back to article Microsoft investors push for Bill Gates defenestration: report

Three Microsoft investors that collectively own more than five per cent of the company are lobbying to fire founder Bill Gates from his role as Chairman. The Reuters report containing the news doesn't name the investors but says they are worried that Gates' influence as Chairman is disproportionate to his current 4.5 per cent …

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Anonymous Coward

how much skin do you need to have in the game ..

"...Gates' influence as Chairman is disproportionate to his current 4.5 per cent stake in the company."

So the influence of the Chairman of the Board should be proportional to their stake in the company eh ?

So they want to do what exactly ? Replace BG with someone who has no, or at least <<< 4.5% stake ?

Based on this, they are obviously seeking a chairman who would have pretty much no influence whatsoever.

I'm available ...

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Re: how much skin do you need to have in the game ..

"Based on this, they are obviously seeking a chairman who would have pretty much no influence whatsoever."

That's how it should work. For complex, publicly listed companies the chairman (or head of the supervisory board if that's the local model) should not have much influence on the company's direction. That's what you pay the CEO for. The job of the chairman is to hold the CEO and the executives to account, assisted by the non-executive directors. In that respect Gates has failed, because it was investor pressure, not Billyboy who called time on Ballmer. We've had a string of bum acquisitions, two recent core software flops, we're still seeing security flaws in the OS and browser, we missed out on tablets, phones, the internet, and so forth.

This is part of a wider problem with corporate governance the world over, in the shape of the poor quality and/or low performance of the non-executive directors. All too often these people either don't voice their concerns. won't voice them, or aren't listened to. In US companies its not unusual to find non-execs with no valid experience in related industries, and the world over it is common to find cliques of rent-a-non-exec types taking a fat salary from umpteen different companies to whom they can devote no worthwhile energy.

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Re: how much skin do you need to have in the game ..

But think about it. If these people are doing what is actually best for the shareholder why would Ballmer and Gates (2 big shareholders) not already be doing that? Surely having a CEO and a Chairman who are both heavily invested in the company is a good thing as then they will be motivated to do what is best for the shareholders, ie themselves.

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Anonymous Coward

"Disproportionate influence"

I agree with the thought. I think we have to take steps against all others who have disproportionate influence.

Jesus and Mohammed spring to mind, who haven't been adding much value to their franchises but keep collecting royalties.

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Re: how much skin do you need to have in the game ..

>The job of the chairman is to hold the CEO and the executives to account

No that isn't the job of the Chairman.

I suggest you take a look at the UK Corporate Governance Code 2010 and do a google on "the role of the chairman", a clear example of the split of responsibilities between Chair and CEO can be found here: http://www.bg-group.com/AboutBG/Governance/Pages/pgRolesoftheChairmanandChiefExecutive.aspx

The question is therefore has Bill been a good chairman and discharging his responsiblities? It would seem that what is really going on here is some shareholders doubting Bills abilities to select appropriate candidates and to maintain an effective board.

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Holmes

@Daemon Byte - Re: how much skin do you need to have in the game ..

Wrote :- "But think about it. If these people are doing what is actually best for the shareholder why would Ballmer and Gates (2 big shareholders) not already be doing that?"

How about :- Because they are not competent at doing so?

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Coat

Re: how much skin do you need to have in the game ..

They might have a point. Suppose they feel that Gates is blocking innovation, suppose they feel that the rest of the company is too scared to do anything without an OK from Bill, the old master. And suppose Gates feels, as before, that any idea he cannot claim as his own, is just rubbish. What has he in fact invented. We would, of course, understand more, if there where "board meetings" on the internet to see.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: how much skin do you need to have in the game ..

Bill seems more interested in curing Malaria in developing nations than what's happening in Redmond and small fluctuations in his multi billion bank balance.

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Bill Gates will go when he is ready

I imagine he holds a few surprises yet first.

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Re: Bill Gates will go when he is ready

"Buy him out boys!"

*bang, crash, thump*

"You don't think I got his rich by writing cheques now, do you? MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAA!"

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Very interesting

Perhaps if they both go, I might actually be tempted to buy back a few of the shares I've sold over the years. Hmm, maybe I'll wait until they get their APIs straight.

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it could be worse

Hello! Bill? Yeah, this is Carl. So how's it goin'?

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Anonymous Coward

Unamed Investors......

Would these be the VC sort who like to asset strip, profit, then bugger off?

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"Any public company's primary duty is to enhance shareholder value" No its not.

