The myths surrounding Microsoft and its founder are closely tied to the creation myth of the personal computer itself. Here at 5 myths about Microsoft.
1. Bill Gates is Evil
Arrogant. Bullying. Ruthless. Stubborn. All of these are adjectives that former and current Microsoft colleagues and competitors have used to describe William Henry Gates III. But would those critics describe him as evil? Not in a million years.
As a philanthropist, he’s poised to become the greatest giver in the history of the world. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has already invested tens of billions of dollars toward the eradication of disease and poverty in developing nations and eventually will give away all of Gates’ wealth. How evil could that be?
2: Microsoft isn’t Innovative
Microsoft has a well-deserved reputation in software circles for being technologically derivative. In other words, Microsoft has borrowed or bought every good idea it’s ever had. Bill Gates and friends didn’t write the code for MS-DOS. They bought something called QDOS for $50,000, tweaked it and licensed it to IBM for huge profits. They didn’t code the original Internet Explorer, either: They licensed the source code from Spyglass Inc., maker of the Mosaic browser, and used that same basic code for three or four versions of Explorer
When the Harvard Business Institute studied the secrets of Microsoft’s success, they pinpointed the company’s innovative approach to its intellectual property. Microsoft has created a gargantuan library of proprietary source code “components” that work across the Windows platform. If a developer proves his loyalty to Microsoft, he gets access to that code library — and hundreds of millions of potential Microsoft customers.
3: Microsoft is a “Natural Monopoly”
Some critics of the U.S. government’s ongoing antitrust case against Microsoft defended the software powerhouse as a legal natural monopoly because it earned its dominance by outmaneuvering its free market competitors.
Since the company has some 90 percent of the global operating system market share, Microsoft enjoys huge economies of scale. For instance, smaller software developers could never spend as much as Microsoft can on product development and marketing.
4: Microsoft Doesn’t Care About Security
You hardly ever see headlines reading, “Apple Warns Users About Serious Security Hole” or “Red Hat Races to Issue Patch to Thwart Hackers.” That’s because few programmers would bother to write malicious code and nasty computer viruses for Macs and Linux computers. The reason for this is quite simple: If you’re a hacker and your insidious goal is to poison the most machines possible, you’d train your sights on the operating system used by more than 90 percent of the world’s personal computers.
The real question, according to veteran tech writer Rob Enderle, is whether anyone at any company could successfully repel the near-constant barrage of attacks that plague Microsoft products. To make matters worse, he says, boasting about security features is bound to attract hackers hungry for a challenge.
5: Microsoft Invented “Windows”
In 1968, when 13-year-old Bill Gates was still programming tic-tac-toe in BASIC, an engineer named Douglas Englebart at the Stanford Research Institute introduced the world to the mouse. Englebart is credited with inventing the graphical user interface, or GUI. The Xerox Alto ran on an operating system/development environment called SmallTalk that was created in-house by Xerox PARC researchers. In 1979, 24-year-old Steve Jobs of tech upstart Apple Computer, Inc. paid $1 million in Apple stock options for a detailed tour of the Xerox PARC facility. Blown away by the SmallTalk GUI, Jobs demanded the product’s technical documentation, which Xerox foolishly handed over.
With the specs for the SmallTalk GUI in hand, Apple released the Lisa in 1983, the first commercial computer to feature a “windows” GUI. Jobs would use a similar GUI for the much more popular Macintosh models. When Bill Gates, who wrote software for the Mac, released Windows 2.0 in 1987, Apple sued Microsoft for blatantly stealing the Mac’s look and feel; something Apple stole long ago from Xerox. Apple eventually lost the case and Microsoft’s subsequent dominance of the PC market made “windows” synonymous with Windows.
Full read at HowStuffWorks.