Brian Bailey Preface to the Revised Edition

The Microsoft Menace?

The Friday Wall Street Journal featured an interview with the head of Microsoft, Steve Ballmer (available online to subscribers only, unfortunately). Many of the question focused on what will change when Bill Gates retires in two years.

WSJ: Many companies faded away after their founders left. What can you say that would assure people that, now that the co-founder is moving on, Microsoft is in good hands?

Ballmer: There have been many companies who lost their greatness post their founders... When did China get great? China didn't get great under Mao Zedong. China got great under - in the recent years - probably got great under Deng Xiaoping.

Not that there's anything wrong with it or anything, but I find it fascinating that Ballmer would find a way to compare Microsoft to communist China and Bill Gates to Mao Zedong. Just imagine the hundreds of easily accessible examples he had at his disposal. How is it that he landed on China?

I think it's also telling that he labels the country "great", presumably referring to its economic strength and role in the world, regardless of human rights abuses and restrictions on freedom. It's as if success is all that matters, no matter the cost or methods used.