Its to its customers, workers and then its shareholders.

http://hbr.org/2010/04/the-myth-of-shareholder-capitalism/ar/

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>"Any public company's primary duty is to enhance shareholder value" No its not.

> Its to its customers, workers and then its shareholders.

> http://hbr.org/2010/04/the-myth-of-shareholder-capitalism/ar/

Its also easy to argue that since the company is assumed to be ongoing, on-going value should be maximised, not just a spot share price.

MS' value lies in its web of products which make it difficult to leave. Its hard to inspire great internal product development based on that. Worse, a lot of our global networking is already in place - its hard to continue to make the productivity gains we've made in the past through IT. Now we have the weird scenario of consolidation and virtualisation leading to massive cpu resources going to running multiple copies of the same OS on the same hardware. Why don't we just have better resource management within the OS? Why isn't all the resource management in vmware or hyper-v put into the base OS? Why are we essentially paying OS licenses per (server) application? Doesn't vmware speak to the failure of OS development?

In the olden days a "virtual machine" was something the OS was supposed to provide to the application so that the application thought it was using the whole machine. The whole point of the OS was to manage the hardware and allocate resources to applications. Surely that is the core of OS development. MS have been so busy writing applications they've forgotten the core OS. Linux isn't much better, but at least you can have it for free.

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Anonymous Coward

'"Any public company's primary duty is to enhance shareholder value" No its not.

Its to its customers, workers and then its shareholders.'

And meanwhile, back in the real world...

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Anonymous Coward

"shareholder value" - @Gavin Berry

I think you are using the wrong definition of "shareholder value". It is not "market capitalisation", which is a near-meaningless voodoo statistic without pages of analysis.

Shareholder value is a combination of current share price and expected future income from dividends. In order to maximise the latter, the company needs to keep and grow its customer base and retain and motivate good employees. This means that in the short term it may need to take actions which apparently reduce value - such as investing in plant or sales channels, or killing products which are still profitable but could result in significant future liabilities.

"Short-termism", aka "British business as usual", means "inflate the share price and stuff the future dividends." It is usually not for the benefit of the main shareholders, but for the benefit of either the gang that has currently taken over the Board, or the gang of crooks that has managed to acquire a few percent of shares and plans to take over the Board.

Microsoft's problem was that it was a company that was very good at the long term, but now companies like Google are proving to be long term as well. I certainly don't know what their correct strategy is, but I do know that when you are a director down in the mud and bullets it is often very hard to see a future direction that looks obvious to people who don't know what you know. The armchair CEOs are out in force on BlackBerry at the moment, but doubtless will soon be back on the Microsoft case. To them I say, returns on investment are terrible, VCs are desperately looking for something with high yields that isn't Wonga, with your expertise you should have no difficultly in getting your company launched. So do it.

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LDS
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The Dumbest Idea In The World: Maximizing Shareholder Value

"There is only one valid definition of a business purpose: to create a customer."

http://www.forbes.com/sites/stevedenning/2011/11/28/maximizing-shareholder-value-the-dumbest-idea-in-the-world/

"Maximizing shareholder value" is what has lead more than one company to the ground. That's what banks did just to find them strangled by an enormous debt and then looking for taxpayers money to keep on - while "shareholders" didn't have to pay for *their* debt.

What shareolders want? Layoffs, selling the Redmoan campus and then renting it at an absurd price - that's what "maximizers" usually do. Until the company fades into oblivion, they have sold their "maximized" shares to fools because the value drops to nil.

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The 'real world', where customers and workers - except for the very top of the pyramid scheme, are essentially exploited as disposable and replaceable - or manipulatable 'slave assets' of the corporation is an agreement to believe it. It is a logistical outcome of a kind of thinking that has drifted further and further from reality.

Corporate mentality effectively owns and runs nations whoever appears to govern. 'Conspiracy theory' is a term that once associated with information, invalidates it without further investigation. There is always a natural 'conspiracy' of self interest - BUT - according to how we define our self it expresses... as the world we see.

I don't know how much corporate entities CAN incorporate a true responsibility without a groundswell of support for such direction. The customers generally are a sort of cash cow fed with dreams and milked of consciousness - because there is such an enormous demand for unconsciousness! Whilst this is exploited by the clever, it all moves to a world where everything is 'weaponized'. You are indeed bombarded with propaganda and the means of delivery and monitoring grow ever more sophisticated.

