Force of Personality
Although he was a thorn in the side of competitors, Gates could not have reached the heights he did without something more: a force of personality that has attracted many of the best minds in the industry to Microsoft. Tim Paterson, the creator of QDOS, came to work for Microsoft; Dave Cutler came over from Digital Equipment Corp. to lead the development of Windows NT; Jim Allchin, a visionary software architect who created the Banyan VINES operating system, came to Microsoft to head development; and when Gates sought a successor as chief software architect, he persuaded Ray Ozzie, the brains behind Lotus Notes, to take up the mantle.
And while Microsoft had plenty of enemies, a critical key to the company's success has been the vast number of friendly developers the company has courted and encouraged over the years. The seemingly limitless installed base of Windows has guaranteed that even small application developers will have a large, and therefore profitable, market into which to sell. The company has attracted some 640,000 solution partners, while 4.3 million people have gained certification in Microsoft technologies.