June 27, 2008

Horse 893 - Paying the Bills

Not that it matters much to the company but the third richest man in the world, Bill Gates, has decided to hang his hat up for the last time. Several times the world's biggest company, Microsoft gained its fortune through two keen oppotunities - namely creating MS-DOS for IBM and then having Big Blue not retain exclusive right and secondly, stealing the kernel for a GUI from Xerox's photocopiers which would form the basis of the original Windows.

It has to be said through all of this, that Bill started in a priviledged home and then had the necessary business sense to ensure that the "luck" went his way. Starting in 1975, Microsoft developed and sold BASIC interpreters for the Altair 8800, a machine with no screen or keyboards but a series with 8 switches on the front.

Gates' "vision" of "a workstation running our software onto every desk and eventually in every home" though grandiose, eventually reached about 90% of market saturation. As a result the company has made has made four billionaires and an estimated 12,000 millionaires.

I don't think this spells the end for the company. As an organisation that "eats its own dog food" they have a ready-made batch of testers, and given existing market share, it would be very difficult to mess it up even if Bill has gone.

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