Bill Gates' Legacy: Outmaneuvering The Competition

As he eases out of management, Microsoft's co-founder will be remembered as an inspiring leader and brilliant businessman.

John Foley, Editor, InformationWeek

June 22, 2007

1 Min Read

The Push Continues
It all started with Windows, a product that SAP America's McDermott calls, despite its many shortcomings, "one of the real masterpieces in IT." Microsoft is attempting to push a stripped-down, low-cost version of Windows into India, China, and other developing markets. If successful, Gates' software reach will be measured in billions of people.

Indeed, for all that he's already accomplished, many people think Gates' greatest contributions to society are still ahead of him in the form of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which is applying an endowment of $33.4 billion--much of it from Gates' personal fortune--toward fighting disease, improving health, and reducing poverty around the world. It's "stunningly admirable behavior," says one-time competitor Kertzman.

The stories of Gates and the company he co-founded are far from over. There will be more software patches and exploits, more probing by the European Union, more complaints about Microsoft's strategy of using patents against the open source community. In short, there will be many more opportunities to question and criticize Gates for all that he has brought to bear.

Yet, if new kinds of collaboration take place over Windows-based smartphones and computers, if workers become more productive and students better educated, if impoverished people get computers and vaccines against malaria, if the standard of living improves for the world's poor, Bill Gates' shortcomings will be put in perspective. Let's hope he succeeds, for everyone's benefit even more than his own.

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Bill Gates' Legacy: Winning Through Intimidation View the timeline:
Bill Gates' Legacy

About the Author(s)

John Foley

Editor, InformationWeek

John Foley is director, strategic communications, for Oracle Corp. and a former editor of InformationWeek Government.

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