Bill Gates is no Steve Jobs

Bill Gates is no Steve Jobs

Summary: Bill Gates' gradual departure from Microsoft over the next two years comes at a time when the company is facing its largest challenges. It is way behind Google and other companies in transitioning to the online era, and it faces large problems with staff morale.


Bill Gates' gradual departure from Microsoft over the next two years comes at a time when the company is facing its largest challenges. It is way behind Google and other companies in transitioning to the online era, and it faces large problems with staff morale.

Just a few days ago, Robert Scoble, an important and popular Microsoft evangelist left the company. And it has lost other key people. This makes it doubly hard for it to recruit its next generation of leaders.

Mr Gates' departure might be a way to bow out before the company's problems come home to roost. A company of MSFT's size has plenty of business to carry it through the next few years. And it can remain very profitable if it cuts its losing business groups.

But its long term future is anything but bright, as Mr Gates claimed at the press conference today: "The road ahead for Microsoft is as bright as ever." Microsoft must make some very hard decisions and reinvent itself as a company.

The power of the founder to make such changes within an organization can be very significant. Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer, returned to the company when it was facing huge challenges and he managed to remake the company he co-founded. Bill Gates could also bring that type of capability to Microsoft during a time of huge challenges.

Clearly, Mr Gates is no Steve Jobs.  

Topic: Apple

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  • bad boy fence sitter

    life is a big cirle what comes around goes around...

    Im a mac guy but kinda think that mac is now following too
    much in the hard sell / corporate footsteps of mircrosoft and
    kinda forgetting its top end user's

    but still happily a mac guy... prob well brain washed...

    but dang still the best op system around for day to day hi end
    vid/ design work !

    good luck to both :)
    Bret Nichols
  • Thank gawd he isn't Jobs!!!

    If he were MS would have 2% of the market and he would have to disown his own child like Jobs has.
    • No sense in being disrespectful to Jobs!

      Steve Jobs and Bill Gates mean totally different things to their
      companies. Clearly the guy who wrote the article is smoking
      something but I'm not sure what. Bill Gates has nothing left to
      prove. Most Macheads show respect for Bill Gates. Just go read
      the posts at MacCentral. I'm sure Steve Jobs respects Bill Gates.
      Gates will still be involved with Microsoft, but the bottom line is
      the richest man in the world doesn't have to work at all, and if
      he wants to go into his back yard and grow hybrid roses for the
      rest of his life, he can and will. Also, I don't see Microsoft as
      being in any trouble. I doubt Microsoft will be able to hold the
      90% market share they now hold with Windows and an even
      higher market share with Office. Apple's market share is around
      5% in the US, maybe higher. It's grown significantly over the last
      couple of years while other PC makers have been floundering,
      but that's not the point. Microsoft is not struggling and Bill
      Gates retires as king of the world. The biggest threat to
      Microsoft and Apple for that matter is lawyers and courts. The
      patent lawyers and the patent hijackers as well as government
      intervention will be the enemies, not Google, etc. If I were in a
      high roller poker game in Vegas and Bill Gates walked in the
      room with Fort Knox behind him. I would pack up my chips and
      leave because he could buy the hand at any time. It's the same if
      you happen to be in a business he's interested in. If you think
      Mac users don't know how good Gates is at business. Imagine
      you're a Mac user. You're running the best operating system on
      the planet, bar none. Still I'd say 80% of the computer users
      haven't a clue what the differece is betweeen Mac OSX and
      Windows. Microsoft kicks ass in marketing. Apple is more
      fortunate than most companies in the same business as
      Microsoft. Most Microsoft competitors over the years are out of
      business now. Steve Jobs above all respects Bill Gates. They
      pioneered what today we call the PC business. Anyone who is
      totally disrespectful to Bill Gates is a complete moron. For
      someone as totally wealthy as Bill Gates, he seems to lead a very
      normal life with a normal family, is very focussed and hasn't
      gone crazy and lost touch with reality like Michael Jackson or
      Howard Hughes.
      • what most people fail to give credit to

        is that Bill Gates has a lot of say in technology. They only give credit to Bill Gates as a businessman.

        If one looks at Microsoft technologies, MFC, COM, DCOM, MTS, DirectX they'd then realize why Micrsoft wins.
        It is the awesome technology from Microsoft that makes Microsoft so successful.
        • Maybe not

          I?ll give you Direct-X, but with everything else I?d dispute that MS have the coolest technologies. Sun, IBM and Apple/Next have all had equally cool technologies, at times a technological generation ahead of MS, depending on where we are in the cycle.

          In fact the likes of Sun and Next pretty much based themselves around the idea of ?build it and they will come? ? that by investing in advanced technology they could attract developers to their systems, and thus create applications. And a small number ? those motivated by technology ? did. Next (and by extension OS X) built up a strong niche in academic computing, due to strong support for distributed computing (far simpler than any competing standards at the time like CORBA or DCOM), and by radically simplifying UI development in the early 90s.

          Sun made very strong gains in the server market, and Java made a very big impact in those parts of the world where ?write-once, run-anywhere? was actually something people cared about; it still remains the worlds most popular ?serious? programming language. It was a cool enough technology to have a significant influence on C#.

