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well, microsoft was the first software company where
we wrote software for personal computers and we believe that we could hire the best engineers
there was a unbelievable amount of software to be written
and we could do it well we could do it on a global basis
and... the original customer base was the hardware manufacturers
and we sold to literally hundreds and hundreds you know... over a hundred companies in japan
and over a hundred companies doing word processors and industrial control type of things
we know in the long run we wanted to sell software directly to users
but we actually didn't get around that till nineteen eighty
when we had uh... our first sort of games and productivity software that
that people would go to a computer store in actually buy the the software package
we actually talked about it in an article
and i think nineteen seventy seven was the first time it appears in print
where we say a computer on it on every desk and every home
and actually the
we said running microsoft software
if we were just talking about the vision we'd leave
that those last three words out
uh... if we were
talking in an internal company discussion
we put those words in
it's very hard to recall
how crazy and wild that was you know on every desk and in every home
you know at the time you have
people who are very smart saying
you know why would somebody needed computer or even Ken Olsen
who would run this company digital equipment
who made the computer i grew up with
and you know that we admired
both him and his company immensely
was saying that
this seemed kinda a silly idea
that people would want to have a computer
saw that we had written software for all the personal computers
they came to us sought our advice on the design
but we said you should put the discant
and since they wanted to ship very quickly
another company
called digital research
had done that work
for the eight bit machines
and they were starting to do a version for this new these new sixteen machines
we commenced by the end of the sixteen bit machine
using this
eighty eighty six eighty d eight processor. Well Digital Research
really hadn't finished the work
and then IBM was getting frustrated because Digital Research
wouldn't sign even a non-disclosure agreement
and then some of us uh... particularly Paul
and uh...
key person named Kozhikode Nishi
was from japan worked with us
said no no no we should just do that ourselves
and because of a quick timing
we end up liscensing the original code from another company
and turned that into MS-DOS
so then
subsequently MS-DOS competed with
this Digital Research CP/M
uh... after about two or three years and MS-DOS
became far far more popular
uh... then
than CP/M and then eventually we would
take an add
graphics capability on top of MS-DOS
and then integrate the two together
and so today when we talk about Windows
it actually includes
all those MS-DOS things in it. that's the full operating system
although most of you think of the graphics in Windows and stuff there's a lot of
more classic operating system capability that that's built in there
the IBM initial deal is a flat fee deal uh... another flat the deal
it had certain restrictions
that prevented IBM
from selling to other hardware makers
so people did
IBM PC compatible machines
we would get the revenue by doing business directly with those people
and that the deal was very complicated but it was a deal that
Steve Balmer who's a key person of the company by that time
and i thought a lot about
and it was a fairly
junior team from IBM so we tried to make sure they're giving our belief that
personal computers would be hyper popular
that microsoft would get
a lot of that upside so
they felt they got a very good deal, which they did
as the industry expanded
we uh...
for new versions and for different machines, we got that opportunity even
though they did not pay us the royalty
even in the early days if you set a computer on every desk in every home and
you'd say okay how many homes are there on the world how many desk are there on the world
you know can i make twenty bucks for every home, twenty bucks for every desk
if you get these big numbers
but part of the beauty of the
whole thing was
we were very focused on the here and now
should we hire one more person
if our customers
didn't pay us
whould we have enough cash to meet the payroll
we really were very practical about
that next thing and so involved in
the deep engineering
that we didn't get ahead of ourselves we never thought
you know how big we'd be. i remember
when uh... one of the early lists of wealthy people came out
uh... one of the Intel founders was there
the guy who ran Wayne
computer actually is still
Wayne is still doing well and we thought hmm... boy, the software business does
in fact, microsoft could be
somewhere to that, but it wasn't real focus that
that everyday activity of
just doing great software
drew us in
and some decisions we made, like the quality of the people, the way we were very global
that vision of
uh... how we thought about software that was very long term
but other than those things you know we just came in to work every day
wrote more code
you know hired
hired more people
it wasn't really until the IBM PC
succeeded and perhaps even into Windows succeeded that
there was a broad awareness that microsoft
was very unique
as a software company that these other companies have been one product
people couldn't do a broad set of things, didn't renew their excellence, didn't do
uh... so
and we thought we were
doing something very unique, but it was easily
not until nineteen ninety five or even nineteen ninety-seven that
that there was this wide recognition that we
we were the company that had
had revolutionized software
when i was very young
hadn't been exposed to computers, so i was mostly just reading,
doing math, learning about science
and i wasn't sure what
my career would be
i knew i loved
learning about things, i was an avid reader
but it was when i was twelve years old that i
i first got to use a computer
actually a very
limited machine by today's standards uh... but that
definitely fascinated me when i was first exposed
i was intrigued
uh... by figuring out what it could do and what it couldn't do
and some friends and I spent
lots of time uh... the teachers got intimidated, so we were on our own
trying to figure it out actually we gave
course on computers
uh... to the other students
and it became
you know a fascination where
uh... we
got paid for doing computer work and
talked about forming a accompany
uh... but
there was kind of a magical breakthrough when the computer
uh... cheap
we could see that
everyone could afford a computer
uh... that was
much later
uh... but it
uh... that's what got us to
really get together and create company for software
yeah, math was the thing that uh... came most natural to me
you know you take these
exams some of which were sort of nationwide exams and
uh... i did quite well almost
and that gave me some confidence and i had some
teachers who were very encouraging
uh... they
let me read text books, they encourage me to take
uh... college course on
symbolic math which is actually called
so i i felt
pretty confident in my math skills, which is a nice thing because
uh... not only the sciences but economics a lot of things
if you're
uh... with math and statistics and
ways of looking at cause-and-effect
uh... that's extremely helpful
computers were immensely
uh... and cost millions of dollars a machine that
was far less powerful then
then what you have a
a cell phone
today and so that
either you
have a very
important application
or you just share the machine with other people and still you had to pay quite a
bit of money
and so time-sharing is where you connected up and sharing the machine
it's a lot better then
sending your programs in and because you can see
when you make a mistake
uh... pretty quickly
even so because they charge is so much
we'd actually typed the programs
offline on a paper tape
uh... so that we didn't
have any delay for typing
and then when we got onto the computer we'd feed in that tape
uh... so that
there was less less time online
but it gave you a sense of look at what you got right and wrong and you could try
and correct things
uh... we also
because of that time the dominant form of computing was using punch cards
we actually did that quite a bit when we're down
at the university of washington and use some of those
punch card systems
as computers became less expensive so-called mini computers
then more people had access mostly scientists and business people
but also we
managed to find
machines that weren't being used at night. the idea of the machine is something
that an individual would use and that would just sit there idle when they
weren't using them
that only made sense about a decade later
when the work that we and others have done
had gotten the price down so dramatically
that the idea of a computer sitting idle, you know, doesn't feel like some huge waste of
it did when they were
so uh...
