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NYTimes: A Tale of the Tape From the Days When Microsoft Was Still Micro Soft

Sep 18, 2000, 13:13 (4 Talkback[s])

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"As Microsoft celebrates its 25th anniversary this month, the company is unlikely to call attention to another formative event 25 years ago: the day someone stole Bill Gates's software."

"But the heist, now shrouded in equal parts mystery and industry folklore, gave an early glimpse of the hard-nosed approach Mr. Gates, Microsoft's chairman, has long taken to the software business. And the fierce debate that the theft ignited a quarter-century ago remains relevant today, as the industry engages in a war of words and lawsuits over whether computer software and digital information should be bought and sold or freely shared...."

"[Software created by Gates and Paul Allen] also almost immediately set off an ideological debate among the community of computer hobbyists and hackers: should software be a freely shared utility or a commercial product? The issue created a deep and lasting chasm in the computer world that is spreading to virtually every aspect of today's information economy - including video games and digitally rendered music and movies."

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