This week, Apple CEO Steve Jobs “proceeded to grab headlines around the world with details of a smart phone everyone had expected, but no one else had been able to imagine,” Simon Avery writes for The Globe and Mail. “Less than two days earlier, Bill Gates took the stage before a similar gathering of tech aficionados to do his traditional keynote that launches the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas… He gave a flat, tired performance, even as he showed off features of the Vista operating system, a product that by his own description will be the most used piece of software on the planet.”
“What do these contrasting tones, from the two largest icons of the personal computer industry, signal about the companies they created and lead? One is led by an extraordinary visionary who maintains a vice-like grip on operations. The other is led by a revered technophile who is gradually slipping out the back door,” Avery writes.
“‘Microsoft has a certain cult of personality. Gates is thought of as a special guru, and people sit at his feet trying to understand what he’s thinking,’ says Roger Kay, president of Endpoint Technologies Associates Inc., a research firm in Wayland, Mass. ‘That’s totally different from Steve Jobs. He’s an autocrat. He’s a sun king. He’s very capricious, autocratic, and creative and charismatic. He’s all kinds of good things, mixed with some pretty strange things. It’s a totally unique formula,'” Avery writes.
Avery writes, “The culture Mr. Gates created has defined Microsoft as a ‘fast-follower.’ The software giant moves to dominate a new market where others have already led the way. The examples abound, starting with Microsoft’s move into web browsing behind Netscape, web search and advertising after Yahoo, live software services behind Google, and digital music after Apple and the iPod.”
MacDailyNews Take: Unfortunately, Avery forgot one big thing in his list of examples (he does get to it later in his article). The examples of Microsoft being a “follower,” albeit not so fast in this case, started with Microsoft’s upside-down and backwards take on Apple’s Macintosh. It continues even today with Window’s Vista trying to look and act like Mac OS X.
Avery continues, “Apple, on the other hand, enjoys the reputation of innovator, creating revolutionary products that have shaped the industry, beginning with the Macintosh computer in 1984, the iPod portable music player in 2001 and now the iPhone. ‘I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been,’ Mr. Jobs said, quoting Wayne Gretzky.”
Full article here.
Watch Steve Jobs’ Macworld Expo Keynote here.
Watch Bill Gates’ CES Keynote here.