Bill Gates 'had greatest impact on business computing in t...


winmacguy

macrumors 68020
Nov 8, 2003
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New Zealand
the_mole1314 said:
Single handedly, eh, but still, I agree.

He totally f----- it up, thus, he had the greatest impact.
He helped put a cheap PC in every living room in the developed world. That is an achievement.
 

mac 2005

macrumors 6502a
Apr 1, 2005
761
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Chicago
winmacguy said:
He helped put a cheap PC in every living room in the developed world. That is an achievement.
Not to split hairs, but Microsoft makes software. Credit for the low cost of personal computers should go to the hardware manufacturer.
 

Daveway

macrumors 68040
Jul 10, 2004
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mac_2005 said:
Not to split hairs, but Microsoft makes software. Credit for the low cost of personal computers should go to the hardware manufacturer.
Thats EXACTLY right. Steve jobs could be credited with the same if those cheap boxes ran Mac. We'll have to wait until next year for that. ;)
 

cwtnospam

macrumors regular
Sep 4, 2004
148
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bousozoku said:
If they'd have said "positive impact", would he have won?
The people voting were in IT. They'd give it to him no matter how it was worded. Many of them have gotten rich "fixing" Windoze problems.
 

shamino

macrumors 68040
Jan 7, 2004
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Purcellville, VA
People have no clue about anything that was invented before they were born.

The survey asked about the past 50 years. That means since 1955.

I think the IBM mainframe (meaning TJ Watson) had a far bigger impact than PCs over that timespan.

Before mainframes, companies did all their accounting by hand. It was slow, expensive and error prone. The mainframe revolutionized the process.

PC's moved a lot of capability from the machine room to the desktop, but it didn't really change much with respect to how corporations actually go about their business.

And the PC (meaning IBM) was far more of an influence than Windows (meaning Microsoft). Corporations were installing PC's all over the place for over 10 years before Windows became popular. Microsoft did sell DOS, but DOS does very little - all the power of software on a DOS system comes from the application, not the OS.

But I wouldn't expect IT people to know about all this. Most of them were probably still in high school when Windows started to become popular, so they have no clue (and no desire to get a clue) about how much has changed since 1955, and what all the inventions actually were.
 

macFanDave

macrumors 6502a
Apr 14, 2003
571
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bousozoku said:
If they'd have said "positive impact", would he have won?
Hell, no!

I agree with the result of the poll that Bill Gates has had the biggest impact on business computing, but not for any good reason.

Microsoft's example has led the software industry into its woeful state of oppressive EULA's, shoddy quality, parasitic maintenance agreements, upgrades pocked with flaws and bloatware, lousy and expensive support and poor documentation. Millions are employed because of the business model Gates has forced on the rest of us. There are a lot more IT people needed than there would be if Windows was a well-created, well-documented OS that had upgrades offered only when it would create a major increase of value to the customers. Look at all of the books and courses available to teach people how to deal with Microsoft products! It's permanent employment!

Computing would have been far better off without him.
 

speleoterra

macrumors regular
Jan 28, 2005
112
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Edmonton/Alberta/Canada
Yea i also agree with Shamino
Tim Berners should be next after IBM.

I hate to give Bill any credit but he "is" a shrewd if not evil business man.
but hey, thats how the original car & oil companies pioneered themselves to the top too.

and yea,...the IT do have to thank Bill for getting rich. but you know what? The same guys would probably agree that MS&Windows has held developing computing technology BACK, where we could be today if it had never taken off?

MS is just like a repair mechanic once told me;
"if it wasn't for The Ford Motor Company, I wouldnt be in the repair business.
 

Yvan256

macrumors 603
Jul 5, 2004
5,032
886
Canada
speleoterra said:
MS is just like a repair mechanic once told me;
"If it wasn't for The Ford Motor Company, I wouldn't be in the repair business."
Exactly why a lot of IT people like Microsoft; without them they'd be out of a job. They also know that so far, their job is secured (unlike MS software).

That's also why you see a lot of no-brand PC shops. They make a whole lot of money on tech support. That's why they hate Apple: it just works.
 

Sdashiki

macrumors 68040
Aug 11, 2005
3,512
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Behind the lens
Bill Gates is NOT a programmer.

Bill Gates is NOT an engineer.

Bill Gates IS a businessman.

