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盖茨:电脑天才,网络白痴

时间:2011-01-13 07:40 点击:
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多年来一直雄踞首富榜榜首的比尔盖茨,当然也智慧过人。但是即使是他也不能完全玩转网络——将老牌儿独裁微软公司投放现在正欣欣向荣的网络市场。因此他作为电脑时代的最大赢家网络时代最大的受害者,今天从微软公司引退了。

众所周知,互联网是无可比拟的商业破坏者。有多少经营了多年的公司赢了利却只见互联网将他们的赚钱计划侵蚀了?我们生活在媒体为主导的年代而媒体是头号杀手。报纸,杂志,音乐,电视,电影——所有传统模式都在死亡或趋近死亡,就像浑身是血的大人物四处爬行为求生存那般。但是网络有个横扫几乎所有工业的老牌生意——零售业务,通信业务,金融服务——而讽刺的是科技本身也并不排除在外。

非网络出生的公司很难在网络上寻求发展。(当然苹果的后电脑时代iphone手机是个特殊)我很好奇由于盖茨全力投身慈善事业,而他作为微软的创立者在他获得诺贝尔和平奖之前他能给公司留下什么。很明显,一个拥有现金储备260亿美金的企业是不会与死神打交道的。并且由于它的垄断运营系统,它还在持续不断的盈利中。当然这也要感谢盖茨的天份。

但是大而复杂的运营系统,譬如说最近微软的最新产品Vista,在这样一个连申请表只要有需求就免费递送有时连用户自己都不知道的网络时代实属多余。网络是一个金库,而盖茨这样的大人物们还没有涉足!

不过,他当然看见了这股浪潮的袭来。但是当他拉警报警示时,不过似乎已经太晚了。读读他“网络大潮”箴言,该讲话发表于1995年5月26日,此时正好是Netscape公司创办一年多的时间。

比起被打断,盖茨似乎更习惯于做一个打断者。在二十五岁时,他将一套操作系统PC-DOS以8万美金授权给IBM公司,而不是以直接卖出去的形式。这是商业史上最具历史性的创举。盖茨估计很多电脑生产商都会套用IBM公司的开放模式继而生产自己的电脑。PC-DOS很快升级成为了MS-DOS,这种操作系统适合所有IBM代用件。微软产品逐渐成为了世界上亿万电脑所共同具有的特征。

从1980年起直至1994年,此时Mosiac与Netscape合并。盖茨玩起了一项游戏,将微软建成一个标志着PC时代的帝国。通过将Windows系统向第三开发商开放,他为很多开发者提供了一个制致富的平台,并且创造了一个能将台式机投放千家万户的环境。

但是没有比成功更能蒙蔽人双眼了的,即便是对于富于远见的盖茨也是如此。当世界逐渐从电脑时代走向将它们连接起的网络时代时,盖茨的步伐停顿了。这样一个竞争力强大的人,试图抓住将起步比较晚的浏览器和他创造起来的独裁世界——Windows操作系统联系起来的杠杆。当然收效甚微,而且不久之后他们便在浏览器市场消失的无影无踪。

当然这也是违法的。Netscape叫嚣说这太龌龊,联邦政府成功的以反托拉斯案将微软送上法庭。公共关系损坏——盖茨傲慢的站在证人席上向大家表示关于重大决策他都不甚记得,多么合适宜的不记得呀——在盖茨重申他是个慈善家的时候,这些重大决策都如此短命还被适时的忘掉。但是法官要求这位不可一世的头儿在未来的发展道路中要格外小心。在浏览器一战中他可能胜利了,但是在网络大战中他绝对会损失惨重。

盖茨建立了或者说是买断了所有控制网络的方式。但是基本上都是以开发游戏的方式在维护。1995年,他开始了一项网络在线服务计划,MSN; 基于邮箱用户,Hotmail1997年被买断;MSN搜索器,通过以第三方产品为核心1998年投放市场;聊天客户软件,邮件业务1999年投放市场;去年他们在社会网络Facebook上引进了广告投放平台,尽管投资方很少,但是该项计划宏伟庞大。

尽管从数字指数上讲,微软比谷歌要大—在财富500强上微软排名44谷歌排名150—谷歌的网络业务(多为广告)正在迅猛的增长,到2010年之前其收益大有要与Redmond操作系统一拼高下的趋势。由于谷歌的随时在线业务以及免费的服务功能越来越多的用户趋于它。那么盖茨建立的公司将称为什么?

对于盖茨来说,最明智的选择就是及早引退。(Steve Ballmer也应如此;并购雅虎的企图就像是盖茨对于网络的总体规划)在微软公司有太多聪明以及有天赋的人了,他们都知道怎么去做。(吹捧Vista,放弃下一代更新,Windows7,一切从零开始,不失为一项明智之举。)

此举或许会有效。但是万一没效呢?那么我们也许将看到盖茨归来,手捧着诺贝尔和平奖,正预备与网络世界再次大干一场!

