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I was looking through my 1994 World Book encyclopedia for entries on Internet or World Wide Web and upon finding nothing I decided that I needed to go forward a few years to find an entry. Where could I go? It turns out that I remembered where my old stash of Gateway 2000 discs were and found Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia 96 among the bunch. After installing it on my desktop (I did the express installation, it took up a whopping 2MB of space) I played a bit of Mindmaze and then continued my search. Although I did find what I was looking for, an idea popped into my head. What did Microsoft’s flagship research software have to say about its boss, William Gates, III? Better yet, what did it have to say about Steven Jobs? If you guessed that both were portrayed in an equal and positive light, you’re dead wrong.
Gates, William Henry, III
Gates, William Henry, III (1955- ), American business executive, chairman and chief executive officer of the Microsoft Corporation. He was born in Seattle, Washington. Gates cofounded Microsoft in 1975 with Paul Allen, his high school friend and partner in computer-language development from 1967.
Fascinated by computers by the age of 12, Gates was involved with various programming projects throughout high school. While attending Harvard in 1975, Gates teamed with Allen to develop a version of the BASIC computer-programming language for the Altair, the first personal computer. As a result of this work on BASIC, Gates decided to drop out of Harvard in 1977 to work at Microsoft full-time, pursuing his vision of “a computer on every desk and in every home,” the idea behind the company. In the early 1980s, Gates led Microsoft’s evolution from a developer of programming languages to a diversified software company producing operating systems and applications software as well as programming tools. This transition began in 1981 with Microsoft’s introduction of MS-DOS, the operating system for International Business Machines Corporation’s new Personal Computer (IBM PC) (see International Business Machines Corporation). Gates persuaded other computer manufacturers to standardize on MS-DOS, fueling software compatibility and computer industry growth in the 1980s. Gates also pushed Microsoft to introduce application software, such as Microsoft Word word-processing software for the IBM PC. In a key strategic move, Gates agreed to develop application software for the Apple Macintosh prior to the release of the first Mac in 1984. This was the beginning of strong position for Microsoft in applications that take advantage of the graphical user interface (GUI).
Much of Gates’s success rests on his ability to translate technical visions into market strategy, and to blend creativity with technical acumen. He is one of the few founding CEOs from the technical side of the PC industry who has also survived and thrived on the business side. Gates has accumulated great wealth from his holdings of Microsoft stock and is known for his personal and corporate contributions to charity and educational organizations. Gates continues to be personally involved in product development at Microsoft. His willingness to back new technologies such as Microsoft Windows, Windows NT, and workgroup applications has kept Microsoft at the forefront of computer hardware and software evolution.
First off, they could’ve chosen a less dorky picture of Bill Gates to use. But I guess you want a picture that reflects the tone of the article, and that tone being one of geniality and wisdom. I totally have a hard-on for Bill Gates after reading that. This man is such a visionary, such a genius! Every single idea he had, every single life decision he made was a revolutionary success of great magnitude. If that wasn’t enough to convince you, the article also included a sound clip from Mr. Gates himself!
Wow, what confidence! What a vision!
Jobs, Steven (1955- ), American computer executive, adopted by Paul and Clara Jobs of Mountain View, California, in 1955. Jobs went to high school in Los Altos, California, and attended lectures at Hewlett-Packard in Palo Alto after school. He attracted the attention of the company president and was hired as a summer employee. He worked there with Stephen Wozniak, an electronics inventor. In 1972 Jobs graduated from high school and entered Reed College, dropping out after one semester and joining Atari in 1974 as a designer of video games. After several months he quit his job and made a trip to India in search of spiritual enlightenment.
Upon his return to California, Jobs found that Wozniak, who still worked for Hewlett-Packard, had become involved with a group of young electronics enthusiasts in a computer club. Jobs, who was interested in marketing, persuaded Wozniak to work with him. Together they designed and built a prototype of the Apple I, a preassembled computer circuit board, in Jobs’s parents’ garage. A local electronics equipment retailer ordered 25 of the machines, and Wozniak quit his job to become the vice president in charge of research and development of the new venture. They formed the Apple Computer Company on April 1, 1976. The Apple I was offered at a price of $666.66 and sold 600 units, chiefly to hobbyists and electronics enthusiasts. The Apple II followed shortly, keeping the simplicity and compactness of the Apple I, but more suited to the general user. Apple Computer was incorporated in 1977, became phenomenally successful, and in 1980 went public. Subsequent versions of the Apple were less successful. In January 1983 Jobs announced a new Apple upgrade, but the company also introduced the Lisa, a personal computer primarily designed for business use that incorporated a hand-held “mouse” to select commands and control an on-screen cursor. The Lisa was followed by the Macintosh personal computer, aimed at the general user to provide easy and affordable access to information and computing power. Throughout the early 1980s Jobs led the company as it developed and sold personal computers, software, and printers throughout the world. In 1985 poor sales and internal problems at Apple led to restructuring and to Jobs’s forced resignation from the company. He took five Apple employees with him and started a new computer company, NeXT, Inc. Jobs acquired capital from such sources as financier H. Ross Perot; Canon, Inc.; Stanford University; and Carnegie Mellon University. His new computers were innovative but expensive.
Wow, what a dull sonofabitch. He lacked the vision Gates had. I mean, look at that picture! Is that a man who looks determined and wise? Of course not. According to this article, Steve Jobs is a manipulator, a joke, and a failure. He persuaded Steve Wozniak to do his bidding…twice. The Apple I was considered a failure, only 600 units being sold to nerds, unlike the success of Mr. Gates who revolutionized everything from step 1. But to give Jobs credit where credit is due, Apple did become “phenomenally successful” with the Apple II, but that was where it went downhill. Failure after failure, Jobs drove Apple to the ground and by 1985 he was forced to resign. But lo, he is a resilient cockroach! He formed NeXT with some other former Apple employees “he took with him.” Don’t get your hopes up though, those computers were innovative but really fucking expensive. I’m guessing Steve Jobs was unavailable to provide an audio sample for his article.
Ahhh, history, how you are written by the victors of your time!
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One thought on “Bill Gates vs Steve Jobs, according to Encarta 96”
I think you miss one thing in the historical context…At the time this was authored and published (remember they had to go to “print” on these as they were not internet based) Steve Jobs had been fired from Apple, Macs were running OS 7 or more likely 6, Apple was failing hard (http://www.businessweek.com/1996/06/b34611.htm) and Mircrosoft had just launched Windows 95 and was dominating the PC landscape even more than now.
Steve Jobs WAS a bit player on the stage of the day…it seems odd, but it was true. Jobs seemed like a has been and his company was set to be wiped out.
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