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Click to read the articleIn our last issue, prompted by the death of Steve Jobs, we looked at his business behavior. Of course, we know that big businessmen are usually "type A" people, driven by their need to "succeed," which means to make more money for themselves and their companies, often at any cost - "whatever it takes." This means that any action is justified, any attitude toward other people is OK, as long as it helps them "succeed" (make more money). In this issue, let's examine Bill Gates and his business ethics, or lack thereof. Of course, praise and accolades abound for any "successful" person, such as the self-serving site Bill Gates Strategies. But what do others say about him?

In the article Steve Jobs Biography: 5 Tidbits You Need To Read you'll see that Jobs "called Gates 'unimaginative' and someone who 'shamelessly ripped off other people's ideas,' according to the Huffington Post. Jobs even said Gates was more comfortable in philanthropy, because of his lack of imagination." (Jobs was also no friend of the folks at Google: "he was 'willing to go thermonuclear war' against Google over Android, according to the Huffington Post. Jobs also referred to Android as 'grand theft' of Apple's iPhone and was purportedly willing to spend every last dime of Apple's $40 billion cash reserves to get rid of Android," says this article.)

Is Gates really "unimaginative"? Did he "shamelessly rip off other people's ideas?" Let's see: if you "google" (oops! if you "bing") "Bill Gates business behavior" you will find hundreds of articles, first of which is on Wikipedia, telling how he learned programming as an eighth-grade student at Lakeside School, an exclusive prep school in Seattle, Washington, and was banned along with three other students for exploiting bugs in the operating system to get free time on the computer. The next year, Information Sciences, Inc. hired the same four to write a payroll system in COBOL, then Gates wrote the class scheduling program for the prep school... placing himself in classes with mostly girls!

Children are unpredictible: you never know what inconsistency they will catch you in next.

Before graduation from prep school, Gates took the SAT, scored 1590 out of 1600, and enrolled in Harvard University where he spent most of his time in the computer lab. According to a rather unflattering article, Bill Gates A Critical Biography, he was either expelled or took a leave of absence from Harvard after taking unauthorized and excessive computer time on a government-funded DEC PDP-10 computer to develop his version of the BASIC programming language, so he moved to New Mexico where his friend Paul Allen was working. Together, in November 1975 they formed a company called "Micro-Soft", but the next year they dropped the hyphen and registered "Microsoft" as their trademark. In 1979 they moved their little company to the Seattle, Washington area where Bill Gates was from.

IBM first asked Microsoft in 1980 to adapt its BASIC language for the future IBM PC, and was considering using Digital Research's CP/M Operating System. But DR's president made a point of flying away in his private airplane when the IBM representative came calling, so IBM approached Gates for an operating system. Gates didn't have an OS, but he agreed to the deal, drove across town and bought QDOS, an OS that would run on the Intel processor chip, from Seattle Computer Products for $50,000. Gates and Allen adapted QDOS for the IBM PC, and licensed it to IBM as PC-DOS. But because IBM developed its PC using open architecture that anyone could copy, Gates believed other manufacturers would want his OS, which he named MS-DOS. That decision made Gates, Allen and Steve Ballmer billionaires.

Much has been written about Microsoft's anticompetitive business practices: it's well-known that Microsoft has made special low-price deals with hardware manufaturers to pre-install only Microsoft's OS on all their PCs at the factory. After Internet Explorer was bundled with Windows and forced Netscape out of the browser market, the U.S. Department of Justice took Microsoft to court and won, forcing them to de-integrate IE from the operating system and allow other browsers to be installed. The European Union went even further in a lawsuit, requiring no browser to be pre-installed. This made it impossible, of course, for the customer to download any browser, so the EU backed off a bit and allowed Microsoft to install IE along with other browsers.

Click to see the video!In February 1998, Bill Gates hit was with a cream pie in Brussels, Belgium for his domineering in the computer field and stifling other companies' creative products. Many others frown on Microsoft for dominating the PC marketplace, but by the mid-2000s Microsoft's flower began to fade as Apple revived from near-death and began producing the iMac, iPod, iPhone and iPad. Now Apple has exceeded Microsoft in sales and market capitalization, but strangely almost nobody accuses Apple of anticompetitive or monopolistic practices, although its hardware, software, stores, etc. are so tightly integrated that it causes customers to be locked in to Apple's ecosystem. "This too shall pass."

Temple Grandin, PhD, famous for mastering her Asperger's Syndrome and becoming a great inventor and university professor, wrote in Genius May Be an Abnormality: "It is also likely that Bill Gates has many Asperger's traits. An article in Time Magazine compared me to Mr. Gates. For example, we both rock. I have seen video tapes of Bill Gates rocking on television. Articles in business magazines describe his incredible memory as a young child." She also states, "before people knew about Asperger's Syndrome, their child would have received a very positive label of intellectually gifted." Both Bill Gates and Steve Jobs reached fame before Asperger's was widely diagnosed, and both exhibit many traits of Asperger's: high intellect, low social skills and ability to focus for hours on end in order to succeed and prove they are the best.

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In our last issue we looked at the $35 Aakash Android tablet from India. Here's a positive review - Hands On: India's $35 Aakash Android tablet lands in America. And a cool app that runs on Android devices is Androffice: it's an "Office Suite" that lets you interface with all your word processing, spreadsheet, presentation and other documents at Google Docs. The day is soon coming when nearly everyone on Earth will have an always-on computer/communication device, and almost all the contents of our brains will reside in "the Cloud."

Microsoft urges its Windows customers to allow "automatic updates," which means these customers don't know what Microsoft is installing on their PCs. Some people and several countries have pointed out Microsoft's close ties to the U.S. government, wondering whether the NSA or CIA have "backdoors" built into Windows. Having years of experience in military intelligence, I can safely assume that it could very well be true, but the same could be said of Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus: there are lots of ways the government can monitor us. Now we learn in Chaos Computer Club analyzes government malware that German police forces have created a "trojan" they can install on citizens' PCs that will send screenshots to a remote server, monitoring all computer activity, and can install additional software remotely... all in violation of German privacy laws.

The goal of our CN.Net-News is to share information that we think you'll find helpful as you wrestle with that little monster on your desk or at your side, your computer. And we aim to present this information from a Christian worldview. Thanks for your time!

Best regards,

"Dr. Bob the CompuNerd"

Robert D hoskEN
See the "nerd" in my name? (It helps if you're a little dyslexic!)
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