Picture Moby Dick in Silicon Valley. Rivlin offers the true story of Bill Gates and those who would harpoon him in a hilarious investigation into the meaning of America’s most controversial mogul and his rivals.
To understand the magnitude of Bill Gates, one must first understand the people who hate him, most of whom suffer from an acute case of "Bill Envy."
The Plot to Get Bill Gates is the true, hilarious story of a loosely knit cabal of Silicon Valley’s wealthiest and most successful leaders and their quest to defeat the richest man in the world. These leaders are known within Microsoft as Captain Ahab’s Club for their self-destructive fixation with harpooning the Great White Whale of Redmond, all two hundred pounds and $90 billion of him. Acclaimed journalist Gary Rivlin tells their tale as a high-tech variation on Moby-Dick, and by taking us deep inside the world of Gates and his enemies, he vividly reveals their consuming obsession.
Lead players in The Plot are Lawrence Ellison of Oracle, Scott McNealy of Sun Microsystems, Ray Noorda of Novell, Marc Andreessen and James Barksdale of Netscape, Philippe Kahn of Borland, and Gary Kildall (the unsung programmer who could have been Gates), with special guest appearances by venture capitalist John Doerr, consumer activist Ralph Nader, zealous attorney Gary Reback, and the Fraternal Order of Antitrust Lawyers. The author describes each man’s ill-fated attempt at besting Gates, who seems to become bigger, hungrier, and more dangerous after each attack.
Rivlin also conducts an in-depth investigation of Gates himself, examining each crucial step in the ascension of the slope-shouldered billionaire with bad hair and unearthing the most telling details to explain why Gates is so rich and we aren’t. (The short answer: monomania.) Rivlin concludes with an illuminating analysis of Microsoft’s latest upgrade of its CEO, Gates 3.1, which seems to be operating with fewer bugs than previous incarnations.
Gary Rivlin’s reporting is irreverent and intellectually independent, free of the romanticized portraits and techno-hype perpetuated by many in the media. As an award-winning political reporter, he brings a fresh perspective to the avaricious, bloodthirsty behavior of these new icons. The result is a savagely funny morality play about big business at the century’s end.