Re: Gates and Ballmer
1) Mid to late 1970s: Gates got a friend to Port "free" Dartmouth Basic and flogged it as MS BASIC to CP/M users. Launched them.
2) Early 1980s: Bought an 8088 / 8086 rip off of CP/M and licensed it to IBM. Secured them for nearly 10 years.
3) Late 1980s to Early 1990s: Hijacked IBM OS/2 by being partner. Integrated LAN Manager to sell it as a server OS (MS OS/2 1989 after they fell out with IBM). Created Windows as a Shell on DOS copying the best ideas of Apple Lisa, Xerox Star, Digital Research Gem and IBM Presentation Manager (the Windows bit of OS/2).
4) Rebuilt MS OS/2 with some ideas from VMS (ironically a great security Model and NTFS with "Streams" because both rarely used by MS or 3rd party applications). Integrated WFWG 3.11 32bit TCP/IP and Program Manager + File Manager as NT 3.1 (This why Windows 8, really NT 6.3 approx starts as NT3.1)
5) Nearly kills embronic NT Workstation (NT Server OK) by the Evil Shell Makeover for Game Playing based on WFWG 3.11 called Win95 (no USB in 1st version, by 1994 WFWG has 32bit Disk manager, 32 bit TCP/IP and Win32s to run NT applications as well as working Multimedia). Win95 DirectX is a departure from Win API and excellent NT OpenGL really to allow easy porting of DOS Games. NT gets DirectX with NT 4.0 and no OpenGL on Win95. Win95 has 5 further versions, the Win98SE the best and Win ME the worst. Win95 success kills OS/2 Warp, but IBM mainframe people doing their best to make OS/2 a failure anyway.
6) Belatedly discover Internet after everyone else and make horribly incompatible Browsers even though based on Mosaic..
7) Dominate Office Apps, Internet Browser and Desktop. So give us the Rubbish of IE 6 then of Ribbon and Vista. Have cheek to charge for Vista fix pack as Win7.