What has Bill Gates ever done for us? Readers have their say

Gates opened up the market to easy-to-use software

Stephen Boulten, head of IT, Leek United Building Society

Bill Gates and Microsoft produced...

Gates opened up the market to easy-to-use software

Stephen Boulten, head of IT, Leek United Building Society

Bill Gates and Microsoft produced products that are functionally rich and easy to use. Microsoft helped to bring markets such as business databases to maturity in a short time and has provided strong competition for innovators to keep them innovating.

Microsoft provided the tools that allow me to produce quality work and improve the efficiency with which I can do it through applications such as Visio and Office. It now needs to focus on driving innovation and increasing flexibility in its core product set. There is a danger that it is trying to enter every space that generates an income and will end up not delivering what its customers need.

User empowerment has been a Microsoft illusion

Ray Titcombe, chairman, IBM CUA

Gates has managed (via proprietary means) to establish many "industry" standards within the business and IT world. But his idea of "user empowerment" has been a bit of an empty benefit. We now have professionals in most organisations spending a lot of their time designing spreadsheets and access databases that arguably would be better developed within IT.

Upgrade treadmill must make way for green agenda

Ronan Miles, chairman, UK Oracle User Group

Microsoft should abandon the continued upgrade treadmill. Not only does "green" mean older kit stays in the ecosystem for longer, but as we drive IT further into a global population of more than six-billion, we need to remember that the provision of supporting infrastructure will take a long time before real ubiquitous high speed access is a given.

Bill Gates changed the face of the computer industry

Cliff Saran, Computer Weekly

Bill Gates and Microsoft helped turn the computer industry around. Software used to be bundled with hardware. IT was extremely expensive. Microsoft separated the software from the hardware, and with IBM, created affordable computing. Now Google has created a different business model, where software is effectively free, subsidised by internet advertising. Microsoft must embrace the internet and open standards.

Microsoft has enabled SMEs to compete with big business

Peter Scargill, IT director, Federation of Small Businesses

Before Gates there was no such thing as small business computing: there was a bunch of machines that were hopeless for small businesses. By introducing a single standard operating system which has maintained a level of compatibility for more than 25 years, he has made it possible for small businesses to compete.

Past the entourage, Gates has his feet on the ground

Tracy Andrew, head of information and security, Berkshire NHS shared service

I met Gates in Delhi. Once I got through the entourage, and spent a few minutes with him, he seemed very pleasant and in touch with the real world.

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