You're alert to the most important things, and your nervous system blocks out the information that isn't important to you. Companies need to have that same kind of nervous system -- the ability to run smoothly and efficiently, to respond quickly to emergencies and opportunities, to quickly get valuable information to the people in the company who need it, the ability to quickly make decisions and interact with customers." (Gates, Introduction, Business at the speed of Thought)
Gates thus has developed the Microsoft philosophy, not simply as a computer technology and software system, but under an entire corporate philosophy of growth, research, and development that spurns pretension, and grabs the capitalist bull by the horns, making an effort to control all in its grasp. One reason for the ire Gates draws as a figure at the corporate 'mast,' however, might be that he embraces both corporate as well as computer culture in his persona. Before Gates, 'computer geeks' tended to be either government workers, not in private enterprise, or 'IBM clones,' in gray suits, receiving salaries and toeing the party line of a company run by others. Gates broke the mold, and tries to inspire others to do the same, just as he did with his negotiating strategy while developing BASIC as a program.
A wrote Business at the Speed of Thought to help business leaders understand how they can take advantage of the incredible changes taking place. I think business will change more in the next 10 years than it has in the last 50 and businesses that seize the opportunity and use digital tools to move information inside their enterprise, as well as to reach out to customers in new ways, they'll lead in this era." (Gates, Q&a, 2004) business and corporate culture, however, Gates admits, must always work hand in hand for any corporate empire to function.
Security Problems regarding Microsoft Technology
Criticisms of Microsoft's way of doing business remain, and also of the Microsoft mainframes itself. The anti-trust case before the Supreme Court excoriated Microsoft for its use of Internet browser technology that was incorporated into the software system, thus encouraging, it was alleged, new users to make use of Microsoft Internet Explorer, rather than 'exploring' other, non-Microsoft options. Also, security issues are of a concern. Gates himself admits, "ensuring that all these systems are reliable and secure will be a high priority for many years," for Microsoft. For instance, in developing its new "Windows XP," Microsoft trained 500,000 it professionals worldwide on security technology and best practices and included such services as Windows Update so that users could quickly distribute security patches across vast networks. (Gates, "The Enduring Magic of Software," Information Week, October 18, 2004)
Despite these innovations, however, Gates has acknowledged in a public 'internal email' published on the Microsoft website, that the spread of Internet hackers, perhaps many of them enterprising and computer obsessed young men like his former adolescent self, have "put new demands on it professionals and consumers to take preventative measures, and on the technology industry to continue to innovate and develop new solutions. "The kinds of threats are evolving too. Blaster, for example, hijacked individual computers, turning innocent users into unknowing and innocent worm propagators. These kinds of attacks," known as swarming attacks "that are coordinated to cause multiplied, cascading effects" have changed the landscape of security threats to the Microsoft System. (Gates, "Executive email -- Security." Microsoft Official Website, March 31, 2004)
But even Gates' harshest critics cannot fault his philanthropic impulses. Although he has accumulated great wealth, he has also given much of that wealth away. Gates. He and his wife, Melinda Gate have endowed a foundation with more than $27 billion dollars "to support philanthropic initiatives in the areas of global health and learning, with the hope that in the 21st century, advances in these critical areas will be available for all people. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has committed more than $3.2 billion to organizations working in global health; more than $2 billion to improve learning opportunities, including the Gates Library Initiative to bring computers, Internet Access and training to public libraries in low-income communities in the United States and Canada; more than $477 million to community projects in the Pacific Northwest; and more than $488 million to special projects and annual giving campaigns." ("Biography: Bill Gates," 2004) the emphasis on research and education for this foundation has earned praise from voices as diverse as Bill Clinton, amongst others, and it truly, many have said, not merely distributes funds, enabling individuals to 'eat for a day,' but teaches those who are the recipients of its funds how to fish for deeper knowledge in the world.
Love him or hate him, you cannot escape the enterprise he spawned. Gates revolutionized and standardized proprietary software, and continues to expand his empire's reach to include search engines and music downloading. He remains brash, eager, and able to capitalize upon the opportunities of the marketplace, and willing to offend to gain riches and exposure. The combination may prove irritating to his competitors, and even stymie competition, but one must at least acknowledge the power of personal computing and the contribution Gates has made, even though he did not make his technical or his business contributions alone.
Biography." Microsoft Corporate Website. Last updated December 2004. 20 Dec 2004. http://www.microsoft.com/billgates/bio.asp
Gates, Bill. "Executive email -- Security." Microsoft Official Website. March 31, 2004. 20 Dec 2004. http://www.microsoft.com/mscorp/execmail/2004/03-31security.asp
Gates, Bill. "The Enduring Magic of Software," Information Week, October 18, 2004. 20 Dec 2004. http://www.informationweek.com/story/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=49901115
Gates, Bill. "Q&a." 2004. 20 Dec 2004. http://www.microsoft.com/billgates/speedofthought/looking/q&a.asp
Gates, Bill. Business at the speed of Thought. "Introduction." Microsoft Publications, 2000.
Mirick, John. "Bill Gates: Before Microsoft." 2003. 20 Dec 2004. http://ei.cs.vt.edu/~history/Gates.Mirick.html
TeamGates.com. "Bill's Life." Sept 29, 1996. 20 Dec 2004. http://www.teamgates.com/library/life.htm