Browser Wars

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Browser Wars

Postby Nuke » Sat Jan 25, 2014 12:35 am

I have just watched the Quest TV program "Browser Wars" (broadcast last Monday AFAIR but I had recorded it). Might still be available on the ITV Player. It was about the Netscape vs MS Internet Explorere rivalry in the 1990's. I already knew the story, but the program was interesting in showing interviews with some of the leading players.

It showed some video clips of Bill Gates. I never had a high opinion of Gates since reading his "Open Letter to Hobbyists", but I had never seen these clips before.

I was shocked. What comes over (to me at any rate) is what an obnoxious person he is. In a clip of him at a technical "discussion" he is having a tantrum like a spoiled 12-year old who has never known not getting his own way. One interviewed senior ex-MS guy commented that you would consider that a meeting went well with Gates if he called you an idiot less than 19 times. There was also an anecdote of him bragging socially that he had more power than Clinton, the then President.

While I don't particularly like Steve Balmer either, a salesman type who can get shouty, I feel that Balmer is a guy with whom you could have a drink at the bar. But not Gates, I'd walk away - he is poisonous.

Astonishingly for such a public figure, Gates obviously cannot think on his feet and is a very poor speaker; publically he speaks only what sound like set scripts. The programme showed video of his cross-examination at the 1998 MS monopoly trials. He was pathetic at responding to the questions, taking so long to answer some of them that I thought the recording had frozen. And it is obvious to anyone that he was lying. A company trainee could have handled it better. The presenter commented that Gates had never had to answer hard questions before in his life, and was in tears afterwards; again showing emotional immaturity despite being in his mid-40s at the time.

And in this failed presentation :-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K5y_Mu1vVKo

.. while I do not blame him for the equipment failure, he is incapable of coping with the situation, and descends into awkward silence, making the host laugh. Someone in his position should have dealt with it with aplomb. You wonder how such a man could have got to such a position.
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Postby Dutch_Master » Sat Jan 25, 2014 3:07 am

It could be one of 2 things:
a) he really is a geek, and as you know, geeks aren't the most social of folk ;) or
b) he's using other peoples work by taking the limelight, although never actually and unequivocally claiming credit for it. There's a reason his co-founders left M$ after a while... :roll:

Or perhaps there's another reason, one I can't think of right now... :oops:
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Postby lok1950 » Sat Jan 25, 2014 4:30 am

AS far as I am concerned he hasn't written any code since the Basic interpreter he and Paul Allen(his room mate at MIT) wrote at MIT they bought MSDOS.

Enjoy the Choice :)
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Postby Nuke » Sun Jan 26, 2014 12:40 am

lok1950 wrote:AS far as I am concerned he hasn't written any code since the Basic interpreter


You underestimate the man. He wrote this too :-

http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2007/05/bill-gates-and-donkey-bas.html

As for Gates being a geek, he is partly so but not entirely I think. Most pure geeks would not have the outbursts of bad temper that he displays, nor seek to become involved in something as social/political as the high profile charity stuff that he does (but that may be his wife's pushing). He is certainly even worse than most geeks would be when faced with a news camera.

A lot is made of his charity work by those who argue that he is a "good" man. My response to that is : what the heck else does a man do with more money that he could physically spend on himself in the rest of his life? He is also (as the Quest programme hinted) trying to distract historical attention away from his shady dealings and onto his charity work; that's why he does it high-profile. How do most people today think of Nobel? - a man called "The Merchant of Death" in his own time. Anyway, some of it is money he has cheated from people (including many who can ill afford it), so he ought to give that part back to them before otherwise disposing of it. They could then give it to charities of their own choice if they feel inclined to.

I don't consider myself particularly "good" but if I had that money I would be quietly giving it to causes by now for lack of anything better to do with it, but not the ones that Gates favours.
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