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back to article Stallman: Jobs exerted 'malign influence' on computing

Veteran free software firebrand Richard Stallman has upset the apple cart by speaking out against the international canonisation of Steve Jobs Citing 1980s Chicago Mayor Harold Washington talking about a one-time rival, GPL licence author Richard Stallman reckons while he's not glad Jobs is dead, he is glad Jobs is gone. …

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FAIL

Walled Gardens?

If he thinks Apple invented walled wardens then he's on crack - what about Compuserve? AOL? MSN? Or even BBS dial-up in the (rally) bad old days?

Methinks the thing he most objects to is that the Apple walled garden is popular - because (as said above) the majority of people don't what complexity, don't want to have to recompile and (most especially) want simplicity delivered in a consistent and well-analysed way.

RS needs to realise that the vast majority of people don't share his libertarian, utopian dream. They just want to be able to download music, apps and films in an easy fashion. Or as the Romans used to say "panem et circenses"

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Crack?

If you think he thinks Apple invented walled gardens then you're on crack.

From the article: "Steve Jobs, the pioneer of the computer as a jail made cool"

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@launcap

AOL did have a walled garden approach to Internet Access however CompuServe gave you true internet access. and this was even after AOL bought it. Ever click on the internet button? If you did it launched IE. No sites or content were blocked.

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Not at first

"however CompuServe gave you true internet access."

Not for the first however-many years it existed, before the web.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Walled Gardens?

"If he thinks Apple invented walled wardens then he's on crack - what about Compuserve? AOL? MSN? Or even BBS dial-up in the (rally) bad old days?"

What about Apple eWorld? Ah, right: you probably weren't paying attention at the time, so it can't have happened, obviously.

You may not like the likes of Stallman "harshing your mellow", but even if you don't agree with the guy, at least he is there to remind people of history. Useful when the cool kids of today feel that they have nothing to learn and are inventing everything themselves.

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Happy

I'm glad he's gone

I agree with Stallman. His points about Jobs/Apple are the major reasons I despise Apple, at least as much as Sir Billy Bob/M$. While I believe Jobs is a nicer person than Billy Bob, both are ruthless business barons. Both capitalize on the ideas and work of others.

I'd have to flip a coin to decide which of these two I detest the most-it's a dead tie.

BTW, I have never used iTunes, iPad or iAnythingElse, and never will. I do not swear allegiance to anything or anybody: not BillyBob, Stevie, Stallman, Schmidt. No one means no one!

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How exactly do you run a business without capitalising on the work of others? I am confused, do businesses have a magic tree that fruits business ideas? Or do they simply rely on their stock of Unicorns to provide unlimited wishes to generate new business ideas etc?

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Paris Hilton

How exactly do you run a business without capitalising on the work of others? I am confused, do businesses have a magic tree that fruits business ideas? Or do they simply rely on their stock of Unicorns to provide unlimited wishes to generate new business ideas etc?

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JDX
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Stallman's borderline deranged

Serious tinfoil hat loon. Some of his principles are well and good, but where he goes with them is stupid. Not to mention that the moment he starts describing non-OSS as "evil"...

Not sure if her does more harm or good to OSS' cause these days. Seems to be edging more and more to become a Westboro-style caricature of himself.

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Childcatcher

Borderline

Stallman is dancing on the razor's edge of becoming one of the muttering homeless people in Cambridge.

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Silver badge

He always kind of reminded me more of Moses or John the Baptist than FP, what with his oft-unkept beard and his persistant zealotry.

For all that, though, I like the man. I don't agree with a lot of his ideas but at least he's trying to help people in what he believes is the best way he can.

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Anonymous Coward

I would suggest to Mr Stallman

Instead of spending his time writing about how the world would be better without Steve Jobs, he should actually go out and create such a world, one as successful - but free.

Truly free (not semi-"free") devices and software that the whole public wants to use (no I don't mean compilers for techs)

Surely if his idea of freedom is that good he'll have no problem in building and promoting it.

Go on Mr Stallman, prove SJ wrong.

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Happy

So what did Steve Jobs *give* to the world?

Obvious answer. Nothing.

You *paid* his company to *sell* it to you.

