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am 24. Dezember 1998
This book, written by a former Microsoft developer and the daughter of a former Microsoft PR person, is an excellent view from the inside. At first one would be inclined to think this might be some PR itself. But after getting into the book you realize that it's not. In fact, it's very unbiased reporting for the most part. If the authors seem to flatter themselves in a couple of places they can be forgiven. They do it only a time or two. The fascination of the book lies in how we see a different side of Bill Gates and Microsoft. Gates appears not smart, as we seem to think of him, but rather as a not-so-bright nerd turned CEO who depends on others --- in more ways than one. He is smart enough to hire very brilliant people who know their jobs. And he gives them quite a degree of autonomy. By giving them stock options in the company they have a vested interest in the success of the company. On the other hand, the book shows a side to Microsoft we seldom if ever see or know about. The unruly side. The unorganized side. There is no strategy. Things happen by accident. Windows, for example, was not a priority but a side effect of sorts. The Internet was not important to Bill until the last minute. Than it became a priority. The secret to success at Microsoft, according to the authors, is to copy, crush and kill the competitor. Microsoft doesn't write code from scratch, according to the authors. But rather the developers take good code from good programs of other companies and write Microsoft programs. Or, if all else fails, they buy the company. This is an exciting read and highly recommended.
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am 27. Mai 1998
Microsoft unveiled --- a fascinating story. What has always been suspected but never actually disclosed. Never before have we had an opportunity to view Microsoft's business practices as witnessed through the eyes of several of the company's most respected developers, many of whom are still on the company's payroll. The authors of Barbarians led by Bill Gates offer a refreshing and strikingly different view of Gates & company than that which the Microsoft PR wizards have spun for outsiders. The book gives its readers a front row seat to witness firsthand the company's phenomenal ascendance from a 100 person startup in 1982 to its extraordinary present day market dominance of the PC software industry. Most previous Microsoft books have either been PR sanctioned or researched through outside sources. One would suspect that this may be the first and last view from the inside of one of this century's most successful businesses, as it's a certainty that this kind of penetration of the company's developer community will not be tolerated again.
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am 21. November 2008
Ich hatte mir dieses Buch vor ca. 8 Jahren gekauft und, nachdem es kürzlich beim Umräumen wieder aufgetaucht ist, nun zum zweiten mal gelesen. Das Buch besteht aus mehr oder weniger chronologisch zusammenhängenden Episoden aus der Zeit zwischen 1982 und 1995 und ist sehr unterhaltsam und kurzweilig geschrieben.
Sicher sind die Darstellungen nicht immer 100%-ig objektiv, da sie nur aus der Sicht des Autors erzählt werden. Das ändert aber nichts an den Kernbotschaften "Microsoft kocht auch nur mit Wasser." und "Auch Bill Gates ist nur ein Mensch und nicht unfehlbar."
Meiner Meinung ist dieses Buch, obwohl nicht mehr ganz aktuell, immer noch empfehlenswert.
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am 14. Juli 1999
Edstrom und Eller stellen in diesem Buch die Geschichte von Microsoft, und dieses dem Titel folgend: von innen. Heraus kommt ein kurzweiliges Buch über die Geschichte der Computerindustrie und des einflußreichsten Unternehmens der Branche. Besonders interessant ist es, etwas über die Geschäftspraktiken von Microsoft zu erfahren. Schenkt den beiden Autoren Glauben hat das alles nicht viel mit Strategie zu tun, wohl aber sehr viel mit dem Gespür im richtigen Moment der Konkurrenz den Garaus zu machen. Eine aktuelle Bedeutung gewinnt dieses Buch durch den Anti-trust Prozeß gegen Bill Gates und Microsoft in den USA. Spannende Anekdoten über den Werdegang von Bill Gates werden angeführt, so zum Beispiel wie er mit Hilfe einer geschickten PR-Strategie zum allseits bekannten Orakel der Computerindustrie wurde. Viele Geschichtchen liest man mit einem Schmunzeln, insbesondere die über das ständige Nicht-einhalten von Auslieferungsdaten von neuen Produkten bzw. die Vorab-Erkenntnisse über qualitative Mängel die unter den Teppich gekehrt werden. Jeder Microsoft-Benutzer wird wissen, was gemeint ist. Insgesamt sehr kurzweilig, wenngleich an einigen Stellen ein paar Dönkens zu viel erzählt werden und damit der Blick auf das ganze dadurch ein wenig verstellt wird. (Dies ist eine an der Uni-Studentenrezension.)
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am 21. September 1998
I think this book gives a good idea to the reader of what it was like, and still is like, to work at Microsoft. I agree with most of these other reviews, that a large corporation is fumbling around, it is mortal and that the story (as with any story) is told from a certain persons point of view. I don't agree the person who wrote it was a failure or a coward (as stated in another readers review). I believe this person is intelligent and was not appreciated by management in HIS eyes. How can he be wrong? We all have our own opinions and personalities, and if you don't like someones opinion or personality, it doesn't make them "wrong" or a "coward". (In my opinion).
I could relate with the problems and I understood the cause and the effect as they were well explained in the book.
I found this book hard to put down and enjoyed it immensely..Infact, it made me interested in learning more about Microsoft and other peoples stories that have been written. I went out and bought several more books on Microsoft, including two it mentions in the book, Hard Drive and another called Start-Up (the competition on Pen Computing that got squashed).
