Barbarians Led by Bill Gates

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9780805057546: Barbarians Led by Bill Gates
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"Microsoft, a rather new corporation, may not have matured to the position where it understands how it should act with respect to the public interest."-U.S. District Judge Stanley Sporkin. Teamed with the daughter of one of Bill Gates's closest associates, thirteen-year Microsoft veteran Marlin Eller shows us what it was like at every step along Gates's route to world domination, making all that's been written before seem like a rough guess. If the Justice Department had Eller and Edstrom investigating the current-headline-making antitrust case, they would have on the record many of Microsoft's most respected developers directly contradicting the "authorized" version of events being presented in court. They would know the real scoop on how Windows was developed in the first place, shedding new light on the 1988 Apple v. Microsoft lawsuit over the alleged copying of the Mac. They would even know the real story of how Microsoft killed off Go Corporation, told for the first time by the man who did the deed, Marlin Eller himself. Revealing the smoke-and-mirror deals, the palms greased to help launch a product that didn't exist, and the boneyard of once-thriving competitors targeted by the Gates juggernaut, this book demonstrates with often hilariously damning detail the Microsoft muddle that passes for strategic direction, offset by Gates's uncanny ability to come from behind to crush whoever's on top.

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Review:

How has Microsoft been able to crush its competition every step of the way? The company's own version of history ascribes it to something like "really great technical innovation." Barbarians Led by Bill Gates presents a harsher and messier history, sharply questioning Microsoft's ethics and corporate wisdom while underscoring its fierce will to compete.

The authors present a history of Microsoft from the early '80s to the present, covering the big projects, both successes and failures, that defined the company's direction. It's a difficult story to tell, filled with complex technology and a large cast of characters who are rarely in the public eye.

Perhaps the most surprising thing to emerge is how many Microsoft ventures were mismanaged and how many opportunities were missed. The best-known of these is Microsoft's near-catastrophic failure to see the arrival and success of the Internet. The book also details the unplanned success of Windows 3.0, the demise of Pen Windows (which annihilated GO Corp. and its promising Penpoint operating system but little else), and the compromised design and slow success of Windows 95. A final chapter tackles the Netscape-Microsoft Web-browser war and Microsoft's head-on collision with the Justice Department.

Both authors are, in different ways, Microsoft insiders. Jennifer Edstrom is the daughter of Pam Edstrom, Gates's long-time PR chief and spin doctor. Marlin Eller is a 13-year veteran Microsoft developer who has worked on DOS, early versions of Windows, and pen computing. Both stand open to the charge of having an ax to grind, and the reader senses a lot of personal animosity at work. Yet anyone who has followed Microsoft for any length of time will recognize most of the war stories from other sources, and most of the new information presented has the ring, at least, of probability. Indeed, the value of this book is not so much in presenting new information as in marshaling it to paint a portrait of a company that has largely escaped this sort of scrutiny. --Thomas Mace

About the Author:

Jennifer Edstrom is the daughter of "Gates's Keeper," Pam Edstrom, Microsoft's PR guru since 1982. Marlin Eller was from 1982 to 1995 principle architect of Windows, the development lead on Pen Windows, and central to Microsoft's first foray into Internet communications.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780805057553: Barbarians Led by Bill Gates: Microsoft From The Inside: How The World's Richest Corporation Wields Its Power

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ISBN 10:  0805057552 ISBN 13:  9780805057553
Publisher: Holt Paperbacks, 1999
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9783826605062: Barbarians led by Bill Gates

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