Now that Mac's run on intel processors the *only* actual difference between the guts of a PC and a Mac is the software. I'd suggest pretty much everything else is "styling." And we know how hard Apple's lawyers come down on *anyone* copying that.

So what is the premium for buying an Apple PC these days?

BTW Apple fanbois, you ought to note who *owns* a large chunk of Apple.

Did someone say "Microsoft"? Correct.

Any of you thinking Mr J was fighting the borg were somewhat mistaken. He was helping fund them.

Incidentally software operating through a Hardware Abstraction Layer to allow it to be moved across different processors has been around at least since the early 1990's, when IBM AS400's transitioned from a proprietary CISC to PowerPC architecture, usually resulting a 2 minute start in properly compiled custom apps (for the *first* run, all succeeding runs started with their normal start times).

Good machine, nice environment. People suggested at the time IBM should license the software like MS did. They did not. Better margins with closed hardware/software boxes.

Who uses it now?

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Facepalm

Kinda missing the point

Apple may have created a cult around Steve Jobs, but people had the choice to go into the walled garden that was created to meet the demands of the Movie/Music business, who are still obsessed with DRM protection.

The ‘sins’ of a cult invariable arise though the corruption of the faceless courtesans. Without the deity, the walled garden will slowly little-by-little turn into something that only serves the courtesans and their stock-options.

Sometime after his last will and testament is read, I expect Richard Stallman to lament what Steve Jobs could have given to the world but didn’t

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FAIL

RMS is hallucinating again

RMS quit being relevant when all the various UNIX vendors quit suing each other. His delusional statements are ridiculous in a free market. In his world, he'd prefer we all drop our trousers, bend over frontwards and open up to all and sundry.

I'm an Apple customer but not someone who will blindly defend 1 Infinite Loop but RMS just wanted to get his name on a carcass.

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FAIL

Fix required.

"Without external access, users of these online services must go through Apple's own software, which is tied to its own hardware – the iPhone and iPad."

The sense of this is incorrect, it should be written thus:

"Without external access, users of these online services must go through Apple's own software, to which is tied its own hardware – the iPhone and iPad."

iTunes and the iTMS were never tied to the iPod, rather it's the other way round. Anyone using MacOS or Windows can use iTunes and the iTMS.

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WTF?

Stallman misses the point

Apple pissed off many of the crappy developers because developers were held to a higher standard and couldn't release any old crap onto the iPhone. "It's a walled garden, our apps are being vetted, and we have to pay $99 a year to Apple, woe is me".

Here we go, thumbs down please!

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Anonymous Coward

About the article...

"Open source has had a complicated relationship with Jobs and Apple. Thanks to Microsoft's stumble on Windows Vista, Mac has surged as a developer platform."

Balls!

The reason Mac's have had a surge is that if you want to play in the iPhone App world that is the only platform you could use.

Everyone who uses and develops for Windows just avoided Vista as much as possible, skipping over it to Win7.

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Anonymous Coward

At least get it right!

"The open-source movement can only challenge this by coming up with compelling ideas that count rather than polemics."

Stallman isn't part of the open source movement as it defines itself, but rather the Free Software movement, so coming out with the tired "Where's the code, Richard?" and "Why can't you people in your bazaar deliver?" misses the mark pretty widely. Clue: RMS is all about advocating the famous "four freedoms", which are an especially compelling idea in this era of locked-down devices and "walled gardens".

But while "I want my shiny!" remains the mantra of the average consumer, they won't understand these notions, even buying the same stuff over and over when their device fails, their account is blocked, the iStore goes down or gets rebranded, they buy another shiny gadget, the content industry switches format (and so on), thinking that such poor treatment is simply a normal and natural part of modern life.

What is particularly sad is that many people even go as far as identifying with the corporations who gladly fleece them repeatedly, using such tired labels as "hippie" to distance themselves from anyone who bothers to think about things for even a moment, as if their favourite vendor is watching and such childish jeering will ingratiate themselves with their "patron" who would supposedly behave in such a way himself. Except that he's in his nice car or on his yacht and doesn't actually care about the average fanboy, or course.

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Four freedoms?

Freedom from soap

Freedom from water

Freedom from fitness

Freedom from tact

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Anonymous Coward

Having met RMS...

..."Freedom from tact" is quite correct. But then spending your life dealing with idiots (and I do count myself as an idiot) is probably a bit wearing.