Each will simply act to survive in a changing world - but mere surviving is not living. As many workers or would be-workers who are also customers are increasingly coming to realize.

Bringing a sense of value in a willingness for communication means you have to first have it! - much of what seems evil is a template running that no one has brought into awareness. In a clearer sense of share value in shared vision it is MUCH harder for the scammers and manipulators to operate. Therefore they have an active natural - to them self-interest in blocking such a sense of value and will naturally ally themselves with what serves their desire and interpret so as to justify themselves. But they cant SHARE a sense of value in any deep sense and are locked into a mentality that is no more serving them truly than the self-distractive habits of the unmindful.

Bill Gates has been nicknamed the 'Gates of hell' with regard to his involvement in biotech. Well meaning philanthropy? Manipulators are themselves slave to a manipulative mentality that tells them they are free or special and may not know any alternative for they simply see manipulatable data, rivals to its farming, PR props and temporary allies.

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Operating systems are among the most complex creations of man, with high conceptual integrity, demanding specifications, and high reliability as a goal. Oh, and efficiency, as well.

Our systems have developed over decades, and there is an incredible mass of code that supports each. A rewrite of a universal, general purpose operating system, heeding all the pitfalls discovered in previous designs might be worth the effort. But who will accomplish it? Who has the capabilities, and the resources to apply? Can it be useful if it's proprietary?

We'll see where it heads?

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Re: Operating systems are among the most complex creations of man

They can't hold a candle to tax law...

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Linux

Linux fans should applaud Billy G

Microsoft DOS and later windows paved the way for cheap commodity computer hardware, which made Linux possible. Even Windows-haters (me included) know that we have Bill to thank for that, not just for GORILLAS.BAS

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Re: Linux fans should applaud Billy G

Agree - the diversity of hardware platforms that were fundamentally very similar (ie. either Motorola or Intel based) but each ran their own unique ports of Unix and applications in the 80's and early 90's, really worked against Unix in the long run; even though this was a vast improvement on what went before...

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Re: Linux fans should applaud Billy G

This legend that Gates and MS made computing affordable is bollocks.

The only thing MS made is kill the competition and hold computing back decades.

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@ Sebastian Brosig - Re: Linux fans should applaud Billy G

Wrote :- "DOS and later windows paved the way for cheap commodity computer hardware, which made Linux possible"

What cobblers. Hero-worship of the first order.

Cheap computers were already around before I'd even heard of DOS, and I had one (an Amstrad running CP/M). There were also Sinclairs, Ataris, Amigas etc.

These were all eclipsed in time by the IBM-DOS-Windows PC, but do you seriously believe that cheap computers would have progressed no further without Gates and MS and that we would still be using CP/M today?

OTOH I believe MS held computing BACK by about five years, the time during which MS continued to hold its monopoly with pre-loaded Windows 3/9x/ME rubbish - during which time even MS itself could have moved forward with a fairly decent Lite version of Windows NT.

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Re: @ Sebastian Brosig - Linux fans should applaud Billy G

Agree strongly with these latest comments. Quite apart from anything else there is the old saying:

"When it's railroad time you build railroads"

Gates & Co. were simply leeches that did everything they possibly could to block any competition. And now they've lost much of their monopoly position they have become patent leeches instead.

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Re: @ Sebastian Brosig - Linux fans should applaud Billy G

MS introduced a de facto standard, which was a good thing for the industry as a whole, because it lowered the cost of entry for dev startups and make a Windows ecosystem possible - at least for a while.

Unfortunately the standard was a piece of crap in technical terms, and far behind what the industry was capable of. So in an ideal world some other company would have introduced a much better standard and made it stick. And we wouldn't have lost 5-10 years of OS development.

The problem is, unless it was incrementally better, no one would have bought it. A crappy greed-obsessed sales-psychopath company like MS, run by wolves as it was, was possibly the only entity capable of enforcing a standard.

If anything, all of this proves that markets are a moronic way to organise anything. Unfortunately most of the other ways are even worse.

I'd like to believe there's a solution to this problem. But if there is, it hasn't been invented yet. And if it is invented, it's certainly not going to look like anything or anyone around today.

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LDS
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Re: Linux fans should applaud Billy G

No, your wrong, that was Unix with its absurd prices and license model.

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LDS
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Re: @ Sebastian Brosig - Linux fans should applaud Billy G

No, those cheap computers would have progressed no further and not the way the IBM PC progressed. Each version was often incompatible with the previous one. Peripherals were proprietary - and they couldn't be "cloned".