This way I can read as many sides of the story as possible and come up with my own opinion.
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am 29. April 1999
Mit diesem Buch erhält man einen neuen, spannenden Einblick in die Internas von Microsoft. Vor allen Dingen ist es interessant, die Zusammenhänge von Windows und OS/2 sowie deren Entwicklung zu erhalten. Im übrigen erinnert man sich, wie die Computerwelt noch vor wenigen Jahren ausgesehen hat, mit welchen Einschränkungen und Unbequemlichkeiten der User noch zu kämpfen hatte, die heute kaum noch vorstellbar sind. Außerdem wird hervoragend dargestellt, aufgrund welcher Zufälligkeiten die Computerwelt heute so und nicht anders aussieht. Außerdem gibt einem das Buch einen erstaunlichen Einblick, wie eine teilweise völlig chaotisch organisierte Firma zu teuersten Unternehmen der Welt werden konnte. Nach der Lektüre kann man kaum noch annehmen, daß Bill Gates alles bereits lange voraus in einem teuflischen Plan ausgeheckt hat, mit dem Ziel die Weltherrschaft zu erlangen. Insgesamt sehr empfehlenswert. In diesem Zusammenhang ist: Der Krieg des Codes. Wie Microsoft ein neues Betriebssystem entwickelt. von G. Pascal Zachary ebenfalls zu empfehlen. Hier wird dargestellt wie Microsoft NT entwickelt hat. Die Zusammenhänge zwischen den Büchern decken sich gut.
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am 9. Juli 1998
This book did a great marketing job targeting the general Non-Geek public which, to a large extent will determine the survival of most software companies. While the contents may sound like sour grape stories they do serve the purpose of give us a fairly accurate timeline of MS. Some of the behind scene stuff--if ture--are quite funny and entertaining. I must give it a A+ for the way emotions are portrayed, just as they are, and confirmed by the way some of these same characters expose themselves in public, e.g. Steve Ballmer etc. It also changed the way I see the "Browser War" and ramifications. The book's analysis of MS practise produced an unintentional (maybe) byproduct: the "Ultimate MScide strategy"--someone giving away an easy to use (for non-geeks) and superior operating system with a built-in browser that is also backward compatible to all MS operating systems and applications--for free, with the help of IE in downloading. In summary, we get to see some of "the means" as in "the end justify the means". More interesting perspectives would undoubtedly come from those former MS competitiors.
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am 30. Juni 1998
I saw how many reviewers gave this book one or two stars. I think that it deserves five stars because the authors had a unique perspective. They weren't afraid to say what they thought about Microsoft. Admittedly, it was biased, but that's to be expected. I have been a Microsoft fan and investor for a few years now. The company is a winner, no doubt about it. The book states that Bill Gates isn't as smart as people think he is. He isn't as smart as he thinks he is. Microsoft's success is largely due to Gates hiring the right people, such as Steve Ballmer and Nathan Myhrvold, for the job. They certainly have their flaws, but they make a great team that's more than the sum of its parts. They make their own opportunities in business. That's what an investor likes to see, so that's why I made Microsoft my largest investment. All of this controversy with the DOJ hasn't done very much- the stock is up about fifty-sixty percent since the beginning of the year. The book really shows you why Microsoft is so successful.
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am 3. November 1998
Jeder, der sich über den Erfolg von Microsoft gewundert hat, die seltsamen Wege des Software-Giganten verfolgt hat und immer wieder gefragt hat: "Warum, Microsoft?" findet hier die Antworten.
Dieses Buch beschreibt die Irrungen und Wirrungen einer führenden Firma auf der "Road ahead" - der Straße voraus. Microsoft von innen gesehen erklärt den Sinn, den man bei diesem Unternehmen von außen nicht erkennen kann.
Das Buch ist informativ aber unterhaltend geschrieben; offenbart die "Barbaren", die Bill Gates anführt; ein Lese-Muß für User und Nicht-User.
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am 13. September 2014
Having read the book more than 15 years after first publication, there is still a timeless aspect to the account from Eller and Edstrom on the inner life of Microsoft, which hasn't been properly highlighted so far: can success be planned?
From the stories on the making of various computer operating systems, one does get the impression that each big leap forward was made despite of, not because of company strategy. The book introduces hidden talents in the organization, neither part of big planning nor covered by company radar, who put all their creativity into preparing the next big thing during off-hours and weekends. This observation seems to match with a similar insider account on competing company Apple, published by Steve Wozniak in his autobiography "iWoz" in 2006.
One of the reasons why things are described chaotic is that Microsoft was in a transition phase during 1983 to 1995, the period mainly covered by the book. Like all companies growing mature, it started with entrepreneurial spirit, with a few trusted enthusiasts on adrenalin - just to get stuck in a big corporate structure later on. What Eller and Edstrom describe throughout many chapters: the shift from technology focus and getting-things-done approaches to inward-looking politics and marketing attitudes. Triggered by the growth of Microsoft, the change towards corporate structure and mentality did result in various reporting functions, assuming responsibility over software developments previously covered by a few programers only. These changes do attract a new kind of people, and in some cases do reject the old kind. With respect to planning of future successes, just setting up structures and business processes to capture customer and market needs is not sufficient. The right mix of people is the key. Breakthroughs do depend on talents and maniacs. Corporate structures do need to attract and keep them, even if they might be difficult to manage.
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