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Gates: How Microsoft's Mogul Reinvented an Industry--and Made Himself the Richest Man in America [Paperback]

Stephen Manes , Paul Andrews
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Jan. 21 1994
Gates reveals the guiding genius behind the unparalleled success of the Microsoft Corporation-- the biggest and most profitable personal computer software company in history-- and exposes the intensely competitive tactics that help it dominate the desktops of America. Chairman and co-founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates is the most powerful person in the computer industry and the youngest self-made billionaire in history. His company's DOS and Windows programs are such universal standards that more than nine out of ten personal computers depend on Microsoft software. Under the "Microsoft Everywhere" rallying cry, Gates intends to expand his company's worldwide dominance to office equipment, communications, and home entertainment. Vivid and definitive, Gates details the behind the scenes history of the personal computer industry and its movers and shakers, from Apple to IBM, from Steve Jobs to Ross Perot. Uncovering the inside stories of the bitter battle for control of the expanding personal computing market, Gates is a bracing, comprehensive portrait of the industry, the company, and the man-- and what they mean for a future where software is everything.

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From Publishers Weekly

According to this "independent" biography, the computer whiz kid, Harvard dropout, youngest self-made billionaire ever William Henry "Bill" Gates III (b. 1955) has dominated the immense, dramatic story of America's electronic revolution. Manes, a former columnist for PC/computing magazine, and Seattle Times high-tech reporter Andrews combine authoritative discussions of technology with a clear and entertaining prose style. They explain how Gates and his partner commercialized computer software back in 1975; today, as cofounder and chairman of the Seattle-based Microsoft Corp., Gates supplies a multibillion-dollar world market with the leading software programs. Most interesting is the glimpse of the turbulent 20-year history of the computer industry--geometrically expanding invention; products that prove incompatible or instantly obsolete; controversy; deception; promotional hype; all-or-nothing gambles; and cooperation, competition and high-stakes litigation. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Because the life of Bill Gates is indistinguishable from the history of the Microsoft Corporation he created in 1975, this is as much an industrial history as a biography of a "smart guy" whose work impacts everyone who works with a microcomputer. Writer/programmer Manes and Andrews, a columnist for the Seattle Times , provide refreshing disclosures on the source of their information and reveal the close cooperation of both Gates and other corporate insiders. Rich with detail, this book is thorough and not always laudatory of Gates. Much has been written on Gates, and most libraries owning James Wallace and Jim Erickson's Hard Drive ( LJ 6/1/92) will find that to be sufficient. Business libraries should acquire both titles.
- Joseph Barth, U.S. Military Acad. Lib., West Point, N.Y.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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William Henry Gates was born October 28, 1955, in Seattle's Swedish Hospital. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great history of PC computing Feb. 2 2003
I bought this book expecting to skim through it to find out a little more about what Bill Gates was like. But it's a wonderfully readable history of the growth of PC's, from the early days when the best a school kid (Bill himself) could do was to try to get access to a teletype time-share system, on through the first home "computers" that amounted to little more than a bunch of switches and LEDs (no keyboard or monitor), to IBM coming out with the PC and Microsoft's amazing good fortune at supplying the OS (great story! Bill just cared about programming languages, mostly BASIC, and saw the DOS manuever mostly just as a way to ensure that BASIC would run on the new IBM machine!), on thru the OS/2 vs. Windows battles.
It even has a lot of inside detail on the development of the Apple Macintosh. I recently read "Accidental Empires" (the basis for the TV documentary "Triumph of the Nerds"), and found Gates to be a far better and more readable history of the PC's startup.
The book is packed with interviews and amusing or interesting anecdotes. It's well written and well edited. One drawback for some people will be that it hasn't been updated since 1995, but for the two main things that have happened since then - the anti-trust suit against Microsoft and the rise of the Internet - there are plenty of other sources.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars In-depth look at MSFT May 8 2000
This is an in-depth account of Microsoft's "early" (i.e., pre-1995) days. First, let me say that I wish the authors had updated the book, since the computer business has gotten VERY fascinating since the launch of Windows 95, as the Internet seized the day and also as an intrusive DOJ started an effort to dismantle a 20-year-old company that had suddenly become America's Public Enemy No. 1.
That said, this book provides excellent accounts of Bill Gates as a person and Bill Gates as Microsoft. The emphasis is on how Bill Gates ran Microsoft as a business, how he interfacted with his employees, business allies and competitors. If you are looking for information on how Windows 3.0 or Flight Simulator was designed, this is not the place. But if you want to know how Microsoft really got started, how Gates allegedly "screwed" Apple, or how Gates started dating Melinda French, you'll find it right here.
