Re: BillG's New Job

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Date: Fri Feb 04 2000 - 06:13:48 PST

In a message dated 2/4/2000 4:20:38 AM, writes:

>a private lunch with
>two dozen of the top editors in the world.

the oxymoron implicit in that sentence explains why I never go to press
conferences, and wasn't at the lunch--instead, I was sitting next to Donna
Dubinsky, who was regaling me with stories abut 3Com; at the same lunch,
Simon Best, managing director of Geron Biomed, was ingenuously introduced as
"the man behind Dolly the sheep." Mine was the first guffaw, I'm proud to
But DO check out Tom Friedman's column in the NY Times today, about Gates's
dissimulation over MSFT's lobbying efforts--not soemthing Gates said at the
lunch but something he said at one of the other sessions. Friedman, a friend
told me, was livid, and the column today is just barely polite.

Some of the interesting buzz i heard around Davos had to do with (1) how much
companies dislike Microsoft's tactics (2) how their fear of the compnay is
diminishing (note that if the dislike, which in some cases amounts to
seething dislike, persists strong enough and the fear diminishes enough, MSFT
could be in for real trouble, lacking a reservoir of good will) (3) how
mobile computing (whether PDAs or wireless) will be more and more important
(this could be a Euro bias) (4) how the network is the computer and the OS
doesn't matter and (5) intiguingly, some talk, whose source I can't disclose,
that suggests still more movement toward Linux. It's hard to put a finger on
it, but Gates simply seemed less like the sun of the technology solar system
than he seemed to be last year--as if people felt he'd made his money, and
would make a lot more, but was no longer the source of excitement; after all,
he's giving it away now, just as Rockefeller and Carnegie started doing. When
those tycoons made philanthropy their main interest, it was at a time when
the focus of tgheir industries had shifted from making steel and drilling for
oil to making things OUT of steel and making things use the oil--i.e. from
ingots and barrels to automobiles and gallons.
Maybe Gates is reinventing MSFT's business. Certainly anyone who sold the
company short, ever, has regretted it. But maybe he's reinventing his life.
Time, as they say, will tell.


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