Bill Gates reminisces about Microsoft
Bill Gates bid an emotional farewell to Microsoft on Friday, the company he co-founded in 1975. Here are some of his quotes, filed by Reuters reporter Daisuke Wakabayashi, who was at the event at the software giant’s leafy Redmond, Washington, campus.
Gates on starting Microsoft:
Microsoft is one of the few companies you can say it just started with a dream. A dream that software would be important. A dream that there would be a computer that was affordable on a personal level. That’s a dream that Paul Allen and I had, which at the time seemed very crazy.
Gates on IBM:
Our relationship with IBM was one of the defining things in this company. We were their partner. At some point, they chose not to have us quite as much of their partner. They went off with OS/2 and we were left with good old Windows. Sure enough, the David vs. Goliath story came out with the right ending.
Gates on growing the business:
I remember Steve (Ballmer) and I stayed up late at night wondering if any software company, whether it was Microsoft or anyone else, would ever get to a billion in sales. That is a big number!
I love that kind of thing where people are underestimating Microsoft. They don’t realize the vibrancy. Yes, we make mistakes and we know it, but we come back and learn from those things. A lot of our best work is the result of that.
One of the newspapers had an e-mail that I sent about how maybe Windows could have been better at something. And they said, ‘this is a shocking piece of e-mail. Shocking.’ And I said ‘What do you think I do all day?’ Sending e-mail like that IS my job.
Gates on leaving Microsoft:
For me, this will be a big change. For 33 years, I’ve essentially had the same job.
Some days, I’m so used to coming in to Microsoft. Even if I have the kids in the car and I am supposed to take them to school, I forget and if I start thinking about work a little bit, I start driving toward Microsoft. They say to me, ‘Dad, what are we going to do at Microsoft?’ So I get back on course.
I am sure there will some day next month where I start thinking about software and I will start driving here to Microsoft, go up to the fifth floor and walk down to my office and they will be remodeling it. In fact, they were wondering if I was leaving at 4 or 5 today, so they could get started on that.
(Photo of the “Albuquerque Group”, the original 11 members of Microsoft who worked at the company in Albuquerque, New Mexico before it relocated to Washington state. Dec. 7, 1978. Source: Microsoft.com)