Stephen Manes has been a long-time critic of Microsoft's producty quality (and rightly so, IMHO), and the book comes across as quite critical of Gates' business tactics ("bullying", "anti-competitive", etc.) and personal idiosyncracies (both selfish and selfless, intolerant, etc.). At the same time the authors show admiration for the Gator as a technical and business genius. But because the authors evidently believe that Microsoft has done lots of evil, every conflict Microsoft had with a competitor would be Microsoft's fault.
In summary, this book is easy to read, generally objective (Gates was interviewed extensive for this "unauthorized" biography), and informative. I highly recommend it to anyone fascinated by Bill Gates and Microsoft.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The breadth of knowledge imparted by the authors for this book is exhaustive and expansive. Bill Gates became a billionaire when being a billionaire "meant something" and when becoming one was a major media event. Now paper billionaires and multimillionaires are so numerous, that crossing such a financial milestone has become rather passe'. Thanks to the quality content of GATES, the reader will become, if he or she is not already, quite competent in the language and the business of software (up until 1994 anyway). And the reader will also have an intimate look at the fascinating professional and personal life of the man responsible for creating the commerce of software, which is currently more than a $220 billion industry. Part scientist part ruthless businessman, Bill Gates is this generation's Henry Ford and Thomas Edison rolled into one. Some people may consider Gates more like a John D. Rockefeller than a Thomas Edison...but love 'em or hate 'em, you can't ignore him. This book is be a must-read for any aspiring or current entrepreneur.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Favorite Account of The Early Gates Feb. 6 2000
I am on my fourth copy of this book, my favorite among six accounts of Bill Gates and Microsoft. When confronted by young professionals who know only today's politically correct and somewhat unfavorable characterization of Microsoft's founder, I press this book upon them and urge them to dig a bit deeper into this fascinating personality.
Other newer books of course are more complete in chronicling the growth of Microsoft, but none covers Gates' boyhood and early Microsoft years so well. You do not know Gates or Microsoft unless you know what both were like during the first years of Microsoft's existence in Albuquerque from 1975 until the relocation to the Seattle area in late 1978.
After reading this book I felt I understood the essential Bill Gates. He never is going to quite grow up, and he is always going to be a bit of a mystery to those who did not become forever fascinated with computers by age thirteen.
If you are not a Gates fan now, you may like Bill Gates (privileged son of accomplished but non-technical parents, congressional page, avid water skier, college poker player) a bit more after reading this. If you are an aging hacker like me, you will smile many times at the accounts of Bill's early fascination with a timesharing computer terminal and his amazing success following on Microsoft's original products, adaptations of the Basic computer language for microcomputers beginning with the Altair.
I guess you will have to be a techie to love this book as much as I do, but it is at least essential reading for all students of the history of computer technology. Check the index and almost all of the early pioneers are there, from Altair's Roberts to Xerox's Metcalfe. And the photos are great!
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A Detailed History in the Making of a Monoply...
I won't get wordy here but I read this book twice and enjoyed it both times. It goes into the life of Bill Gates; his thought process, his work ethics, his childhood and how... Read more
Published on June 3 2003 by darkguardian2
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting account of Bill and the evolution of the PC
This very readable book provides a candid overview of the rise of Bill Gates and Microsoft. I found it interesting and insightful. Read more
Published on Nov. 17 2002 by sir_isaac_newton
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Gates Biography Around
I first read "Gates" back in 1993. Many books about Bill Gates have been written since. But "Gates" by Stephen Manes and Paul Andrews is still by far the best... Read more
Published on Oct. 23 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars Honest, complete, precise, easy to read even for a French
When, coming from UNIX, I decided to explore the PC platform in Jan 95, I was first an "ABM" (Anything But Microsoft), thus following the buzz. Read more
Published on June 22 2001 by Michel Merlin
4.0 out of 5 stars For any Gates fans, don't miss this book
This book tell about Gates and his company quite detail. Any Gates's fans surely can trace how Gates built his company from zero to the top,step by step quite completely, through... Read more
Published on June 18 2000 by Edward
3.0 out of 5 stars A Good Read
The book was well written, informative and unbiased. However, it had too many characters and too many jumps across the space time continuum. Read more
Published on Aug. 23 1999 by Ronald Matten
5.0 out of 5 stars The most informative Bill Gates book out there!
This is by far the most personal look at Bill Gates I've ever seen. It gives an insider's view of what it was really like to work for Microsoft in the early years. Read more
Published on Aug. 2 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!!
An excellent read!! That's all I can say about it. If you've been around computers since 1977, as I have, you'll love this book. Get it!!
Published on July 9 1999 by Jim Roscovius (
5.0 out of 5 stars The only reasonably accurate Microsoft history.
Having read most of the "histories" of Microsoft and Bill Gates and having been around the PC industry for a couple of decades, this was the only one of the books that... Read more
Published on June 29 1999
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