They were developed with the home enthuistas in mind, not the business one. The IBM PC was designed with industry grade components, and used standard interfaces. They could be easily expanded through a standard ISA bus. It could run different operating systems which were not in ROM.

And most of all, it was backed by IBM, not small companies which could barely sustain themselves and went bankrupt as soon as a product failed. Noone of them was able to switch to PC clones and survive, while new companies and old ones could (Dell, HP). Why?

I switched to NT4 in 1997 (and to OS/2 3.0 in 1995) - if your PC came preloaded with 9x it was just because they were cheap or not enough powerful to run NT or OS/2. Blame yourself, not MS.

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Re: Linux fans should applaud Billy G

>This legend that Gates and MS made computing affordable is bollocks.

Well they did manage to get IBM to not protect the PC architecture and to enable them to keep control of the OS, so create the conditions that enabled companies like Compaq to create clones which ran the same software.

>The only thing MS made is kill the competition and hold computing back decades.

I think some of the competition did a good job of killing themselves - remember DEC could of released a VMS workstation at the PC price point, which with it's catalogue of enterprise applications would of wiped the IBM PC off the floor. Also DEC could of released VMS into X/Open which would probably of killed Unix as we know it...

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Anonymous Coward

@Roldan6: s/of/have/

I know that everyone hates a pedant, but this of/have thing seems to becoming more and more common, and 3 times in a single paragraph just pushed me over the edge.

"remember DEC could of released a VMS workstation at the PC price point, which with it's catalogue of enterprise applications would of wiped the IBM PC off the floor. Also DEC could of released VMS into X/Open which would probably of killed Unix as we know it..."

The conditional version of "X have done Y" is "X could have done Y", not "X could of done Y".

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Re: @Roldan6: s/of/have/ @AC

Apologies for raising the pedant in you, but many thanks for the clarity and tone of your response.

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Holmes

@LDS - Re: @ Sebastian Brosig - Linux fans should applaud Billy G

Wrote :- "No, those cheap computers would have progressed no further and not the way the IBM PC "progressed. ... They were developed with the home enthuistas in mind, not the business one."

Obviously, it would not have progressed the exact same way the IBM PC did. That might have been no bad thing, considering the kludges in the PC architecture. There is more than one way to kill a cat.

But you are saying that without IBM-MS we would all still be on 8-bit hardware running CP/M! - What cobblers! Actually, that would have been more likely if HAD been left to PHBs in business. My own bosses were always well behind the curve with computer purchasing.

In fact it WAS the home enthusiasts who have driven improvements over most of the time since. In the 1980s we young techies were always looking for upgrades and new models with our pre-PC home computers. It was exciting times. We were actually dismayed when the IBM PC started taking over as we saw it as a dead hand. But nevetheless it has been gamers who have demanded speed and power increases since then - those increases were not for typing office memos.

And entry-level PCs were quite capable of running Windows NT by around 1995 - I ran NT 4.0 as soon as it came out (1996) on a PC that was no-where near cutting edge at the time. MS should have created a Lite version and ditched the Win 9x line, but they waited/wasted 6 more years before they did so (with XP).

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Re: @ Sebastian Brosig - Linux fans should applaud Billy G

"The IBM PC was designed with industry grade components, and used standard interfaces. They could be easily expanded through a standard ISA bus. It could run different operating systems which were not in ROM."

So were many of the S-100 bus (IEEE-696) machines.

Processors from Altair's 8080 to Cromemco's 68020 based XXU.

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Anonymous Coward

Just look at Apple after Jobs.

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"the company's audacious early goal of putting a PC into every home came to fruition"

No thanks to the company in question. I think that happened in spite of Microsoft rather than because of them.

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Re: "the company's audacious early goal of putting a PC into every home came to fruition"

No, I think they were right.

In 1994 we got our first computer, a Dell 486. We had no internet connection, but we did have a half dozen floppies for DOS 6.2 and another half dozen for Windows 3.11. Having gone through the disks, the computer then just worked. We could play games on it and do various bits. It also continued to work when we upgraded to Win 95 a couple of years later.

In 1999, we still had no internet, but I got a copy of Linux, with the only drivers being those on the disk, it was an interesting time trying to turn it into somehting resembling a useful machine. Because of that it was another eight years before I properly returned to Linux when I went to university.

Microsoft put a computer in every home, because it just worked (how things have changed). Linux is only recently got there and Apple around the same time was nowhere.

