Practical Technology

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Good-Bye Mr. Gates


It was appropriate that Bill Gates’ last major public speech was not to the masses, but to developers at Microsoft’s TechEd conference. We often forget that the billionaire great white shark of the technology business started as a geek.

Indeed, for those of us who have known him for many years, at heart Bill Gates is still a geek. He dresses better than the traditional stereotype and Lord knows he knows more about running a business and stomping on the competition than any three other technology CEOs put together — Steve Jobs of Apple and Larry Ellison of Oracle excepted. But, in his heart of hearts I believe he’s still be more comfortable talking code with other developers than boasting about how much better Windows (fill-in-the-blank) is over its competitors to Microsoft fans.

So, it was only appropriate that instead of talking about Windows Seven, he spent his last minutes as a Microsoft keynote speaker talking about Project Oslo, a new SOA (service-oriented architecture) application development platform and touch-screen technologies. Of course, if all Gates had had was his developer skills, we never would have heard of him. Gates was an OK, but by no means, great programmer.

For all that he was a developer at heart; it was his “take no prisoners” business mind that made Microsoft number one.

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