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Peeved Bill Gates Says Everyone Copies Microsoft

Bill Gates get defensive
There is one sure fire way to make the normally quiet and geeky Bill Gates a little peeved -- question his company's record of "capitalizing on the innovation of others." According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer's Todd Bishop, that's exactly what a blogger, Jonathan Snook, did at a small meeting between the online-citizen journalists of the tech world and the founder/honcho of Microsoft at the company's headquarters in Redmond, Washington.

This line of questioning, which essentially accused Microsoft of copying other people's inventions, sent the bespectacled founder into a tirade about how Microsoft does all the stupid things first, and that other companies, learning from Microsoft's mistakes, are able to build perfect versions of a particular product or service (and subsequently get the credit for being innovators).

Gates declared that what Microsoft does is the baseline for the entire industry, and whatever it doesn't do is the innovation. And by that definition everyone else is innovating. That's a pretty innovative, if not a little sarcastic, save/explanation.

But seriously, Gates cites IPTV and tablet computers as two areas in which Microsoft is leading the pack. "Is anyone else doing tablet computers?" he asks.

We understand Gate's being upset, and he makes some good points in his sarcastic rant about everyone borrowing from each other (with particular attention paid to Apple of course). But we do have to question some of his claims.

Sure, there are plenty of Microsoft Office and Word clones out there, but Word was far from the first word processor on the PC. Microsoft's entry only got copied after it crushed the competition, namely Wordperfect and Lotus. We racked our brains trying to think of where other companies had blatantly copied Microsoft and actually came up empty. If you've got any examples, be sure to leave them in the comments, in the meantime make sure to check out the gallery below of Microsoft's other "me too" products and services (including everything from Zune and Xbox 360 to the original Windows and MSN, which were inspired by the early Mac OS and the product of our parent company AOL, respectively).

How about you? Do you think Microsoft's reputation as a copycat is deserved, or is Bill Gates right when he says that his company does, in fact, innovate?

Microsoft's Products Over Time

From SeattlePI

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Tags: bill gates, BillGates, dos, ie, internet explorer, InternetExplorer, microsoft, msn, windows, xbox, zune



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