          Vista introduces some really cool technological features, but again ideas like a declarative presentation layer are not exactly new - XUL on the Mozilla Gecko engine has been around a few years, and .nib files on NextStep were doing this 10 years ago (although in binary format rather than XML). Most web apps do it. Adobe?s Flex does it for Flash. Which won?t stop WPF being seen as a massive innovation.

          Why do I think MS won?? Well, let us not forget that the the most-used programming language in the world is not C# or even C++, but VB. Even Delphi had a good run through the C++ era. That suggests that despite all the push towards good programming practices and OO, there is still far more development done the quick and dirty way, by people who I would wager might not even know their DCOM from their MFC. I don?t think the reason for this is technological, it?s because these are the machines on their desks.
    • Online trolls still suck

      ...and if you were Steve Jobs, Microsoft would have 0% market share because you would be too busy to run the company cause you'd hiding behind a computer with your pants around your ankles trolling ZDNet and making potshots at Mac users.

      Anyone can blow up a marshmallow with a bazooka, Sparky.
      Anthony Volpe
    • Ax, you're a troll

      Ax - sometimes you manage to post some reasonable insights or necessary balance into PC vs Apple discussions, but here you are descending into being a troll, which seems somewhat to contradict your alias. You seem to be someone who very much has an axe to grind.

      If you think the world is a better place because one company dominates the computer market-place, you are a fool. An Apple dominated world would be just as bad (as we are seeing in the digital music player market) because as soon as any player achieves dominance (by which I mean over 60% of the market) they make the market dance to their tune.

      Sure, iPods and Windows have improved, but they both now hold back real innovation.

      Of course, if you want the response you wanted to provoke, without Jobs we'd all still be using MS-DOS. Actually, without Apple there may have been no Microsoft (no Microsoft BASIC, no company for IBM to call) - although it is likely that whoever IBM had picked for their PC would have achieved a similar position.

      You are like the fan of an enormously unpopular but succesful sports team. The only thing you can do is brag about their success, because there is no other reason to like them.
  • That's great. Kick Gates in the stomach on his way out ...

    Apart from what the author said being nonsense, you ABMers could should just a little bit more class over this anouncement.
    P. Douglas
    • I think its called...

      ...the chickens coming home to roost.

      Microsoft has made lots of enemies over the years though its business practices (discussed ad nauseum elsewhere). Bill Gates has been the undisputed head of Microsoft for the past 30 years (Steve Ballmer may have the title of CEO, but he's clearly subordinate to Gates); that means that he bears personal responsibility for what has happened at MS, both bad and good. It therefore follows that it is proper for MS-critics to blame him for the practices to which we object.

      MS can use predatory tactics to accomplish their ends, should they think them appropriate, but the price is that they (especially their leaders) have to live with the negative consequences (lawsuits, antipathy and mistrust) that are their inevitible results.

      In short, Mr, Gates has made his bed; now let him lie in it.
      John L. Ries
      • Please expand.

        Just humor me. Give a bit of detail on any of statements here. Give an example of a predatory practice of Microsoft's.
        How many other forums disussing other industries where one company may be a dominate force do you participate in to throw out your opinions.
        Is an antitrust case loss proof they committed anything illegal? Hell no. There are thousands of court decisions still heavily debated to this day. Was it to placate both sides, the one being the competition who did Nothing when MS was small and beatable, but now are crying wolf? Many people like to hate winners, esp. when tehy just keep winning. But that's no reason to throw around comments that lack class. Unix/Linux does not exactly have an uncheckered past you know. In fact, if you did deep enough into the Unix past and how it got it's place Dominating the internet, you would see that entirely overshadows anything MS have ever done. AT&T was prosecuted well beyond Microsoft, the inventors of Unix and it's derivative Linux. Does that make them worse than Gates? Answer that one. Does time heal all wounds? Have you ever read about AT&T's domination of every household in America....held literally as prisoners. They couldn't go out and buy an Apple phone line, or whatever. Microsoft is worse than that? I think they are just extremely savvy business people that outsmarted the competition. That is the way in a for-profit economy, if you want to play with teh big boys. Google is not crying about the past, they are just moving on. Maybe you should too.
        • Against my better judgement...

          I know a good deal about AT&T's domination and how they sought to retain it. Guess what? They took the consequences when they were broken up by a US court. I don't recall a massive PR campaign to "save the Bell System" (even though there were many that thought it worth saving) and I don't recall large campaign contributions being made in order to buy political favor. In any event, those responsible have long since retired, so there's no longer any reason to discuss it, except as a historical incident. None of this, of course, has any bearing on the merits of UNIX (or lack thereof), since it wasn't AT&T's marketing of UNIX that got them into legal trouble.

          MS activities, on the other hand, are here and now and the buck stops will Bill Gates. Since I don't have time to rehash all of the discussions on this board of MS business practices over the last 10-20 years, I'll have to let it go at that and we'll argue about it another day.
          John L. Ries
          • I've heard every argument.