expensive and rare
i went through several phases of doing more complex programs
where people who were great programmers would look at my work give me feedback on it
you get to your
you can be quite a good programmer
and it was kind of a such a
uh... intense activity
between the age of thirteen and seventeen
uh... that
you know we learned a lot
uh... eventually one of the
programs that we took on was
the idea of the scheduling of
uh... of our school. when should the classes meet, who should be in what sections
there are all these requests
for people who want different classes and
keeping them small and not having the teachers teach too many
classes in a row
very complex kind of software problem
and actually when the school first asked me to do it
uh... when i was fifteen
i said that i i didn't know how
and they ask some adults to do it, that
didn't work
and many
about a year later i'd figured out how to do it
and so my friends and i actually did the software
that did all this high school scheduling uh... it had some fantastic
uh... benefits to us
we got paid for doing it
it was exactly the kind of complex problem that
now develop my skills very well
and you know we got
some degree of
control over
who is in our classes and
so you know it combined the best of everything
well my parents have been
my whole student career. I mean, getting me to go lakeside
uh... that
my senior at lakeside where I wanted to take time off and do this job at TRW
they've been very supportive about letting me live down in vancouver
I challenged them a little bit
when some of the
my coworkers from TRW they said I should skip undergraduate school just go to graduate school
and they were not enthusiastic about that
it looked like I
would have an opportunity to do that, but i didn't i
i'd just went to harvard
and that was another case where they were right. that you know socially being with
other undergraduates was good
i got to take graduate courses up at MIT
and i did that to a limited degree. so i i kind of had the best of both worlds anyway
when it came time to
uh... go on leave
from harvard
the policies of the school about if you're gone
letting you come back were
incredibly generous
and so
if the enterprise had failed
and i would have been back. So my parents
were a little surprised
and kind of
wondering what I've meant
uh... but they were pretty supportive
and in fact when we got into this legal dispute
you know my dad gave me good advice he was very
supportive on on that
and so we saw that through
you know that is the company became successful a
you know i hope they felt better about it
you know, the really bad case was if I
if I stayed
and the company was kind of mediocrely successful that fail would
be okay if it
was a big success it would be okay. and you know they could see i was
very energized and
i thought
you know, we needed to get in at the very beginning and not waste a year or two
which is what i have left of my
uh... undergraduate course requirements
well i think the american dream is this kind of a global dream now that
young people
can come up with new ideas and
and create
companies that make a contribution, not just jobs that whatever their
innovations that they bring about
you know, capitalism is this unbelievable open system that if you combine it with
uh... good infrastructure, good education
their creativity
that we find
uh... for people who've had that those chances
it's always going to surprise us, it's always going to come up with new seeds
new medicines, new software
new movies, you know things that are
are making the world a better place
was at the center of the personal computer revolution in particularly
the creation of a software market we went out to lots of companies and
encourage them to write software
for different applications, mundane applications
wild applications
that idea that
you would encourage people to be creative and build software, and there will be a whole
industry around that
uh... microsoft we did that, no one else did
and so we got that going
and that's led now to where you have all these great choices and it just keeps
getting better and better, and it's because of the following the machines out there
it can be sold very very inexpensively, so that
whole bootstrap getting the industry going
making it personal, making every kinds of software that's what we were the most
proud of
the foundation are started uh...
in the late nineties with my dad encouraging me
uh... and an executive named Patty Stonesifer
uh... left microsoft
we're helping out while I was still
very busy
our kids were
uh... very young
uh... but we got going
put computers in libraries, in many different countries including the united states
we did some scholarship things
we were learning about
reproductive health and and population issues
and that kept growing
and we met people
who knew about vaccines and
a part-time thing
a global health was a bit over half
uh... the US focused uh... library scholarship education work was over a quarter
uh... that there was a final piece
relates to other things
to help the poorest other than just health
uh... things things like
finance and savings
and you know it grew
then i saw that
uh... i could make
an unique contribution there and created a transition plan uh... that was
four years in the making
and so now I'm full-time at the fundation
playing a role of
being the chairman and
traveling a lot. so it's you know, it's equally challenging, it's very fulfilling
it's taking this these resources that I'm lucky enough to have because of the
success of microsoft
and giving those back to the society
in a way that can have the biggest impact
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Exclusive interview of Bill Gates - co-founder & chairman of microsoft

13149 Folder Collection
VoiceTube published on May 11, 2013    Joanne Tu translated    James reviewed
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