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Doug's Mailbag: Allen's Comments, Windows Phone 7 Future

Doug asked readers what they thought about Paul Allen's critical look at Bill Gates in his new book:

Why is Paul Allen complaining? First, I think I could do fairly well with the amount Paul made from and with Microsoft. Second, didn't Paul realize early on what type of personality Gates is? Gates is ruthless and without scruples when it comes to building a business (Microsoft), and he doesn't care whose toes get stepped on. All Allen had to look at in the early stages of Microsoft was how Bill Gates dealt with IBM. After all, Gates's fortunes started with IBM and PC-DOS...

Have we all forgotten that the huge monolith known as Microsoft started just as humbly as any other company? And MS most probably would not have gotten as big as it did without having snatched the OS contract with IBM, which Gates then unceremoniously dumped into the ditch...

As much as we may dislike Bill Gates, I say more power to you Bill!
-Anonymous

Frankly, I don't really care. Paul might have felt that Bill was not being fair with him but you know, he DID accept the deal. He DID leave Microsoft. Bill Gates is undoubtedly a shrewd businessman. Paul Allen chose a different path. That's fine.

Criticizing Bill Gates after all of these years is a little like criticizing Gates because he paid $75,000 to Seattle Computer Products for QDOS and then licensed it as MS-DOS to IBM for millions. Had Gary Kindall (of Digital Research) been home one evening, IBM would have done business with him instead of with Bill Gates. Fate has a way of stepping in.

Steve Wozniak chose to go his own way too after he and Steve Jobs founded Apple. Nobody is criticizing Steve Jobs.
-Marc

One reader responds to the overly optimistic forecast for Windows Phone 7:

The IDC report looks like it is assuming (we know what happens when we do that) everyone with a Nokia/Symbian phone today will have a Nokia/WP7 phone in 2015, or that those leaving Nokia will be replaced by Nokia newbies. If that occurs, yes, Microsoft will have a 20.9 percent market share of smartphones and the number two rank. But a chance exists that Nokia owners will move away to the iPhone or Android. According to IDC, this report came from their Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, which among many other data sets, uses vendor interviews and guidance, a.k.a. Kool-aid. Good call, Doug!
-Scott

Share your thoughts with the editors of this newsletter! Write to dbarney@redmondmag.com. Letters printed in this newsletter may be edited for length and clarity, and will be credited by first name only (we do NOT print last names or e-mail addresses).  

Posted by Doug Barney on 04/06/2011 at 1:18 PM


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