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Gates is incredibly sharp. He's simply fantastic with numbers and things stored in his head. It's like he has the ultimate RAM in his brain. That's his inner nerd. But I was surprised by how much I liked him as a person, given how much I disliked DOS. Although he is extremely cagey - he is always playing a game with how much he says or doesn't say because he is involved in so many embryonic deals - he is also witty and accessible. He's curious about things. He likes to think big and wide - he looks globally, in long terms, and across many disciplines. It would be impossible to be bored around him.

THE SAINT (Kevin Kelly)

Bill Gates

The Software Developer

"Essentially, Netscape wants to take a browser and turn it into an operating system. We want to take an operating system and have enough Internet capability built in so that people continue to view Windows as the best way to use the Internet. That is what our customers expect us to do. Unless we're doing a better operating system and keeping the prices low, somebody else is going to come in. Nobody has a guaranteed situation as you look ahead a couple of years. Companies are moving as fast as they can, and the marketplace is the judge of who gets these things right. This competition is great for the end-user, because all the companies involved have very low prices and there is a lot of free software being made available."

The demonstration was exciting. "Pretty impressive," I said in a whisper to David, who sat beside me. "Can you do this now on your IBM ThinkPad?" "Are you kidding?" he replied. "This is pure Bill. It's known as FUD: fear, uncertainty, and doubt. Two thousand people in this hall, many of whom make key hardware and software buying decisions for the big corporations, are not going to risk going all the way with Netscape or Sun and find themselves locked out of Bill's vision in a few months. He's already having a formidable impact on the marketplace. That's why he's a genius."

BILL GATES is CEO of Microsoft Corporation and author of The Road Ahead (1995).