"Freedom from fitness" is also correct. RMS should take better care of himself.

"Freedom from soap/water" are wrong, he's not from Glasgow. :-)

The are things about F/OSS that do my box in (some of the documentation is impenetrable or overly technical for the neophyte, but that just means they need help in cleaning it up). However, there are more benefits than downsides. Here are some:

1) I can log a bug easily. Every time I have tried to log a bug in proprietary software (and I have found some major ones) it has been a royal PITA. I have had to jump through hoops, find the "appointed person", find the contract details, blah, blah blah. F/OSS? Create an account, check and see if it's there already, raise (or add a comment). Job done.

2) I can fix it. If it's in a language I can read, I can sometimes figure out what's wrong and patch it. Or I can find the code fix on-line and patch it. As a programmer, this should not be surprising but I cannot fix the proprietary software (even if I decompile their code and track it to the break, I can't touch it).

3) I can find someone to fix it. Sometimes I can't fix the issue for whatever reason, but I can find someone who can. If the project itself is too busy, I can just hire whoever the hell I want to scratch my itch.

4) I can learn from it.

Obligatory car analogy: I cannot fix my car, this is down to a lack of skills/time/tools. But I can take my care to ANY COMPETENT PERSON and they can. This does not void my warranty or anything. I can even buy pattern parts if I want. IT should be the same. Freedom in the car market hasn't ruined anything.

And one final point. Why the bleeping-bleep do you have to take the front wheel of or disassemble half the bloody engine to change a headlight bulb? This should be a one-handed job. ONE-HANDED! Basic repairs at the road-side performed by a lay-person should be part of type approval.

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Flame

Freedom from the age of concent

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A 5th Freedom...

There is, however, a 5th freedom which Stallman has never really grokked which is far more important for a lot of people. And that's the freedom to get on with your life without worrying about how the damn technology is working.

Might not do for you, won't do for me, but its important to a lot of people...

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Anonymous Coward

@JimC

I would have thought a better fifth Freedom (Freedom 4 in rms speak) would be the freedom to chose whether to be constrained by the other freedoms or not.

I have no problem with rms' freedoms, it is just I don't agree that they should be forced on all and sundry just because rms decides he is right. Kind of summarised as you are free to chose anything you want, as long as you chose the option I want you to chose.

I am legally constrained from touching random ladies polite parts (by law, ASBO and restraining order, unfortunately). However I cannot (and should not) be punished for touching parts of a consenting lady who consents to said lady-part touchings.

Surely the freedom of choice is a much more important freedom than the ones rms peddles?

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Meh

Not only do I agree with Mr Srallman, I salute him for having the guts to say what he thought. There are far too few people like this. Also, just because people don't like his opinion doesn't make it any less valid (or more valid come to that).

So he doesn't dress it up to be kind. So what? At least you are in no doubt at all as to what he *really* thinks - unlike so many people.

Finally, I've noticed that many of his concerns either have turned into unpleasant facts or seem to be close to it. Maybe that's what the media wonks (in particular) don't want us to hear.

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Headmaster

Yay!!!!

He's right on the money. What's disturbing about the canoization of Jobs is that Apple's marketing machine seems to be able to use Job's untimely death to push their products.

What Jobs did which does deserve praise is that he took the 'bleedin' obvious' and made it corporate police. Somehow the suits always manage to screw up things -- they very nearly took down Apple itself -- because they think that the user should adapt to their product rather than their products adapting to the user. Jobs's success isn't technical innovation but understanding that what users want is just stuff that works.

You only have to compare an iPad with a tablet running XP for Tablets to get the idea. There's also MP3 players; simple things but its amazing how many different ways companies like Creative could screw their design up.

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That's right...

and it only goes to show one of Job's greatest accomplishments, the MOST DIFFICULT PART of software/product development: getting customer requirements right. If you've ever developed any customer-facing software, you know what I'm talking about.

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Sorry Stallman, results beat ideology.

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Happy

Good ol' Stallman

Always "le mot juste" to make himself look reasonable and worth listening to.

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EWI
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Please...

"And like the chief of any other such company, he used the products his company produced plus a healthy does of hardball to give consumers what he thought they wanted"

Jobs famously didn't care tuppence for what users wanted, unlike the everything-to-all-men PC cloners.

