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Bill's local paper lashes ‘Napoleon’ Gates for tantrum tactics

But he's apparently feeling sorry - for himself

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MS on Trial Bill Gates' "combativeness" is being cited by Microsoft employees at Fort Redmond as having hurt Microsoft, the Seattle Times is reporting in an extended piece of psychoanalysis. And right now, according to insiders quoted by the paper, Gates is "angry and bitter at meetings," feels very sorry for himself, and his demeanour is contributing to lack of leadership and "stalled vision" at Microsoft. Terrible stuff from one's local paper, no? But it gets worse. "Gates may be at least partly aware of the danger in his path," says the Times. As an adolescent, he became entranced with studying the career of Napoleon. Asked later about that fascination, Gates cited not just the French leader's victories and accomplishments, but also his isolated, hapless final years of island exile on St Helena." The 'thinks he's Napoleon' gag may be new, but Gates has a long record as a loose cannon. His late mother confessed that "We learned early on we could never control Bill," while a former technical assistant to Gates said that Gates ignores "attitudinal" coaching before important press events. A Microsoft media manager is also said to have been "inwardly cringing" at Gates' performance during conference calls after the breakup plan was announced. The Times article suggests that it is Gates' obsession with winning at all costs that has landed Microsoft in its present position. When he stepped down as CEO in January during the mediation attempt, this was interpreted as a way to keep him distanced from the case. He may well have thought the was being helpful when he told Bloomberg that Microsoft would make the source code of Windows available "if that was all it would take" to settle the case. However, this did not concur with Microsoft's legal defence efforts at all, and was immediately denied. As soon as the mediation failed, and Judge Jackson delivered his findings of law, Gates went strongly on the offensive, acting defiantly, denying law-breaking and generally insulting the US government. While an anti-government stance may be a good way to get some popular following in the US, Gates showed just how politically immature he is. Antitrust has always been a highly political issue in the US, and he would have been wise to have taken some lessons from Intel and Cisco when they quietly and skillfully stepped around antitrust claims by the FTC. Mich Mathews, who for many years has been Gates' minder (product manager might be a better term as she now has a more appropriate title of VP of marketing, rather than VP of corporate communications), said "From the outset, the government made this a public trial". Well, all trials are public Mich, and the DoJ has been frustratingly reticent - some would say incompetent - at its PR handling of the case, so that argument doesn't wash. For reasons connected with his psyche, Gates is known to be insensitive to the feelings of others, as well as completely unwilling to compromise. This was particularly seen in May 1998 when he was unwilling to split IE from Windows, and so avoid the present antitrust suit. This kind of stuff may have been OK when he wouldn't let MS co-founder Paul Allen beat him at chess at school, but at this level, an early exit to St. Helena quite possibly beckons. Links The Seattle Times story

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