This column, the obvious post on Microsoft buying most of Nokia, is arriving later than I had hoped because we had an Internet failure today at our house on the side of a mountain in Sonoma County near Santa Rosa. We’re 15 minutes from town but the terrain is such that there’s no cellphone service from any carrier, we’re beyond the reach of DSL, there is no cable TV, so our only choices for Internet access are crappy satellite Internet or non-crappy fixed wireless, which we get from an ISP called CDS1.net. That connection is really good since the ISP’s tower in this part of the county is about 200 feet from my office window. It’s […]
So Steve Ballmer is leaving Microsoft a year from now: what kind of schedule is that? It’s one thing, I suppose, for a company to point out that they have a retirement policy or a succession plan, or even to just give the universe of potential Microsoft CEOs a heads-up that the job is coming open, but I don’t think that’s what this is about at all. It’s about the stock. Like in baseball, when all else fails to get the team out of a slump, fire the manager. And sure enough, Microsoft shares are up eight percent as I write. Ballmer himself is $1 billion richer than he was yesterday. I wonder if he […]
In Prudhoe Bay, in the oilfields of Alaska’s North Slope, the sun goes down sometime in late November and doesn’t appear again until January, and even then the days are so short that you can celebrate sunrise, high noon, and sunset all with the same cup of coffee. The whole day looks like that sliver of white at the base of your thumbnail.
It’s cold in Prudhoe Bay in the wintertime, colder than I can say or you would believe—so cold that the folks who work for the oil companies start their cars around October and leave them running twenty-four hours a day clear through […]
CHAIRMAN BILL LEADS THE
HAPPY WORKERS IN SONG
William H. Gates III stood in the checkout line at an all-night convenience store near his home in the Laurelhurst section of Seattle. It was about midnight, and he was holding a carton of butter pecan ice cream. The line inched forward, and eventually it was his turn to pay. He put some money on the counter, along with the ice cream, and then began to search his pockets.
“I’ve got a 50-cents-off coupon here somewhere,” he said, giving up on his pants pockets and moving up to search the pockets of his plaid shin.
The clerk waited, the ice […]
Napier & Son was the most successful British manufacturer of aircraft engines in the 1920s and 30s with their 12-cylinder Napier Lion powering 163 different types of aircraft between 1918 and 1935. Over that 17 year period the Lion grew from 450 to 1350 horsepower and was, for awhile, the most powerful aircraft, boat, and car engine in the world, holding world speed records in all three venues at the same time. And then the Napier Lion was suddenly gone — a lesson from which Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer could benefit if he and his company don’t repeat it.
Napier perfected their Lion engine over those 17 years, improving it in every way until it was the […]