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"Microsoft was founded based on my vision of a personal computer on every desk and in every home, all running Microsoft software," Bill Gates once remarked (Stevenson). Everyone has their own dream but this was Bill Gates dream when he first co-founded Microsoft. This dream came to haunt him 12 years later when he was caught. Microsoft was charged with using its power to eliminate its competitor in the Web-browser market in the mid-90s (Stevenson). Bill Gates’ dreams and passions lead him to try to monopolize the computer industry using Microsoft and the antitrust lawsuit that followed.
The early life of Gates got him interested in computers. Bill Gates was the son of William Henry Gates III and Mary Maxwell. Gates came from a wealthy family of considerable social standing. Gates attended public school until his parents enrolled him in the exclusive Lakeside preparatory school at the age of 12 (“Bill Gates”). While attending this school he got interested in computers. The first computer that Gates used was at this school. The computer was a room-sized machine (Stevenson). Gates and his friends would neglect their studies to spend more time exploring the computer (“Bill Gates”). They were all eventually banned from the school’s computer room until they formed the Lakeside Programmers Group in 1968 (Stevenson). When Gates was 17-years-old, he wrote his first program. This program was a timetabling system for the school and he earned $4,200 from it (“Bill Gates”). After high school
Gates went to Harvard to become a lawyer to follow in his father footstep. At least that was what his parents wanted (Stevenson). While at Harvard, Gates and his friend Paul Allen wrote the first computer language program written for a personal computer (“Bill Gates”). They also wrote scheduling programs for their school and as well as program that analyzed traffic data (Stevenson).
Microsoft was founded base on a dream that Gates had. Gates dropped out of Harvard just to pursue his dream (Stevenson). Gates and his friend Allen co-founded Microsoft a year after they dropped out of Harvard, when they were hired to adapt the BASIC (Beginner’s All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code) programming language for use on the Altair. They were contracted to work as programmers at MITS headquarters in New Mexico (Stevenson).
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Microsoft Windows and software was on more than 80 percent of the personal computer market in the mid-90s (Cohen). Within ten years Microsoft had became the dominant presence in the software industry even though that industry was changing rapidly. When 1994 came around consumer demand for Internet browser software increased. Also in 1994, Netscape was founded and was Microsoft’s main competitor for internet browser (Stevenson). The following year Gates changed Microsoft to focus more on Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (Stevenson). Internet Explorer was originally licensed from the Spyglass company before it was introduced and bundled with Windows products. When this happen Internet Explorer quickly surpassed Netscape’s browser (Stevenson). Because of this and Microsoft not allowing the installation of other web browser the rivals of Microsoft said that they were forcing their customers to use Internet Explorer (“Bill Gates”). In the mid-90s, Microsoft was selling millions of copes each months and Gates’ fortune had once again ballooned on the strength of other developers’ ideas (Stevenson).
By the 1990s, Microsoft came under heavy heat from the government and other companies. The Federal Trade Commission began to investigate Microsoft for antitrust violations and there were also companies that were in the same business field as Microsoft filed a lawsuit against Microsoft saying that they violated the antitrust laws (Reynolds). This was before Window 3.0 exists and the internet was an obscure academic curiosity. “The software market is changing faster than the Clinton Administration can regulate it” (Reynolds). This quote means that during this time the technology were advancing so fast that even the government cannot keep track of what companies. Even though there were nearly ten times as many subscribers using America Online than Microsoft Network for internet service, America Online was still scared of Microsoft Network (Reynolds). Microsoft was so big that even other big companies were scared of them.
The first antitrust lawsuit against Gates and Microsoft was in 1994. After Gates settled this court case, he argued that this latest ruling permitted Microsoft to go on as if nothing had happened. When Gates said this he was lying. In 1998, the court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit unanimously found that Microsoft had violated America’s antitrust laws (Lessig). When the courthouse made that decision about Microsoft being a monopolist, John Klein, head of the
antitrust division for the United States said “great!” (Cohen). The case did not go on trial until 1999 though. When Gates said that nothing happened earlier, it came to haunt him. Now that the Bush administration and the states needed to deliver the message clearly to Gates, the judge found Microsoft guilty. Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson found that Microsoft had indeed attempted to monopolize the browser market with Internet Explorer (Lessig). To stay ahead of the feds, Gates made a deal with Gateway 2000 that would allow them to install Netscape’s Navigator browser on its machines (Fitch). Judge Jackson also out found that Microsoft had engaged in “defensive monopolization” (Lessig). If Gates can make enough concessions, he can defuse the suit against Microsoft (Fitch). This means that if Gates can work out more deals with others companies to allow them to install other web browsers or programs he might be able to stop the lawsuits against Microsoft (Lessig).
As a result of the antitrust lawsuit, Gates stood down as chief executive of Microsoft in 2000 and became the company’s chairman and chief software architect (“Bill Gates”). The Justice Department tried to split up Microsoft into two separate companies, one part of the company dealing with only the software and the other part of the company concentrating on the Windows operating system (“Bill Gates’). Gates said that Microsoft cannot operate as two different companies. The federal court agreed with what Gates said and overturned the decision to break up the company (“Bill Gates”).
A great part of the world uses Microsoft Windows as its operating system in the 1990s before the antitrust lawsuit came against Microsoft. This antitrust lawsuit was just a minor set back and for Microsoft it might even help them to become more well known by the world. Microsoft still is the leading operating system provider after the antitrust lawsuit (Cohen). The only difference after the antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft is that now Microsoft Internet Explorer is running against a lot more companies like Firefox and Safari. There were also companies that almost offered the same programs soon after Microsoft started but the other companies were not as well known as Microsoft. Because of how big, powerful, and the big amounts of complaints/lawsuits against Microsoft at that time, the government assessed Microsoft’s actions and found that they were indeed trying to monopolizing the computer industry (Lessig).
Although not everyone dreams or goals in life are exactly the same, we should all try to achieve it some how without hurting other people or in this case companies. Some of our goals or dreams may be very outrageous or very simple but it never hurt to try to get to your dreams or goals. Even though Bill Gates dreams of monopolizing/taking over the all of the computer industry, most people are still found him to be a good guy. Without Gates thinking big, we might not have gotten so far with computer technologies today. Gates never gave up on his dream of having Microsoft Windows or Internet Explorer on every computer even though it caused him many trouble. Bill Gates tried to complete his dream but he did not succeed. The moral of this is to never give up trying to complete your dreams but note that there is always a limit of how far you can push before your dreams starts to crumble or some person or group take it away from right under you.
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