Headline April 03, 2015/ ''' MICROSOFT - MERIDIAN '''


THAT YEAR, 1968, would be a watershed in matters digital. In March, Hewlett-Packard introduced the first programmable desktop calculator.

In June, Robert Dennard  won a patent for a one-transistor cell of dynamic random access memory, or DRAM, a new and cheaper method of temporary data storage.

In July,  Robert Noyee and  Gordon Moore co-founded Intel Corporation. In December, at the legendary   ''mother of all demos''   in San Francisco, the Stanford Research Institute's  Douglas Engelbart-

Showed off his original versions of a mouse, a word processor, email, and hypertext. 

Of all the epochal changes in store over the next two decades, a remarkable number were seeded over those 10 months: Cheap and reliable memory, a graphical user interface, a  ''killer''  application, and more.

It's hard to convey the excitement I felt when I sat down at the Teletype. With my program written out on notebook paper, I'd type it on the keyboard with the paper-tape punch turned on. Then I'd dial into the G.E. computer, wait for a beep-

Log on with the school's password, and hit the Start button to feed the paper through the reader, which took several minutes.

At last came the big moment, I'd type  'RUN' , and soon my results printed out at 10 characters per second  -a glacial pace next to day's laser printers, but exhilarating at the time.

It would be quickly apparent whether my program worked, if not, I'd get an error message. In either case, I'd quickly log off to save money. 

Then I'd fix any mistakes by advancing the paper tape to the error and correcting it on the keyboard while simultaneously punching a new tape - a delicate maneuver nowadays handled  by simple click of mouse and a keystroke.

BUT ONE EVENING I LATE DECEMBER 1982, I heard Bill and Steve speaking loudly in Bill's office and paused outside to listen in. It was easy to get the gist of the conversation. They were bemoaning my recent lack of production and-

Discussing how they might dilute my Microsoft equity by issuing options to themselves. It was clear that they'd been thinking about this for some time.. Unable to stand it any longer, I burst in on them and shouted:

''This is unbelievable! It shows your true character, one and for all.'' 

I was speaking to both of them, but staring straight at Bill. Caught red-handed, they were struck dumb. Before they could respond, I turned on my heel and left.

I replayed their dialogue in my mind while driving home and it felt more and more heinous to me. I helped start the company and was still active member of the management, though limited by my illness.

And now my partners and my colleagues were scheming to rip me off. It was mercenary opportunism, plain and simple.

That evening, a chastened Steve Ballmer called my house and asked my sister Jody if he could come over.

''Look, Paul,'' he said after we sat down together. ''I'm really sorry about what happened today. We were just letting off steam. 

We're trying to get so much stuff done, and we just wish you could contribute even more. But that stock thing isn't fair. I wouldn't have anything to do with it, and I am sure Bill wouldn't either.''

I told Steve that the incident had left a bad taste in my mouth. A few days later I received a six-page, handwritten letter from Bill. Dated December 31, 1982, the last day of our last full year together at Microsoft.

It contained an apology for the conversation I'd overheard. And it offered a revealing, Bill's eye view of our partnership.................

The Honour ans Serving of the  ''operational research'' continues. Thank you for reading. And see Ya all on the following one.

With respectful dedication to the billions of Microsoft's software application clients and users  the world over. See Ya all on !WOW!   -the World Students Society Computers-Internet-Wireless:

''' One Brilliant Idea Deserves A Few Others '''

'''Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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