Bill Gates – for over 30 years now he and his company shaped the technology world, for better or worse, that’s up to you to decide. On June 27th, 2008, Gates will step down to spend more time on his Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, while still taking on an advisory role within the biggest software company of the world. PC World listed ten of the most memorable Bill Gates moments.Personally, I don’t really know how to feel about Bill Gates. On the one hand, I do believe he played a very important role in getting a computer in every home, and without Microsoft, it might have all been either more expensive, or Apple. Of course, you can’t say that for sure, but I wouldn’t want to take the bet. In addition, Gates has spent a lot of money on helping those in need, and while some cynics will say it’s all about spreading Microsoft software, fact remains his foundation is helping those that need it, and that’s a good thing. It would be great if more rich folk started doing that instead of worrying about what clothes they’re wearing.
On the other hand, his company has caused a lot of innovative products to never gain a serious foothold – most notably, for me, the BeOS. While Be, Inc. played a very important role in killing their own products by being utterly incompetent at the management level, Microsoft (and Apple) gave the final nudge by effectively blocking them from the Mac and PC markets.
In interviews, Bill Gates can be quite the charming fellow, with a decent sense of humour, and no lack of self-deprecation, but he can also fall back into endless speeches on how great everything Microsoft makes is, which can be quite frustrating. I’m staying on the fence on this one.
PC World’s list has some interesting gems in it, most notably the massive launch and marketing blitz concerning Windows 95. I’ve never seen so many squealing nerds – I couldn’t sleep for days. The best item in the list, however, concerns his marriage to Melinda.
When you’re the world’s richest man you have to work double-time to hide from the public eye. So when Gates decided to marry former Microsoft product manager Melinda French, he organized the wedding on the tiny Hawaiian island of Lanai, booked every hotel room on the island, and rented every helicopter in the state to frustrate potential paparazzi.
And frustrating paparazzi should be a civil duty.