Despite all the bad press that he receives, I am a big fan of Bill Gates and Microsoft. I think that they have mainly done a good job and when we look back in a century or so we will have a greater understanding of the contribution made to technology made by Bill Gates and Microsoft.
Saying that I do think that some of the business decisions that they have made over then last few years have been wrong. For instance the decision to tie in Internet Explorer into the Windows XP operating system was anti-competitive and cost them dear financially both in the USA and Europe. However, I do believe that Bill Gates is a good person at heart and the decision to do this at the time would have been done purely for commercial pressures and probably goes against what he really believed in.
Over the years that I have worked in IT, I have also grown up with Apple in addition to Microsoft. I have seen Apple go through the good times and the bad. Now (mainly thanks to the genius of Steve Jobs), they have achieved market dominance in the digital download and mobile music player market. I do admire Steve Jobs too for his genius in doing this. However, where my views differ about him from those on Bill Gates are Apples blatant determination towards monopolistic practices. For this reason, I will never buy an Apple iProduct. Whilst I admire their brilliant marketing that convinces the world that they must have not just a music player but an iPod and not just a mobile PDA but a iPhone, their monopolistic attitude towards this have really let them down as a company at the forefront of advancing technology.
Until recently, I believed I was one of only a few who could actually see what was really going on here with these monopolistic, and what I consider, backward practices. That is until I read an article by technology columnist Bill Thompson. In his article on the BBC News Technology pages, he seems to spell out very succinctly the exact hypocrisy of Apple"s practices and how they seem to be getting away with it when you consider how Microsoft were punished when they took similar actions.