"Bill Gates was angry when he arrived at the annual meeting of
the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in January 1998.
His anger was palpable, and it surprised many who did not know
him but knew well the multiple reasons he had not to be angry:
the planet's richest man was the co-founder of Microsoft, a company
that for 23 years had outflanked and outthought its competitors, a
company whose Windows software now served as the essential code in
about 90% of all personal computers, a company whose stock price
made it the world's most highly valued."
"[Sony's CEO Nobuyuki] Idei thought Gates had reason to be
unsure: "Microsoft is very uncertain about their future business
model." In the two decades he had known Gates, Idei had never seen
him so tentative. In halting English, this thin, taciturn man who
wore a white silk shirt with a round collar buttoned at the top,
said he thought Microsoft was slipping because their "business
model is totally in danger."
"Big companies will be assaulted by hordes of what Idei
called "ants" - by free-software programmers using Linux, by
copyright pirates, by makers of portable devices that access the
internet. "A big company, like a dinosaur, will be eaten up by
the ants," he said. Only the very large or the very small may
survive, with those in between nibbled to death by the ants or
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