Robert X. Cringely On Microsoft: They're Wankers & Cowards

Robert X. Cringely is candid, if anything. Mr. Cringely has made a career of writing about the tech industry in a candid manner for more than two decades now. Both Apple and Microsoft have been featured prominently during those two decades, perhaps in part because of Mr. Cringelyis stint at Apple during the companyis early days.

In addition to his documentary on the birth of the PC industry called Triumph of the Nerds (US$49.95 from Amazon in both DVD and VHS), and his past work at tech magazines like InfoWorld, Mr. Cringely writes a weekly column for PBS called "i, cringely." In that column he continues to cover new developments in the tech industry. The Sydney Morning Herald has interviewed Mr. Cringely about his career, and, not too surprisingly, Apple and Microsoft both came up in the interview, including some rather interesting comments we thought you would enjoy. From the interview:

Think back to 1977. Robert Cringely is a brilliant programmer and Apple makes him lead for its operating system division. Have you ever wondered how things would have turned out if this had been the case?

This would never have happened. In my early days at Apple back in 1977 the entire technical department with the exception of the switching power supply was Steve Wozniak. There was no room for another OS guy and I would never compete with Woz for, well, anything. Okay, Iim better looking, but thatis all, and even thatis just on a good hair day.


Youive called Bill Gates a bright but poorly socialised kid under the age of nine. Youive called Steve Jobs a sociopath. Did either of these gentlemen give you something less than a kindly look the next time you met them?

Jobs is proud of being an a***hole. Gates doesnit mind his actions being described but he doesnit like people to characterise him (say why he does what he does). As such, Microsoft once used one of its classic threats (defy us and we will destroy you) against a book publisher of mine. I told the publisher they were wankers and cowards and wouldnit follow through on their threat. I was right.

Thereis more in the full interview at the Sydney Morning Heraldis Web site, and we recommend it as a very interesting read.