He leased DOS to IBM, and when PCs took off he renegotiated the terms and got rich with Windows. Had he SOLD dos to IBM, it would be IBM that is rich and not M$.

Bill Gates HAS NOT done anything for the last 50 yrs of computing other than make himself a lot of money. he is not special, unless you mean "short bus" special. Richest man, ugliest hairdo.
 

Gasu E.

macrumors 601
Mar 20, 2004
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Not far from Boston, MA.
IBM yes, but...

shamino said:
People have no clue about anything that was invented before they were born.

The survey asked about the past 50 years. That means since 1955.

I think the IBM mainframe (meaning TJ Watson) had a far bigger impact than PCs over that timespan.
Being in the computer industry since 1976, and having written my first program in 1966, I agree with your basic point, of IBM being more critical than Microsoft. In addition to your very valid observation of the mainframe, it should be noted that IBM developed the "IBM PC", not Microsoft or Intel!!!

That being said, I actually do agree with the choice of Bill Gates as having the biggest impact. I interpret the question as "who was the *individual* who had the biggest impact. You cannot equate Thomas J. Watson with Gates. Watson was originally an entrepeneur who started a tabulating machine company that evolved into IBM. By the time the computer came around, IBM was a very large company and Watson was an executive. Watson created a great company, but note that he originally scoffed at the business potential of computers and passed up an offer to license the technology of Eniac. Only after Univac showed that the potential was significant did IBM rush into the market.

The original mainframe as we know it, the IBM 360, was developed as a response to another competitive product, the Control Data 6600. Watson may have given the order to develop a competitive product but he was not remotely involved in the specific conceptualization or technology.

I disagree with those who say the Bill Gates is not an engineer. He dropped out of Harvard to become an early microcomputer hacker. He wrote a BASIC compiler that became the most successful microcomputer compiler of the pre-IBM PC era. IBM licensed this compiler to be the main development tool when they were bringing the PC to market. It was because of this compiler that IBM approached Gates about finding an OS. From that point on, Bill Gates' impact has been as a businessman rather than an engineer. But make no mistake about it, Gates was unique in his ability to see the business impact of a technology decision. The purchase of DOS; the decision to go into the application business and acquire the technologies to Word, excel, and Powerpoint; the secret development of Windows in parallel with OS2; introducing Explorer to counter Netscape; these were all key decisions that shaped the industry today. For better or worse; mostly worse, IMHO, but here we are.

There is no question that Bill Gates is #1 as an individual in terms of impacting the shape of the computing world today. The question is, who was #2. Personally I would go for the Internet guys (Kahn/Cerf); I think Berners-Lee, while brilliant, was more in the right place at the right time. CERN was going to fund the development of an internetworking hypertext mark-up language for the scientific community in any case, and there was nothing really brilliant in the implementation of html beyond that. On the other hand, the Internet required a complete rethinking of the concept of computer networking from top to bottom, and required a much larger effort to accomplish.
 

Sun Baked

macrumors G5
May 19, 2002
14,874
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bousozoku said:
If they'd have said "positive impact", would he have won?
Apple's impacts were/are in niches desktop publishing, desktop video, etc.

Microsoft sort of sat down and took over the business apps by force: Office, Access, etc.

Even without the OS, MS has had a major impact in business and become the defacto standard.
 

macidiot

macrumors 6502a
Aug 13, 2002
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Sun Baked said:
Apple's impacts were/are in niches desktop publishing, desktop video, etc.

Microsoft sort of sat down and took over the business apps by force: Office, Access, etc.

Even without the OS, MS has had a major impact in business and become the defacto standard.

Actually, Visicalc(and later, Lotus 1-2-3 and WordPerfect) is what got PC's(and I mean that generically, since Visicalc was an Apple II app) into corporations. Before that, they were the equivalent of ham radios.

Microsoft obviously has had a major impact. But it wasn't a pioneer.

And let's be honest... Bill is obviously the most important. Without him, half the IT department would be out of work.
 

cwtnospam

macrumors regular
Sep 4, 2004
148
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macidiot said:
Actually, Visicalc(and later, Lotus 1-2-3 and WordPerfect) is what got PC's(and I mean that generically, since Visicalc was an Apple II app) into corporations. Before that, they were the equivalent of ham radios.

