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Bye-Bye, Bill

Unless you were living in a bio-dome or were in a Nick Hogan-induced coma, you must have heard that Bill Gates retired last week.

I've been fortunate enough to cover Microsoft for the last 20-plus years, and have never been disappointed with the company's drive, personality, toughness or brainpower. This culture came directly from chairman Bill.

Some employees even took to looking like Bill, acting like Bill and talking like Bill. Bill even invented his own vocabulary: "Golden" was good, "random" meant your thinking was scattered or stupid, and "bandwidth" was your ability to concentrate and deal with something.

In the early days, a reporter could talk to Bill quite easily. A new version of Word? Bill was the guy to interview. On the other hand, one time while NeXT Computer was making an announcement, I told the company I wouldn't do the story unless I could talk to Steve Jobs. Even after I explained that Gates regularly did these interviews, it was still no dice. (No story, either, Steve-O!)

Tomorrow I'll talk about Microsoft without Gates. Have you ever met Bill? Send your story to dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Posted by Doug Barney on 07/01/2008 at 1:15 PM


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