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Thank You, Bill Gates!

By - Source: Tom's Hardware | B 57 comments

Bill Gates Pose

Opinion - Today is Bill Gates’ last day at Microsoft and typically we would not care that much if a company founder goes into early retirement. But whether we like it or not, there is no denying that Bill Gates has achieved what many of us dream to achieve - to touch as many lives as possible and make your time count. While the modern tech industry loses one of its pioneers I am glad that Bill will not simply disappear, but has decided to make room for new talent to evolve and dedicate his wealth and influence to charity.

I can’t hide that this article is a bit selfish, but I am sure that I can speak for many of you working in the tech industry today. DOS 6 and Windows 3.11 was the first software I was exposed to on a PC - it was a technology that you just knew would make it into households - other than the extremely geeky, and from today’s view, useless Amstrad computers I was working on before. DOS and Windows were fascinating and painful at the same time. The software crashed all the time, but there was passion to work and accept your PC in way you would not do it today.

It was that passion that educated many of us to learn how PCs worked and it was my decision that I wanted to share my experiences and knowledge about Windows PCs. Needless to say, everything that worked and did not work about Windows and Microsoft in the following 15 or so years, provided me with enough material to pursue my dream as a technology writer. I believe that many of my colleagues feel the same way.

Over the course of Bill Gates’ years, of course, there were many events that will remain in our memories. There was the big IBM deal in the 1970s in which the Harvard drop-out sold an operating system he did not have, the creation of Windows, his success that was based on controversial business practices, the monumental oversight of the Internet, little episodes such as a pie being thrown in his face or system crashes in public demonstrations, continued promises that a PC would be as reliable and as simple to use as a TV as well his technology forecasts (most of which did not come true), his public battles with Linux and Apple and countless lawsuits against Microsoft that somehow always appeared to be targeted right at Gates - most noteworthy the DOJs antitrust case that almost resulted in Microsoft being split up into several entities.

There is a lot to like and not to like about Gates and the way he brought up Microsoft. On the positive side, it is the type garage company we all are waiting for from time to time - a company that eventually touches all of our lives. You can always speculate what would or could have been, but we know that Microsoft has sparked an ecosystem that provides millions of people with jobs today and billions are using a computer today, which in my opinion will be what Gates will be remembered for: The guy who turned the PC into a commodity. Yes, there is the bad side as well and he went to great lengths to protect Microsoft businesses and future opportunities. We know that Microsoft holds monopolies and it is clear that it is defending and expanding its market position at the expense of others.

Going forward, Bill Gates appears to be dedicating his time and influence for charity. His charity is already one of the most important and recognized charity organizations in the world and it is good to hear that the 52-year-old Gates will be spending even more time on this effort. People say with great power comes great responsibility and we are seeing a great example of this here - an example that should be taken more seriously by a new generation of wealthy IT entrepreneurs such as Google’s Sergey Brin and Larry Page.

I am personally a bit concerned about the Microsoft Bill Gates leaves behind. The Microsoft we will have next Monday is a company that has lost its charismatic face and that is exposed to more challenges than ever before. Microsoft is in danger losing the Internet race against Google, it has a struggling operating system with a successor that does not appear to be able to turn things around, the gaming and entertainment business lacks focus and there aren’t any significant new ideas coming out of Microsoft that could spark passion for the company. Steve Ballmer may face the perfect storm in the next two years and I wonder if he will be able to sail through it. It seems that Microsoft these days is more vulnerable than ever before and Ballmer will have to come up with solutions that will prevent Microsoft from becoming the General Motors of the IT industry.

Somehow it appears that it is this time that Microsoft would need Gates the most. But sometimes you just need to be thrown into the cold water and learn to swim. This is what Ballmer and Microsoft will need to do starting next Monday.