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Re: "the company's audacious early goal of putting a PC into every home came to fruition"

I couldn't have explained it better.

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Re: "the company's audacious early goal of putting a PC into every home came to fruition"

Ahhh the sheer ignorance.

There were plenty of home computers in the market at the time that not only just worked, they even worked better than MSDOS and Windows.

You just happened to get a PC when computing for the masses were beginning to be popular.

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Re: "the company's audacious early goal of putting a PC into every home came to fruition"

So what you're saying is Dell did more than Microsoft.

As did Compaq, Amstrad, HP, Gateway, even ye olde Time Computers. Before that, Sinclair, Commodore and Atari were blazing the home-computing trail in a way that the PC only managed to follow once companies like 3DFX, Creative Labs, ATI and NVidia managed to make the PC a viable proposition for the home (ie: made it do good graphics and sound).

The only role Microsoft played in any of this was as a troll charging a tax to cross a bridge that everyone else made.

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@Callam McMillan - Re: "the ..goal of putting a PC into every home came to fruition"

Wrote :- "I think they were right. In 1994 we got our first computer, a Dell 486."

Please don't try re-writing history when you do not know your subject. If you define it strictly as an IBM compatible running DOS/Windows then of course MS had a hand it. But I am taking this discussion to be about computers in the home, and "PC" to mean a "personal computer" generally.

If your first PC was in 1994 you may not be aware that you were actually were part of the SECOND wave of adopters of home computers (and you were not even near the front of that), which was indeed about pre-loaded Windows PCs. But before that, in the 1980's almost the guys I knew had some home computer - Sinclair, BBC, Amiga etc (we regarded DOS/PCs as business machines). I had an Amstrad. We were young techies, but that still meant a very large number of homes had computers before Windows PCs burst on the world.

And while MOST homes ended up with a Windows PC, it was certainly not all. About half my relations (country folk) have NEVER had any home comuter.

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Re: "the company's audacious early goal of putting a PC into every home came to fruition"

@Callam McMillan

"Microsoft put a computer in every home, because it just worked (how things have changed). Linux is [sic] only recently got there and Apple around the same time was nowhere."

Complete ignorance. You obviously never heard of OS/2, Amiga, BeOS, Solaris etc - all of which competed with DOS / Windows. And all of which were better than the junk Microsoft built.

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Re: @Callam McMillan - "the ..goal of putting a PC into every home came to fruition"

How could you forget Atari ST???

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "the company's audacious early goal of putting a PC into every home came to fruition"

@Magnetik - I realise it's fashionable to hate MS here, but MS put a computer running their software into practically every home.

OS/2 was never used in the home and was post Windows in any case.

Amiga was niche, it could have been big, but Commadore screwed it up. I know of about four Amiga users, myself included.

BeOS, I used it, that it the sum total of users I know of.

Nobody used solaris in the home.

The point that MS got and many, many people still fail to get is that good enough can factor in cheap enough. What would you do, get a 486 running Windows 3.1 for a few hundred quid or spend the requisite £10k for the vastly superior Solaris workstation.

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Re: "the company's audacious early goal of putting a PC into every home came to fruition"

My point was that MS didn't get ahead because their product "just worked", in fact compared to the OSes I mentioned it was junk. But they marketed that junk like hell so it got traction. IBM made the mistake of believing their product would sell on merit and failed to market it properly. (Incidentally I know several people who used OS/2 at home).

Let's not forget that MS made it very difficult for companies like Dell to sell competing OSes with their machines. I wonder if IBM / Commodore / Be had adopted Microsoft's practices of pushing their products on people just how different home computers would be today?

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Re: "the company's audacious early goal of putting a PC into every home came to fruition"

Amiga was never "niche", except later in its life when the PC got the 3DFX card to go with the Soundblaster Pro and 16. If you were as old as me, you'd know that the Amiga was the shit back in its day. Microsoft operating systems were still a whole bunch of 640k limits and creating custom config.sys and autoexec.bat files to make stuff work properly.

What MS got that many people failed to get is having a half-decent office suite, but it would only run on their half-baked OS. MS did nothing, precisely nada to lower the prices of PCs. Amstrad did more than they ever would, with a "pile it high, sell it cheap" mentality that might not have resulted in the best hardware, but resulted in "good enough" to run Microsoft's incredibly expensive office software along with the operating system seemingly designed from the start to lock everyone into it.