#p#分页标题#e#

译文:Bill Gates: PC Genius, Internet Fool


Bill Gates, who for years was the richest man in the world, is also one of the smartest. But even he couldn't figure out how to beat the Internet — how to transition his grand old monopoly software company, , into a business that thrives on the Net. And so he begins his retirement today from Microsoft as the PC era's biggest winner, and the Web era's most spectacular casualty.

It's pretty well known by now that the Internet, for all itsworld-flattening glory, is a destroyer of businesses without parallel.How many companies roared along for decades, minting money, only to seethe Internet eat their business plans? We live in a media age and themedia industry is Exhibit A in the murder trial. Newspapers, magazines,music, television, movies — all of the traditional models are dead ordying as bloodied moguls everywhere scramble to survive. But the Nethas brutalized old-line business across most industries — retail,telecom, financial services — and the technology industry itself, is,ironically, no exception.

Few companies not born on the Web have figured out how to thrive there. (Apple, with its post-PC iPhone, could be the shining exception.) As Gates turns his attention full time to philanthropy, I wonder what will be left of the great company he founded, Microsoft, by the time Gates picks up a Nobel Prize for Peace. Clearly, a business with $26 billion in cash reserves isn't exactly at death's door. And Microsoft continues to be enormously profitable, thanks to its operating system monopoly. Thanks, that is, to Gates's genius.

But big, complicated operating systems such as Microsoft's latest, Vista, aren't necessary in the Web Age, where applications are delivered for free and on demand — often without users' even being aware of it. The Net is where the money is, and it's the one place that Gates — like so many others — hasn't left his mark.

He saw the Internet missile coming, of course. But by the time he sounded the alarm, it may have been too late. (Read his famous , sent to the troops May 26, 1995, over a year after the browser company known as Netscape launched.)

Gates was always more accustomed to being a disruptor than being disrupted. At the age of 25, he licensed a primitive operating system, PC-DOS, to IBM for $80,000 rather than sell it outright, a move that's usually ranked as one of the Greatest Business Moves of All Time. Gates figured that many PC makers would copy IBM's open architecture, and make their own PCs; they'd need to license an operating system, too. PC-DOS soon became MS-DOS, an operating system for all IBM clones, and Microsoft was on its way to becoming the one thing that billions of PCs around the world would have in common.

From 1980 until 1994, when Mosaic/Netscape emerged, Gates played a scratch game, parlaying his little "Micro- Soft" company into an empire that defined the PC Era. By opening up Windows to third-party developers, he created a platform that made many developers rich, and built out an ecosystem that put a desktop in almost every home.

But there is no greater blinder than success, even for a visionary like Bill Gates. By the time he realized the tech world was quickly shifting from PCs to the network that connected them, his moves were limited. A fiercely competitive man, he reached for the obvious lever, and attempted to tie the late-starter Internet Explorer browser to the monopoly he created, the Windows operating system. The move was mercilessly effective and beat back rival Netscape, which immediately saw its commanding share of the browser market disappear.

It was also illegal. With Netscape crying foul, the Feds successfully pressed an antitrust suit against Microsoft. The PR damage — Gates acting insolent on the witness stand, showing a convenient lack of memory about key business decisions — turned out to be short-lived and is all but forgotten as Gates remakes himself as a philanthropist. But the court's decree forced the great general to march cautiously into the future. He may have won the Battle of the Browser, but he would start to see major casualties in the Internet War.

Gates built or bought all manner of things to conquer the Net, but few managed to be anything more than also-rans in the innovation game. In 1995, he launched a gated online service, MSN; a Web-based email client, Hotmail was purchased in 1997; a search engine, MSN Search, launched in 1998 using a third-party product as its core; a chat client, Messenger, was released in 1999; and last year it bought an online advertising platform, aQuantive and became a significant, though minority investor, in social network Facebook.

While Microsoft is exponentially larger than Google — number 44 on theFortune 500 list versus Google at 150 — Google's Web business(advertising mostly) is growing so fast, it's Redmond's operating system revenues by 2010. And that's the problem. Asmore and more of what Windows does moves up into the cloud — intoGoogle's always-on, give-'em-whatever-they-want-for-free servers — whatbecomes of the company that Gates built?

The smartest move Gates could make right now is to get out ofthe way. (Steve Ballmer should, too; pursuing Yahoo is a pretty goodhint that his master plan for the Web is, like Gates's was, to try tobuy Microsoft's way into the game.) There are many smart and talentedpeople inside Microsoft who know what to do. (Blow up Vista and abandonits next iteration, Windows 7, and start from scratch, is but ).

That will probably work. And if not? Maybe we'll see Gates return, a Nobel in his pocket, ready to wrestle with the Web once again.

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& Data( 0, nRep ) & "</TD><TD>" _

&a

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