Microsoft obviously has had a major impact. But it wasn't a pioneer.
True, and Microsoft Word was basically just an enhanced version of Macwrite that came out for the original Mac. Once again, they weren't pioneering.
 

Sun Baked

macrumors G5
May 19, 2002
14,874
57
macidiot said:
And let's be honest... Bill is obviously the most important. Without him, half the IT department would be out of work.
They weren't the pioneers, but the impact they had by becoming the "standard" is quite major.

Heck even if they are a major PIA that creates an entire industry with great job security. ;)
 

bousozoku

Moderator emeritus
Jun 25, 2002
13,951
3
Gone but not forgotten.
Sun Baked said:
Apple's impacts were/are in niches desktop publishing, desktop video, etc.

Microsoft sort of sat down and took over the business apps by force: Office, Access, etc.

Even without the OS, MS has had a major impact in business and become the defacto standard.
By force is correct. They used hidden APIs to make their office applications faster than the competition, though Samna/Lotus had the finest word processor ever known to Windows. Lotus and Word Perfect both sat on their laurels, crushing them in the process, and let Microsoft walk away with the business.

If it weren't for Macintosh, digital publishing might still not be available. I'm not sure whether Digital Research's GEM environment would have existed but for the work Apple was doing. It could have led the way although the idea of square pixels still didn't exist without Apple. It took IBM until 1987 to bring out VGA and their own version of square pixels.
 

shamino

macrumors 68040
Jan 7, 2004
3,386
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Purcellville, VA
Gasu E. said:
The original mainframe as we know it, the IBM 360, was developed as a response to another competitive product, the Control Data 6600.
True, but it's probably also true that more companies installed IBM 360's than CDC 6600's.

Innovative does not necessarily mean "has greatest impact".
Gasu E. said:
I disagree with those who say the Bill Gates is not an engineer. He dropped out of Harvard to become an early microcomputer hacker. He wrote a BASIC compiler that became the most successful microcomputer compiler of the pre-IBM PC era.
Interpreter. I don't think anybody at that time sold a compiler for BASIC. Microsoft eventually did sell a BASIC compiler, but that was after DOS and the PC were firmly established in the marketplace.
Gasu E. said:
There is no question that Bill Gates is #1 as an individual in terms of impacting the shape of the computing world today.
No question if the time span starts from the dawn of the microcomputer era (late 70's, Altair, Apple II, PC, etc.). Not at all clear when the basis for comparison is 1955.
 

sambo.

macrumors regular
Jun 2, 2004
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outback, far from the surf
mac_2005 said:
Not to split hairs, but Microsoft makes software. Credit for the low cost of personal computers should go to the hardware manufacturer.
yup, and still M$ wants their license fees for machines sold in the third world... the REAL reason you can't get sub-$500- 'puter.

whatever the knee jerk reaction you get over the mention of Bill Gates name, he has done some great things.

to get 'puters into houses, you needed a "standard" OS that mums & dads can understand, especially in the early years of home computing when 'puters were coming out of the labs & corporations and into homes and schools.

both Bill & Steve had the opportunity to capture that market.

Bill licensed his OS, starting with DOS (which was pretty good really), with all the complications of hardware compatibility. it wasn't "great" software, but hey, it could be coerced into "working" best two out of three. i currently use a celeron 500 running Win'Don't98SE to produce a weekly newspaper. page-maker, photoshop & illustrator work. yes, it crashes, a LOT. yes it crashes a lot more often than any system 7+ box i've used. but in the two years i've been forced onto it, my opinion of Bill has actually gone UP. which doesn't mean i won't be buying iMacs on Sept21, BUT for an old & crappy system that hasn't had a rebuild in, i think four years now, it's pretty good and it's STILL BETTER THAN TRYING TO DO LAYOUT THE "OLD WAY"!!! it may not be perfect, but it's wayyyy ahead of the days when "Cut and Paste" meant to literally CUT and PASTE like with scalpel and glue.

Bill marketed software that "worked" or could be coerced into "working" he made some of the right decisions at the right time. it's only now, with the advances in Linux and the impending arrival of osX86, that we will have "serious" contenders for microsoft.

Bill Gates will be remembered as a great man, and i don't think it'll be undeserved.

but i rekon the Award For The Greatest Impact On Business Computing should go collectivly to the internet porn industry.