Until now, it was just kind of assumed that Microsoft co-founders Bill Gates and Paul Allen were the best of friends. But excerpts from Allen’s new book, “Idea Man: A Memoir by the Co-founder of Microsoft,” published in Vanity Fair paint a far different picture.
Among the claims Allen makes in the book:
1. Allen believes Gates cheated him out of his fair shair of Microsoft profits: He thought they would split their partnership down the middle, 50-50, but Gates — arguing that he’d logged more hours than Allen — pushed (and got Allen to agree to) 64-36. “I’d been taught that a deal was a deal,” Allen writes, “and your word was your bond.”
“Our formal partnership agreement, writes Allen, “signed on February 3, 1977, had two other provisions of note. Paragraph 8 allowed an exemption from business duties for “a partner who is a full-time student,” a clause geared to the possibility that Bill might go back for his degree. And in the event of ‘irreconcilable differences,’ paragraph 12 stated, Bill could demand that I withdraw from the partnership.”
2. Allen slams Gates’ management style, writing “Some said Bill’s management style was a key ingredient in Microsoft’s early success. But that made no sense to me.” He claims that Gates “prowled” the Microsoft parking lot on weekends to see who’d made it in and was verbally abusive to employees, saying things like, “that’s the stupidest f***ing thing I’ve ever heard” and “I could code that in a weekend.”
3. Allen claims he left Microsoft in 1983 because of his unhappiness with Gates and that Gates tried to buy him out of his Microsoft shares with a low-ball offer.
Allen, of course, refused and is now one of the world’s richest men.
Hmm, could “Idea Man” be “The Social Network” of 2012?