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  • 0 Hide
    revolink24 , June 27, 2008 8:06 PM
    Good article. I am also glad that he is not simply disappearing from the earth when there is so much more good he can - and probably will do.
  • 2 Hide
    tkuhl87 , June 27, 2008 8:18 PM
    Yep, have to admire someone who has given more money to AIDS research in Africa than our own US Government.
  • 3 Hide
    gamecrazychris , June 27, 2008 10:01 PM
    Thanks Bill, if if wasn't for you, I wouldn't even be writing this!
  • Display all 57 comments.
  • 1 Hide
    gxsolace , June 27, 2008 10:54 PM
    Gotta respect the man.
  • 1 Hide
    vagetaqtd , June 27, 2008 11:44 PM
    Steve Jobs don't even come close to Bill.
  • 1 Hide
    anonymous x , June 27, 2008 11:58 PM
    w00t! go microsoft! Thank you for bringing the computer into my life!
  • 1 Hide
    terror112 , June 28, 2008 12:17 AM
    ^+1 This day should be remembered as Bill gates day :)  We might not like a monopoly..or vista.. but we can respect Bill Gates for doing what he did and still does.
  • 0 Hide
    liemfukliang , June 28, 2008 1:43 AM
    Yup, I also want respect Bill Gates as the same reason as the article state :) 
  • -5 Hide
    phantom93 , June 28, 2008 3:23 AM
    yeah, I hope that MS doesnt go belly up or sumthing, they need to get sum of their **** togethor, liek the 360, GREAT CONSOEL BTW i luv it! but I dotn lie kthe fact I am on my 6th one... so maybe it isnt so great? Anyways, I dont see why ppl hate vista I have ti and it runs fine, i only had soudn issues but I resolved that quickly. If MS goes belly up the gamign community might just dissappear on computers.
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , June 28, 2008 3:55 AM
    Hope Bill's gonna keep an eye on Microsoft so it can be improved year after year! Since SP1 Vista is my favorite choice stable and effective. Keep going Microsoft!!!! And i'm not even talking about MS Server 2008 which is a really nice platform....In life there's some pioneers and some brown nose for sure BIll is a Pioneer....
  • 0 Hide
    night_wolf_in , June 28, 2008 4:20 AM
    i agree. i was a kid when i started to use to play dos games. like 5-6 years old. and i only knew how to use autoexe.exe (not sure of the spelling) command. then came windows 3.1. he is one of a kind bill gates. they should make a day in his name.
  • 1 Hide
    notherdude , June 28, 2008 4:52 AM
    Thanks Bill! Without you we'd all likely be faithful iFlock. Ugh. Instead we got an open platform that's been a ton of fun. May it go on being fun for decades to come. Long live Windows!
  • 2 Hide
    vcolon , June 28, 2008 5:52 AM
    tkuhl87Yep, have to admire someone who has given more money to AIDS research in Africa than our own US Government.

    Take care Bill, but keep a watchful eye on things.
    The US Government doesn't have to give CRAP to anyone. That socialist leftist mentality is what's messing up the USA. Let's keep the government out of our lives and thank God we have great people like Bill and Linda Gates. I believe in Charity, not handouts.
  • 1 Hide
    LVDAX , June 28, 2008 5:57 AM
    Great Article....
    Bill Gates is a true leader and will be missed in the Industry. For all of you Apple "uSheep" followers. Bill Gates sank over 150 million into Apple back in 97 and saved that company... So pay your respects to your "true" savior.....
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , June 28, 2008 8:04 AM
    yeah, I hope that MS doesnt go belly up or sumthing, they need to get sum of their **** togethor, liek the 360, GREAT CONSOEL BTW i luv it! but I dotn lie kthe fact I am on my 6th one... so maybe it isnt so great? Anyways, I dont see why ppl hate vista I have ti and it runs fine, i only had soudn issues but I resolved that quickly. If MS goes belly up the gamign community might just dissappear on computers.

    MS is a software company, and it was heat issues that caused most of the problems if not all. Technology wasn't advanced enough to make smaller CPU's and GPU's affordable.
  • -2 Hide
    reikalusikka , June 28, 2008 8:04 AM
    He's no match to Linus Torvalds :) 
  • 5 Hide
    klarkmdb , June 28, 2008 10:14 AM
    I'm not a Gates fan but the fact that he shaped the world of computers today especially in the software industry. His company might be a monopolistic one but we can't deny his a pioneer of it's class.
  • -4 Hide
    wh3resmycar , June 28, 2008 11:27 AM
    He's no match to John Carmack
  • 0 Hide
    DjEaZy , June 28, 2008 1:29 PM
    ... all i have to say, REVOLUTION OS... a good movie... i think that Gates should thank all the pirates, who's haz make this OS so popular in post-USSR countries... on other hand... my laptop uses Vista and UBUNTU... but the differences in speed iz so huge... lets see... end if the mainstream user find out, that there iz a cheap to no cost to use software, that don brake the bank and get the work done... like UBUNTU + 2.4 and the language support iz built in... its the right time to run away... the passion an innovation spirit is exhausted... and there was not much innovation... most of the ideas was stolen... the only achievement in my poit of view iz, that hee created a platform that iz the standard for all of the PC industry... its may not all work in Linux or in Apple... but there will almost always be a driver for one off windows versions...
  • 5 Hide
    stuart72 , June 28, 2008 2:05 PM
    A page full of positive talkback comments on Toms would be odd, but a page full of positive talkback comments about Bill Gates?.
    Did I just hyperlink into a parallel universe? ;) 
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