Barney's Blog

Blog archive

Ex-Microsoft Super Genius Myhrvold Could Have Been Steve Jobs

If you read the above headline thinking Nathan Myhrvold is an ex-genius who worked at Microsoft, you'd be wrong. Nathan is a current genius who used to work at Microsoft.

Bear with me for a bit of history -- I've been writing about this stuff for 28 years. so I tend to ramble more than Dickey Betts (whom I'm distantly related to on my mother's side):

You may remember that when Bill Gates shelled out $171 million for Groove, he really didn't care all that much about the software. He wanted Ray Ozzie's gray matter.

Gates had done this before: Some two decades ago, IBM had a multitasking kludge for PC-DOS called TopView. Microsoft wanted the same thing in its back pocket and found a company called Mondrian. Even better, Mondrian had brothers Nathan and Cam Myhrvold -- both total braniacs. This is what Bill really fell in love with. Nathan eventually became Bill's first chief software architect.

One project the long-retired Nathan worked on that never panned out was video on demand. But just recently it came to light that more than 20 years ago Myhrvold pitched Gates on a pocket-size phone that would "consolidate all personal communication -- telephone, schedule manager, notepad, contacts, and a library of music and books, all in one. It would record and archive everything you asked it to," says Men's Journal magazine. Bill passed on the project. Geniuses aren't always smart, and in this case I'm talking about Bill. Even Ken Jennings got a few questions wrong.

What, in your humble estimation, was Bill's biggest mistake? Confide in all of us at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Posted by Doug Barney on 04/20/2012 at 1:19 PM


Featured

  • Industrial Control System Honeypot Illustrates Bad Security Practices

    Security solutions provider Trend Micro has published results (PDF) from running an industrial control system (ICS) "honeypot."

  • Ransomware: What It Means for Your Database Servers

    Ransomware affects databases in very specific ways. Joey describes the mechanics of a SQL Server ransomware attack, what DBAs can do to protect their systems, and what security measures they should be advocating for.

  • Windows Admin Center vs. Hyper-V Manager: What's Better for Managing VMs?

    Microsoft's preferred interface for Windows Server is Windows Admin Center, but can it really replace Hyper-V Manager for managing virtual machines? Brien compares the two management tools.

  • Microsoft Offers More Help on Windows Server 2008 Upgrades

    Microsoft this week published additional help resources for organizations stuck on Windows Server 2008, which fell out of support on Jan. 14.

comments powered by Disqus

Office 365 Watch

Sign up for our newsletter.

Terms and Privacy Policy consent

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.