How the Web Was Won: Microsoft from Windows to the Web

Paul Andrews, "How the Web Was Won: Microsoft from Windows to the Web"
Broadway Books | 1999 | ISBN: 0767900480, 0767900499 | 365 pages | PDF | 90.48 Mb

The Inside Story of How Bill Gates and His Band of Internet Idealists Transformed a Software Empire
In a brilliant--and, at times, overwhelming--display of research and perspicacity, Paul Andrews chronicles Microsoft's internal and public battles to adapt to Internet technology and fight the browser wars. He starts in 1991: the Internet is barely a blip on the company radar. Meanwhile, 22-year-old new hire J Allard is asked by Microsoft's No. 2 man, Steve Ballmer, to "make the pain go away" with TCP/IP, the standard Internet protocol. It's just Allard's second day on the job, and he realizes that the software giant doesn't get it: interoperability between networks and the Internet is key to Microsoft's future. He begins a grassroots effort to raise Internet consciousness, eventually distributing a widely read 17-page memo titled "Windows: The Next Killer Application on the Internet." Higher up, Bill Gates's technical assistant, Steven Sinofsky, gets snowed in at technically progressive Cornell University. He's stunned to witness a student body that's already devoted to a fledgling Internet, and writes home: "Cornell is WIRED." After intense internal debate (and more than a few late nights), Gates stops the engines and changes course to pursue integration of Windows and an Internet browser called Explorer.

Andrews--a personal-technology columnist for the neighboring Seattle Times--has actually layered several books into one. In the first, he writes scores of fascinating profiles on the Internet idealists, architects, and managers who devoted "Microsoft Hours" to redirect the company's focus. In the second, he reports on external battles against foes such as Netscape and Sun Microsystems. In addition, he explores the hundreds of technological developments (occasionally to the point of distraction) that flourished during this high-tech revolution. And, finally, he comments throughout on what led the Department of Justice to file the largest antitrust action since the breakup of AT&T. Andrews's coverage of this last issue is slanted heavily in Microsoft's favor, but is thorough enough to deflect most accusations of bias. Although the Web is far from won, Microsoft's ability to turn its ship around is certainly a victory.


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