            And over time I've discovered that the vast majority of people here are major liberals. I'm sure if posted all of the evidence, links and pounded them with how Bill Clinton was a major criminal and sleazeball they would fight to protect him. There is no objectivity on this site. I've used Unix, Novell and Windows. In the real world you use the tools right for the job. MS has never done anything worthy of the bashing they get. Hitler gets less bad press.
            My thoughts are if you hate the OS, hate the leader, and your heart is full of hate, and many have a small black heart to begin with, why would you waste precious time going to talkbacks on the very person/OS/applications you hate so much? It's obvious, if you read through the hundreds of posts that most of it is these people's lives. They don't seem to have anything else. That is truely sad.
            I don't know how we got so lucky but at my medium sized healthcare organization we run around 45 windows 2003 servers and over 300 windows clients. It's been will over 5 years since there has been any hint of any problems. Our security measures are in place and working and server 2003 never goes down. Never. Same with XP. We have a lot of desktops locked down, but a large number are not. No problems with XP. This is an environment in which we could measure productivity gains within a week after migrating from a Unix and Novell infrastructure, which required constant care and feeding, to do administration on Unix required stone age-like was awful.
            Anyway the antitrust case shows MS to be criminals anymore than anyone else in teh business world, including Steve Jobs.
            What people don't take about is how MS got in the position it did. Why didn't Unix or Apple or some other OS see what was happening and jump in there while they still had it all over MS? That's the question I'd like answered. Why all the after the fact rubbish. If a vendor sees it more profitable to ship with Windows, is that unethical practice? If all vendors that MS's choice, or the vendors? There's never been coersion or anything close to misprepresentation? I just don't get it. I've owned an Apple and 3 or so windows boxes now. Not once was there ever a feeling I had no choice. The arrogant brainless masses on here that use the term "sheeple" is another pet peeve. How dare they? The "average" citizen of the HERE and NOW is very savvy about their choices and what will best fill their needs.
            Sorry to have bothered you.
            (If you know about AT&T then you know all about how the Unix/Linux as we know it today, cause the AT&T Unix was horrible!! We ran it!...was created. Tax dollars. Major amounts of tax dollars over many years/decades poured into universities and research facilities. Government created software. I firmly believe that an OS that has been created with taxpayer dollars is more unethical than anything. McNealy walked away from Stanford with SUN in his pocket. Stanford University Network. He would not have had that otherwise. Geez, if it weren't for DARPA and the cold war, there would still be no competition from the Unix side. Even with all that funding, that goes on till this day!....they are still working on getting it to the desktop. And the real sheeple are those that believe this has all happened only since Linux was released, as if it were a new OS and secure by the wisdom of open source. A sort of deception. They don't bother to tell you that YOU funded the linux OS over the past 40 years.
      • true but..

        it's business, and it's a nasty one at that. gate has decided he want's out, and wether you're a fan of the way he's run the company or not, he doesn't deserve this kind of attitude when he's symply said he'd like to give up the business and spent the the rest of his life trying to give back
      • Comfy bed

        But i bet its on hell of a comfortable bed he has to liein. I wouldnt mind. Not too many business people in the world who wouldnt trade places with him.
  • Certainly not Steve Jobs

    No he's not a dealer, a marketer and someone who screws his friends. He actually knows software, wrote the original Apple Basic and generally is an uber geek. More power to him and congratulations on realising that being a CEO is not the only thing in life.

    Steve Jobs?? I'm sure there's more companies he can put in the toilet. If their rebadged MP3 player ever gives out, they'll be in real trouble.
  • He overstayed by 6-7 years

    No high-tech CEO has yet equaled the record of Ken Olsen, who
    founded DEC in 1957 and was really running it until he ran out
    of ideas around 1990. Bill is no Ken Olsen either, even though
    he's done a lot of smart things.

    Once Msoft was convicted of anti-trust violations - upheld on
    appeal - that was the signal that Bill should have heeded. They
    need a Lou Gerstner - someone who can think strategically and
    isn't a product of Msoft culture - to come in and refocus the

    BTW, Ballmer should leave too. He isn't helping.
    Robin Harris
    • Olsen ran out of ideas in 1982

      The real tragedy of DEC is that Olsen ran out of ideas in 1982, but still stayed on. The sooner Gates and Ballmer are gone, the better for Microsoft.
  • Your missing the point

    and the real topic of interest; can MS survive and thrive having lost its strongest personality and most public face, co-founder Bill Gates? Apple tried it, and almost faded into oblivion. If Steve was run over by a bus tomorrow, would anyone give Apple a snowballs chance in hell at being around in 2 years? How about if Steve just said he was leaving?
    So it comes down to how much of MS is a real company, and how much is a one man side show. I expect it should prove entertaining for a while
  • Bill Gates is no Steve Jobs - thats because he's way better

    Steve Jobs knows jack squat about technology. Steve Job, is a con artist. The guy was a cheat and cheated his friend Steve Wozniak (the genius behind Apple).
    Steve Jobs knows only one thing marketing. Technology wize he knows nothing.

    How could one even compare the two. So in a way you are absolutely right.
    • sorry, couldn't let this pass..

      you ever run an internationally successful company that regularly innovates and has a brand name the rest of the industry admires?

      No... didn't think so.