You might laugh, but Linux and the Penguinistas have done more to make PCs affordable than Microsoft ever have. Yes, really. Microsoft can't get away with charging more than the cost of the hardware on an office suite any more, when products such as OO.o and LO.o are "good enough", and free. The Microsoftians know this as well, hence their total war against free with proxy companies, groups, and unproven patent allegations.

I will state again that the only role Microsoft has ever played is to demand a toll to cross a bridge made of everybody else's hard work.

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Re: "the company's audacious early goal of putting a PC into every home came to fruition"

In my late yoof lots of people were buying computers for the home:

No one yet seems to have mentioned Acorn/BBC A&B , Commodore PET and VIC 20, Dragon 32/64 and all the others.

In the UK at least, there was a feeling in govt/parents that programming was a job of the future except most of the many magazines focused on games (which one typed in).

We were using HP instrument controllers in the lab (IEEE-488 anyone?) all the technicians had one or more of the many devices listed in this comments section.

Then IBM produced the PC and standardised various hardware features and sort of gave it all away as they didn't think it was a big deal but an IBM PC running MS-DOS or DR-DOS (GEM) cost something like £2,500 at a time when a good salary would have been around £8,000/yr (the company MD bought one to "evaluate").

Then all these other devices ended up discarded by those that got bored playing games as the "what do you do with them" problem kicked in..

In some offices there were many document systems including Wang, Data General, but PCs were a bit "what are they for" until Lotus 1-2-3 was invented for the accountants and then WordPerfect (which integrated).

Then of course came the internet and probably pornography.

But in all of this the anti-competitive hand of Microsoft forced out alternatives and kept the price of software high

A market threat with the netbook* failed where fragmentation smartphone/table/consoles succeeded, all because of Linux (and the other stuff) derivatives.

Ffor the average punter the cheap-as-chips Chromebook** must be a god-send - all nothing to do with Microsoft (or Apple)

So it's very difficult to agree with any sentiment in the article.

*using mine to write this

** yes I know _you_ wouldn't touch a chromebook even though half your life is on a mobile phone or tablet

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Re: @Callam McMillan - "the ..goal of putting a PC into every home came to fruition"

It's not that I forgot. In 1994 I was 6 years old and had never heard of the Atari ST. What I remember from then is a computer you could turn on, type win at the DOS prompt to start windows (until I added the command to the autoexec.bat file) and then play the various games we had on the machine. It was also about this time I found QBasic and started writing programs by bastardising a manual I had on how to write in OPL for a Psion CM2 organiser (Good times).

Other people have already said it. This is a time when 4MB of ram was the best part of £200 and while our first machine could support 64MB, this was effectively a £4000 upgrade, so we made do with 16MB, upgraded from the 1 or 4 MB it come with (I can't remember totally.) In that vein, while there may have been better options for the operating system, they weren't exactly what you'd call cheap, or targeted at the domestic market.

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@AC - Re: "the company's audacious early goal of putting a PC ....etc"

AC wrote :- "MS put a computer running their software into practically every home"

I agree that most homes (but no-where near "every") had a Windows PC at one time, but as written you imply that it was the FIRST computer to enter homes and that without Windows PCs there would never have been ANY computers in homes.

AC wrote :- "OS/2 was never used in the home... Amiga was niche"

I had OS/2 at home, and Atari were also niche by your reckonning, as was the BBC, the Amstrad, the Sinclair, and the Osborne etc. Each was maybe "niche" but they made up the whole. My point is that the market was spread around different makers and OS's in those days before all that was killed by MS's monopoly practices and the devotion of MS fanbois at the time (they queued for days for Win 95).

AC wrote :- "What would you do, get a 486 running Windows 3.1 for a few hundred quid or spend the requisite £10k for the vastly superior Solaris workstation."

Straw man, because you are again ignoring the other cheap alternatives which did exist. A little earlier than that, I opted for an Amstrad with CP/M at home - quite a lot cheaper than a 286 PC with MSDos, which you guys keep arguing was the only cheap option at the time. At work we had a DEC PDP11; we thought IBM PCs were for the pussies in the finance department.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "the company's audacious early goal of putting a PC into every home came to fruition"

It 'just worked'? You obviously never had the joys of editing config.sys and autoexec.bat, struggling with arcane incantations to put certain drivers into the 'high memory area' so enough 'real memory' remained for DOS apps, fiddling with IRQ assignments to get your Soundblaster card to work, the CD driver to load, the extended memory service (or was it expanded.. hmm...). It was complete and utter bollocks.

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