"His business model was built on closed hardware and software, and when Jobs championed the open web, he did so in a way that reinforced Apple's control over its share of the internet – as was done during Jobs' boosting of HTML5 over Adobe's Flash."

Right. Black is white, and an open standard like HTML5 is somehow evil in comparison to closed, proprietary Flash.

Well, don, El Reg...

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FAIL

Please indeed.

"Right. Black is white, and an open standard like HTML5 is somehow evil in comparison to closed, proprietary Flash."

Have you looked at the process with which the 'open standard' HTML5 is developed lately? The WG's leading people don't give a tuppence either - whops, that's Google, Apple, ...

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LDS
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Devil

"The Apple Network"

Where Microsoft failed ("The Microsoft Network") Apple succeded, and is going to create a de-facto "Apple Network" where it controls the contents.

Apple understood what poisoned apple it has to use to lure users into its network (the users' own ego), while MS did try with its size only.

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Anonymous Coward

Are they?

So is that why they took on development of a standards-based Webkit and make web browsing so central in the tablet experience?

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Joke

There's probably meat for one of those jokes...

Heaven is where Jobs does the inspiration and Stallman does the coding

Hell is where Stallman does the inspiration and Jobs does the coding

feel free to add others - Microsoft doing the bug fixing perhaps, or Larry Ellison setting the pricing...

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>> BTW Apple fanbois, you ought to note who *owns* a large chunk of Apple.

>> Did someone say "Microsoft"? Correct.

You need to check your facts.

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Just because he is dead does not mean someones opinion should only include "good things".

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It also doesn't give you free reign to be an arsehole.

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Anonymous Coward

Stallman

It's funny . . . I was just renegotiating a vendor contract with a large, three-initial corporation (no, the other one), whose business model amounts to nickel-and-dime charges for every little feature (granted, where the nickels and dimes are in fives and tens of thousands of dollars), and I thought, if we'd gone free/open source with this solution, we'd have a number of different, roughly-compatible options. Instead, we're stuck with TIC and their lock-in, unless we want to bring in a forklift.

Stallman's genius was (and is) in recognizing the price we pay for closed software (and closed vendor solutions in general). Apple is a relatively tiny part of that problem overall, but they certainly manifest the worst qualities of it and in the most public way. I'm glad that Stallman has the balls to stand up in public in a timely manner and highlight the dangers of the Apple approach.

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Facepalm

Some of Stallman's achievements have been very important, world changing, liberating.

But he can be a complete arse sometimes.

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Anonymous Coward

Someone at least has the courage to tell it like it IS. Stallman is a guy I need to look up, I like him.

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Bronze badge

A Disgo 6000 for that binman.

Why shove most of your money under Apple's ever growing mattress?

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Get real RMS

Perhaps Apple is a walled garden and Jobs was a dickhead but at least they/he got stuff done.

If RMS had his way we'd all be using Hurd... or to be more precise, waiting to use Hurd because it is still not a practical solution after years of posturing.

Sure RMS has added quite a lot of value to software development, but so have others. Just attacking others because they don't drink your flavour KoolAid is not productive.

For the record, I am an OSS developer, but I have also worked for Apple and other closed source shops.

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Flame

>>they/he got stuff done.

Emacs

GDB

GCC

I hear some of those will run on OSX..

>>Sure RMS has added quite a lot of value to software development,

Without GNU OSX basically wouldn't exist.

>Just attacking others because they don't drink your flavour KoolAid

There are plenty of people that have done more for computing than Jobs did;

Chuck Peddle

Robert H. Dennard

etc etc

RMS' main point is while Jobs may have been an amazing salesman selling computers to the middle class he did very little to advance computing or technology. To quote Jack Tramiel he "made computers for the classes". His passing is sad for his family but it isn't a great loss for the rest of us. Jobs' passing is certainly not the end of consumer-grade family-friendly computing. I'm sure Stephen Fry etc will feel like things will never be the same again.. but I'm pretty sure things will continue as they did before; Massive R&D departments at Intel, Samsung etc making real discoveries and someone else will come combine them into a shiny product and claim to have thought of the whole thing while taking a shit.

