In 1998, Ken Auletta sat down with Bill Gates for a extended New Yorker interview while Microsoft was on trial for allegedly violating the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. At issue was a question as simple as it was complex: had Microsoft abused its de facto monopoly within the PC operating system market?
During the interview, Auletta asked Gates “what scared him, what kept him up late at night?” The answer surprised Auletta because it ripped away the veneer of paranoia that pervaded every corner of high tech. As Gates grabbed a Diet Coke for himself (and neglected to offer one to Auletta) he was worried about innovations he could not see.
Gates believed Microsoft could handle Apple, Netscape, or Yahoo; it could acquire what it could not crush. However, Gates worried that somewhere, some place there were a couple of young kids in a garage inventing something that would render Microsoft obsolete. Continue reading