Computerworld: Learning to read Bill Gates

“Having now had three fairly up-close-and-personal encounters
with Microsoft chairman and chief executive officer Bill Gates in
as many years, I feel like I’m starting to get the hang of how to
read him.”

“My observation has been that the more quickly Gates is prepared
to dismiss an issue out of hand, the more likely it is that that
particular issue is in fact something that concerns him. And
invariably, what accompanies this wave-of-the-hand dismissal is an
attempt to shift attention from the thrust of the issue to
peripheral or even irrelevant points in order to trivialize what it
is that’s causing the concern.”

“When I interviewed Gates during his visit to Hong Kong in
December, 1995, the two juggernauts that he had reason at the time
to be the most concerned about — Java and Netscape Communications
— were the two he downplayed most ardently, attributing all the
buzz about them to what he liked to call the Internet gold

“There are lots of different computer languages — every six
months there’s a new computer language, and that’s very exciting,”
Gates said in the interview. “Java has a role to play, and then so
do all these other languages.” The “just another computer language”
response has in fact become his standard refrain whenever Java is

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