS's market niche. MS's closest rival Linux has no unified marketing base and a steeper learning curve for users who jump the MS ship.

I was with Intel when it became to big and the bean counters took over. They have a rival in AMD that keeps them on their toes. The companies seem very similar in their issues but the lack of competition lets MS produce shoddy products that need to mature at the users expense. By the time they are fully mature they are no longer supported.

To Mr Gates defence, he is just a figure head to the empire. Yes he still has a say in the business, but he must rely on others to do the work. I'm sure he has learned a lot of business savvy on the way up but software not management was his beginnings. He has been removed farther and farther from that end product. No one could micro manage the mass of products they now sell.

The lack of pressure to force MS to put out better products has stifled the performance of software on one hand, while on the other bloat ware (over stuffed software) has driven hardware to greater heights.

Brad

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#8
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Re: What's Your Take on Bill Gates?

08/04/2008 12:41 PM

"...and a steeper learning curve for users who jump the MS ship..."

Ain't THAT the truth - I still remember the headaches from learning DOS only to have to forget it all and pick up on the supplanting OS terminology and commands. Granted the GUI made it somewhat simpler, but still, who'd want to volunteer to do it again? OK, show of hands now...

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#12

Re: What's Your Take on Bill Gates?

08/10/2008 11:45 PM

I have a great appreciation for what he has done and accomplised. Hats off to him! Although I still struggle with W98 and Vista; I would not have made it through tech school, college and work if it were not for Microsoft. In the corporate world it's business as usual. He did it by the book and that's what counts. Competition is engrained into the Amerian psychi since birth and it has been around for millions of years. There is no room for ignorance and the weak, survival of the fittest is paramount! And then you give back a little!

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#13
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Re: What's Your Take on Bill Gates?

08/11/2008 6:05 AM

There is no room for ignorance and the weak, survival of the fittest is paramount!

I believe a certain Mr Hitler almost built a whole empire on that philosophy?

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#14
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Re: What's Your Take on Bill Gates?

08/11/2008 7:07 AM

Good thing Bill doesn't seem to have a political agenda - he certainly has more resources available than Adolph did.

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#15

Re: What's Your Take on Bill Gates?

08/12/2008 11:02 AM

Though I applaud his generosity, I can't necessarily applaud how he got there. Its a shame that he trampeled so many on the way up and chased money instead of quality.

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#16
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Re: What's Your Take on Bill Gates?

08/12/2008 12:26 PM

Yes, his behavior would be a lot more excusable in the pursuit of perfection rather than treasure.

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#17

Re: What's Your Take on Bill Gates?

08/12/2008 12:59 PM

I think the answer is ALL of the ABOVE.

Say what you want about Bill Gates. The millions of boxes sitting

on desktops all over the world says more than any critic. If you got a

better mousetrap than the one I'm using right now, SHOW ME.

The claim that Gates hindered development is just tripe. People seem

to forget that the dominance of the PC also gave the computing world

A STANDARD MODEL to build upon. Just so you know, I am a software

consultant and I use Microsoft products all the time. So do my Clients.

American History is full of stories about ruthless business practioners

like John D. Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie. You may deplore what they

did in the business world, but you can never deny that they have changed

the world we live in. Something that the Critics will NEVER accomplish.

Rockefeller and Carnegie also spent the later parts of their lives engaged

in philanthropic endevors. Attonement for past sins perhaps, but good deeds

nonetheless.

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#18
In reply to #17

Re: What's Your Take on Bill Gates?

08/12/2008 1:05 PM

Carnegie gave all of his money away. Gates never did and never will. You are making a living off of him. You have a bias. Read the other posts for the truth. Take your dirty money to the bank.

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#22
In reply to #18

Re: What's Your Take on Bill Gates?

08/21/2008 11:23 PM

I hate to say this but you are wrong!

You are not a future teller

We are all making a living off of him because his software is everywhere.

His standardizations is what the industry needed at that time to bring it all together. The industry needed a Bill Gates if not him then a different Bill Gates because that is how it works. Like ATT, or Stop signs, and TCI/IP it all comes to someone taking a stand and building a better mouse trap, then everyone else follows!

What we need now is a Bill Gates to bring Healthcare, Insurance, and the Goverment together!

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#23
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Re: What's Your Take on Bill Gates?

08/22/2008 1:16 AM

'his' software is not everywhere, software his minions did is.

I have made $$ off of him. As a consultant it is much easier to make money from poorly writen vendor software than properly constructed software. To that extent, I applaud Mr. Gates.

M$ has espoused their philosophy on standards, is that they are good, for everyone else. Just don't get in the way of our profits. It reminds me of when Office had published API, that Office products did not use because they were (1) broken, (2) to slow if they worked at all, (3) only for the 'outside vendors' so M$ acted as if they did not care until the press and (most notably) courts held them to task. After than the 'embrace then expand' philosophy allowed M$ in its own mind to use M$ extenttions to ANY standard and still be 'STANDARD' in their opinion. ... The way I see it, one should publish a standard then write to it and use it. Don't 'extend' in production use until it has been ratified by an outside body.

M$ has been trying to get into other fields, but sofar except for outsourcing the production of a nice 'mouse and keyboard' they haven't done very well or been well accepted.

No, I don't want another Bill Gates in any field. I want someone with more ethics.

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#25
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Re: What's Your Take on Bill Gates?

08/22/2008 7:28 AM

Maybe Fidel Castro.

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#19

Re: What's Your Take on Bill Gates?

08/18/2008 3:55 PM

Even though IBM, headquartered here in New York State, was a big loser to his efforts, I remember celebrating Gates at a geeky 1994 "Master of the Universe" party. He really did go on to conquer the software universe by the end of the millennium. While the market dominance of his products was often complained about in the 90's by folks I worked for, and a dream of Linux/Unix as a true competitor was always hoped for, his products (Windows, Office, and so on) inevitably ended up being installed on most company computers, doing the most important work (engineering, accounting, server, database, etc.). Definitely a nicer philanthropist than insurance mogul John D. MacArthur, in my opinion. -april05

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