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Flame

Y'know, I was just about to say something about Hurd

Have you ever tried to use it? Its atrocious. It makes Windows 3.1 seem like a dream. I managed to Kernel Panic Hurd in 12 seconds once. With a very simple attack that no other Kernel would panic or crash under, not even Amiga.

I really wish someone with some sense, like Linus or even Bill Gates, would tell Stallman to shut the fuck up and show some damn respect, Steve Jobs just died for Krishnassake.

I use Linux, I use Windows. I dont use OS X because I dont like hardware lock in, otherwise I like the idea that there is a Unix desktop which actually works without having to be constantly fucked with like Linux. I didnt really admire Steve Jobs because he just seemed like a guy who could read the market and then be a dick about it, but I respected him for his insight, and not begrudgingly like I respect Larry Ellison.

But then again respect in the GNU community isnt exactly their strong point.

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Flame

>>I managed to Kernel Panic Hurd in 12 seconds once.

Has anyone said that Hurd is production ready? No one is forcing you to use it either..

>> not even Amiga.

Evidence that you know nothing about what you're talking about. Amiga OS has no memory protection. You don't need an "exploit" to crash the system.

>> tell Stallman to shut the fuck up and show some damn respect,

How about you shut the fuck up and show some respect? Stallman has done more for mankind than you could ever hope to.

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Who cares?

Another fat old geek crying over his Unix terminal because computers don't make him "special" anymore. Another person who thinks fascism means doing something HE hates.

Too damn bad. maybe if his glorious "free software" movement made computers and devices non technical people actually wanted to USE it might be different.

Steve Jobs gave computers to people who are NOT like us. He gave computing to everyone in ways the Microsoft only dreamed about.

In the 1920's Stallman would have complained about manufactured radios because people didn't build their own anymore. I've said it before and I'll say it again, home computing is not about US! "If you are here reading this you know who I mean by us" Not anymore anyway, and it never will be again. Its about the home user, the person who cannot toss a box together, the person who cannot install an OS, and often does not even know what an OS is. The person who wants to use the computer the way they use the TV. They are not remotely interested in HOW it works, simply that it does. And if having to learn how it works is required to use it they will shop elsewhere. they don't care if its "open" they don't know what open means.

And people like Stallman are NOT going to be the ones to give them what they want. People who are computer competent don't see end user requirements. He will never understand why Apple sells, and sells, and sells. Because they don't understand the relationship the general public has with their computers. Computing is a big enough part of their lives that they can't imagine that to 90% of the world its not a machine, its the mystery box that puts them online.

How many of you can put a transmission in your car? How many of you know how your fuel injectors work? You buy cars with less repairablity and upgradeabilty than any Mac, and if someone asked most of you if you knew how to work on your car you would turn your nose up and say "I take it in, I haven't time for that". I do my own car repair, and I see drivers who don't know how their car works the same way many of you see Mac users.

But not one in 100 of you would consider buying a car you had to service or repair yourself, a car that needed virtually daily service, but you can't see why people feel the same way about their computers.

These people, the non geek people are the market, and the more of them there are the more marginalized we are going to be. We are not where the money is anymore, and the people in charge don't care at all about what you want. They care about the sustainable market. In 1985 that was us, now it's your neighbor, the one who wants you to fix his PC six times a month. They are the future and they have no interest in the freedom to do anything they want, on a computer they do not know how to use or understand.

And that is the Secret of "Bad Ol Steve" and the Multi-Billion dollar Apple machine. No real malevolence, no evil planning, just making a simple thing simpler so the normal people can use it. That's all.

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Joke

Point taken, but...

"But not one in 100 of you would consider buying a car you had to service or repair yourself, a car that needed virtually daily service,..."

Have you driven a Ford lately?

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FAIL

Gates slipped because his company targeted the enterprise instead of the consumer

Utter tosh.

Gates slipped because Windows Tablets sucked major balls. Even the corporate types who bought in to the idea ended up just flipping the screen around and using their tablet solely as a notebook.

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He just stuffed an operating system build for the desktop onto a tablet and hoped for the best. The Windows XP/Vista tablets were utterly horrible to use. Apple didn't invent the tablet, but they realised that tablets need a tablet operating system, as in an operating system built from the ground up to interface with the user through a touch screen, not a desktop operating system with multitouch bolted on.

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