Dick Brass is a former exec at Microsoft. He is careful to mention how well Microsoft is doing financially but in the month that Apple launched the iPad he writes about how the company has lost its way.

Microsoft has lost share in Web browsers, high-end laptops and smartphones . . .What happened? Unlike other companies, Microsoft never developed a true system for innovation.

The thing is Mr Gates at one point was, if not well-ahead of the game, then at the very least on a par with Mr Jobs. Here’s an example. It’s not a tome I dust off regularly owing to unending tedium but Mr Gates’ first vision of the future — “The Road Ahead” — came out in 1995 and on page 74 we find this:


Were Mr Gates’ thoughts on the wallet PC contemporaneous with Mr Jobs’ iPhone twinkle? Until internal Apple docs prove me wrong (and they may well do) I reckon Gates has the edge here. In 1995 Jobs was at Next returning to Apple the following year. The iPod came out six years later and the iPhone hit us in 2007 finally giving the world the first really easy-to-use wallet PC.

I wonder if Mr Gates looks back at Page 74 and wonders what happened?

ps — do you know anyone who ever carried a loud whistle to call for help (see text on the page opposite) ??


2 Comments so far

  1. Bill’s Predictions : Paul Coletti on May 23, 2010 1:02 am

    […] here is that Bill plainly hoped Microsoft would be the one providing that capability. As I pointed out a few months ago .  .  . this is an area in which Microsoft have ceded major ground to the likes of […]

  2. Bill Gates on the iPhone : Paul Coletti on July 21, 2010 4:43 pm

    […] few months ago I wrote here about how Bill Gates predicted the iPhone (he called it the “wallet PC”) 15 years ago . […]

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