Bill Gates Interview from 1993

Posted on June 19, 2006  Comments (1)

Bill Gates Interview by David Allison, Smithsonian Institution, 1993. For those interested in the early development of the personal computer and Microsoft this is an interesting interview. Bill Gates:

There were a lot of mis-steps in the early days, but because we got in early we got to make more mistakes than other people. I had customers who went bankrupt and didn’t pay us. Customers who we spent a lot of time with who never built microcomputer-based machines.

There was another interpretive language called FOCAL that we’d written a version of for the 8080 and 6502. Having two interpretive languages like that was not a good approach. That was a dead-end project. Everything else, COBOL, FORTRAN, the way we selected the various chips…
Multiplan, targeting the 8-bit machines instead of just relying on the next generation to come, the IBM PC generation, that was a huge error. When we talk about, “Are we aiming too low, in terms of system requirements, we often think, is this another case like Multiplan?” Because it was a great product, but it was the basic strategy that was wrong. And, in fact, to some degree that allowed me to make one of the best decisions I ever did, which was later, when we had to compete with 1-2-3. There was a question of whether to do it in the character-mode environment, or whether to move up to the next generation, which was graphical. And we said, “Okay, we’ll let them dominate the DOS-character world. We are going after Mac and Windows. We are going to be a generation ahead.” And that worked out very well. Multiplan was certainly an experience that was helpful there.

One Response to “Bill Gates Interview from 1993”

  1. CuriousCat: Solving the Toughest Problems in Computer Science
    January 12th, 2009 @ 8:38 am

    computer science is merging with and making over such fields as astronomy and biology, by unifying vast, unwieldy data collections into easily navigable libraries…

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