“Bill Gates schemed to take shares in Microsoft Corp. from his co-founder during the early days of the software company following his partner’s treatment for cancer, according to a new memoir by the billionaire co-founder, Paul Allen,” Nick Wingfield and Robert A. Guth report for The Wall Street Journal. “The book, ‘Idea Man: A Memoir by the Co-founder of Microsoft,’ is scheduled to go on sale on April 17. A draft of the memoir was viewed by The Wall Street Journal.”
“In the book, Mr. Allen also positions himself as the spark of many of Microsoft’s most important ideas, playing down Mr. Gates’s role in some cases. Woven throughout the book is a bitterness Mr. Allen expresses for not receiving more credit for his work throughout his career and more shares in Microsoft,” Wingfield and Guth report. “Mr. Allen became one of the world’s richest people from the success of Microsoft under Mr. Gates’s leadership, with the vast majority of his wealth created in the years after he left the company… His early stake in the company created one of the world’s greatest fortunes—he ranks 57th on Forbes magazine’s list of billionaires, with an estimated $13 billion fortune.”
In 1982, “Mr. Allen says he eavesdropped on a discussion in the Microsoft offices in Bellevue, Wash., between Mr. Gates and Steve Ballmer, now the company’s CEO, in which he heard the two men talking about Mr. Allen’s recent lack of productivity and how they might dilute his equity in the company by issuing options to themselves and other shareholders. Mr. Allen said he burst into the room and confronted Messrs. Gates and Ballmer, both of whom later apologized to him and backed down from their plan,” Wingfield and Guth report. “‘I had helped start the company and was still an active member of management, though limited by my illness, and now my partner and my colleague were scheming to rip me off,’ he says in the book. ‘It was mercenary opportunism, plain and simple.'”
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