Internet Tidal Wave
The high-volume, high-profit model gave Microsoft a financial foundation that was far larger and more stable than any competitor could cobble together. It would have been easy to be lulled into a false sense of security and go soft. Gates fought that tendency ferociously over the years, repeating the mantra that any company is only two years from going out of business. Gates was nonetheless blindsided by the Internet, which emerged in the early 1990s to transform business as no force had since the computer itself.It was a turn in the road that Gates and Microsoft almost missed. Doing so would have been a crippling, if not fatal, error. Once again, Gates would enter a market pioneered by others, only to gain a major and in some ways dominant position.
Initially seeing the Internet as subordinate to desktop and server systems, as networks of all kinds had theretofore been, Gates had a revelatory series of insights that culminated in his famous "Internet Tidal Wave" memo of 1995, in which he declared the Internet to be the highest priority and that it must permeate everything the company did.