The most significant innovation in personal computing over the last 30 years has been the evolution of natural interfaces, with the GUI, speech recognition, gestures and touch receiving equal weight, according to Bill Gates, a co-founder and the former chief executive of Microsoft.
As the PC turns 30, we asked Gates, as well as other industry leaders, for their thoughts on the most significant innovation in personal computing, and how PCs have changed people's lives for the better – or worse. Finally, we wanted to know what the future holds for personal computing – and maybe whether the "Personal Computer" would exist in its current form.
While Apple's Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak arguably invented and popularized the personal computer, Bill Gates, Paul Allen and later Steve Ballmer at Microsoft crafted and shaped the Windows operating system which became synonomous with the term "PC". The Apple Macintosh and Windows pushed the graphical user interface into the mainstream, driven by the increasing performance of microprocessors from Intel Corp., and later from chips designed by Advanced Micro Devices, Cyrix, Via Technology, and others.
In an excerpt from an upcoming book released Wednesday, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen paints co-founder Bill Gates as a technical genius, but as a ruthless executive who tried to dilute Allen's financial stake in the early days of Microsoft.
In the excerpt from Idea Man, Allen's upcoming book, Gates is characterized as an intensely focused mathematical genius, with a penchant for social quirks. Allen describes himself as the glue that held Microsoft together.
Idea Man is scheduled to be published this month by Portfolio, a member of the Penguin Group. The excerpt was published by Vanity Fair.
The crux of the story seems to lie in the last anecdote Allen relates: a scene in which Gates and Steve Ballmer, brought in to run the company, apparently scheme to dilute Allen's stake in the company. Allen describes Ballmer as looking like "an operative for the N.K.V.D." Allen, then suffering from Hodgkin's lymphoma, recounts the scene: