Strong opinions, weakly held

Bill Gates’ dishonest spin

Just when you start to respect a guy, he lets you down. When asked about Microsoft adopting some features of Apple’s Mac OS X in Vista, he responds with a completely counterfactual interpretation of events. I’m going to assume Bill Gates isn’t stupid, and put his statement down to dishonesty instead. He says:

I mean, it’s fascinating, maybe we shouldn’t have showed so publicly the stuff we were doing, because we knew how long the new security base was going to take us to get done. Nowadays, security guys break the Mac every single day. Every single day, they come out with a total exploit, your machine can be taken over totally. I dare anybody to do that once a month on the Windows machine. So, yes, it took us longer, and they had what we were doing, user interface-wise.

Why can’t he just admit that in the software industry, companies adopt features that other companies create? In other industries, nobody bats an eye when desirable features see wide adoption. Take the car industry for instance. Traction control, seat belts, air bags, antilock brakes, and cruise control were all invented by somebody. Some company was the first to put a radio in a car. Nobody complains now that all of those features are commonly found in cars from every manufacturer. Just about everything is derivative in one way or another, trying to pretend that’s not the case is just disingenuous.


  1. First, what features are in vista that they’re claiming were copied? Spotlight was copied from BeOS (and, I’ll point out, the semi-honorable way — hiring the frustrated, out-of-work developers away from the dying husk of Be, not just saying “ooh, we’re going to write something new and awesome called winfs” and then cancelling it because your developers are too retarded to pull it off.

    It’s sad that after 5 years of development, I can’t think of a single dramatic improvement to the OS other than one that was canceled. The security changes are a joke.

  2. What strikes me about the quoted statement is that he doesn’t really answer the question asked, just uses the question to reiterate his major talking/marketing point: security.

    Of course, his answer to that question is also a big load. Yeah, the security flaws in OSX are a major concern to the public, what with those swarms of pwned OSX botnets wreaking havoc on the Internet. And boy, the antivirus/antispyware industry for OSX is so huge due it major security flaws. [/sarcasm]

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