Bill Gates advice to UK wannabes? Don't get sued
Says he won't run for US president – then heads to No. 10
Bill Gates performed the London leg of his farewell tour this morning, telling aspiring entrepreneurs they should sign up to Microsoft's CRM platform and to try not to get sued.
Gates took to the stage at the Institute of Directors as the Eighties soft rock classic The Final Countdown played in the background.
He threw out lots of buzzwords such as "democratisation", "diverse economy", "simplicity" and "community" as he explained what he plans to do after he hangs up his Redmond boots.
When asked if he would run for president Gates quipped: "I'm certainly not going to do it."
Rather, he repeated that his full-time role after stepping down as Microsoft head honcho in July this year would be working with his missus at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
"There's a lot of reform and improvement that, by being off on the side and working with governments and development agencies and filling our unique role - I think that's the highest impact. But running for an election, worrying about the next election? I don't think I'll get into that," he said.
Gates also offered his own advice on how to keep stress levels down when being the boss of a business.
"There's certainly been stressful points along the way – try not to get sued by anybody... especially not your own government... especially if unjust."
Before disappearing for tea and sandwiches at Number 10 with Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Gates couldn't resist needling his big rivals.
On IBM, when asked about the inflexibility of Microsoft's licencing, he said: "We'll match their Ts and Cs". And on Google, he said its advertiser-supported biz model was not "a charitable act". ®
Sorry, but you seem confused - using "Microsoft" and "Market economics" together.
Microsoft got where they are by making sure that market economics does not (or at least didn't) apply in the IT world. Don't forget that they have been found guilty several times of using illegal and unethical business practices to make sure that there was no viable alternative.
History is littered with the corpses of small businesses they forced out of business and stole technology from - the typical M.O. being to incorporate the competitors technology into Windows, and when the small company sues, they just drag it out until the small business runs out of cash, folds, and the problem goes away.
Alternatively, they deliberately make their own systems non-standard and keep moving the goalposts to prevent real competition - this is what the EU case was all about, their deliberate and calculated policy of making sure that nothing but a Microsoft server will work properly with a Microsoft client, and nothing but a Microsoft client will work properly with a Microsoft server.
Yes, businesses round the world SHOULD have seen what was coming, but they fell for the marketing and spin (and even in the early days, some good products) - I've worked for management that are so brainwashed that they really believed themselves when they said "people send me Excel spreadsheets, therefore I must have Excel". Many years ago I was, and I claim no originality for this, warning that allowing Microsoft to dictate what people use was the equivalent of simply writing them a series of blank cheques to fill out and cash whenever they feel like it.
Hopefully, the combination of the EU case making the protocols more accessible, and the backlash over Vista will dampen their dominance and we can slowly start to get back to a market where users can choose on the basis of cost and features instead of commercial blackmail.
All this negative stuff about MS and uncle Bill is way off target.
They are entitled to sell their software at whatever price they think it is worth. The fact that so far it has continued to sell very well is not Bill Gates' fault it is the fault of the mugs who buy it (of which I am one).
The solution is simple don't buy it! There are plenty of free or low cost alternatives out there that are in most cases better than the MS alternative; Firefox, Thunderbird and Open Office to name a few. More importantly don't upgrade all the bloody time, it is unnecessary to buy something just because it is new. I'm typing this using windows 2000, I have office 2000 and when I "upgrade" it will be to the excellent free alternative open office which I am starting to use on my home machine. There is no great advance or utility in having the latest microsoft office suite. The differences between the older and "newer" versions are mainly cosmetic, they make their money because millions of people trot out sheep-like and buy it... why?
You are all the people who made Bil Gates wealthy by buying his products, so stop doing it. Don't just whinge about the man.
Bill's greatest achievement by a long way...
...is convincing the (mainly non-IT) public that he's some sort of rich but friendly harmless nerd with a 'vision' and a love for technology.
But beneath the crap sweater exterior is, first and foremost, a very greedy, very shrewd businessman who always did his utmost to thwart common open standards and would stoop to anything to maintain a corporate monopoly that's cost millions of people more dearly than they'll ever appreciate.
Hate him because he's a 'winner'?!? I suppose he is a 'winner' in the 'Stalin' sense of the word.