Sources: Bloomberg, YouTube
quote: In April 1980, shortly before leaving town on a business trip, I agreed that we should offer him up to 5 percent of the company, because Bill felt certain that Steve wouldn’t leave Stanford unless he got equity. A few days later, after returning from my trip, I got a copy of Bill’s letter to Steve. (Someone had apparently found it in the office’s Datapoint word-processing system, and it made the rounds.) Programmers like Gordon Letwin were furious that Bill was giving a piece of the company to someone without a technical background. I was angry for another reason: Bill had offered Steve 8.75 percent of the company, considerably more than what I’d agreed to.It was bad enough that Bill had chosen to override me on a partnership issue we’d specifically discussed. It was worse that he’d waited till I was away to send the letter....I was in Bill’s office one day talking about MS-DOS revenues. Our flat-fee strategy had helped establish us in several markets, but I thought we’d held on to it for too long. A case in point: We’d gotten a fee of $21,000 for the license for Applesoft BASIC. After sales of more than a million Apple II’s, that amounted to two cents per copy. “If we want to maximize revenue,” I said, “we have to start charging royalties for DOS.” Bill replied as though he were speaking to a not-so-bright child: “How do you think we got the market share we have today?” Then Steve came by to weigh in on Bill’s side with his usual intensity (Microsoft later switched to per-copy licensing, a move that would add billions of dollars in revenue.)One evening in late December 1982, I heard Bill and Steve speaking heatedly in Bill’s office and paused outside to listen in. It was easy to get the gist of the conversation. They were bemoaning my recent lack of production and discussing how they might dilute my Microsoft equity by issuing options to themselves and other shareholders. It was clear that they’d been thinking about this for some time.I replayed their dialogue in my mind while driving home, and it felt more and more heinous to me. I helped start the company and was still an active member of management, though limited by my illness, and now my partner and my colleague were scheming to rip me off. It was mercenary opportunism, plain and simple.When Microsoft incorporated, in 1981, our old partnership agreement was nullified, and with it his power to force me to accept a buyout based on “irreconcilable differences.” Now he tried a different tack, one he’d hinted at in his letter. “It’s not fair that you keep your stake in the company,” he said. He made a lowball offer for my stock: five dollars a share.
quote: Gates has never been and never will be a saint.
quote: Look at the vast reams of stuff you've frothed all over this article and compare to the few lines of stuff I've posted.