• “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”
  • “If you give people tools, [and they use] their natural ability and their curiosity, they will develop things in ways that will surprise you very much beyond what you might have expected.”
  • “Intellectual property has the shelf life of a banana.”
  • “There’s only one trick in software, and that is using a piece of software that’s already been written.”
  • “It’s not manufacturers trying to rip anybody off or anything like that. There’s nobody getting rich writing software that I know of.”
  • “Great organizations demand a high level of commitment by the people involved.”
  • “About three million computers get sold every year in China, but people don’t pay for the software. Someday they will, though. As long as they are going to steal it, we want them to steal ours. They’ll get sort of addicted, and then we’ll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade.”


  • “Every day were saying, ‘How can we keep this customer happy?’ How can we get ahead in innovation by doing this, because if we don’t, somebody else will.”
  • “It’s easier for our software to compete with Linux when there’s piracy than when there’s not.”
  • “Microsoft has had clear competitors in the past. It’s a good thing we have museums to document that.”
  • “If something is expensive to develop, and somebody’s not going to get paid, it won’t get developed. So you decide: Do you want software to be written, or not?”
  • “If you show people the problems and you show people the solutions they will be moved to act.”
  • “If you can’t make it good, at least make it look good.”
  • “In this business, by the time you realize you’re in trouble, it’s too late to save yourself. Unless you’re running scared all the time, you’re gone.”
  • “Intellectual property has the shelf life of a banana.”
  • “Microsoft is not about greed. It’s about innovation and fairness.”


  • “In three years, every product my company makes will be obsolete. The only question is whether we will make them obsolete or somebody else will.”
  • “We’re responsible for the creation of the PC industry. The whole idea of compatible machines and lots of software.. that’s something we brought to computing. And so it’s a responsibility for us to make sure that things like security don’t get in the way of that dream.”
  • “People always fear change. People feared electricity when it was invented, didn’t they?”
  • “This is a fantastic time to be entering the business world, because business is going to change more in the next 10 years than it has in the last 50.”
  • “Whether it’s Google or Apple or free software, we’ve got some fantastic competitors and it keeps us on our toes.”
  • “Make it just like a Mac.”


  • “At Microsoft there are lots of brilliant ideas, but the image is that they all come from the top — I’m  afraid that’s not quite right.”
  • “The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.”
  • “I choose a lazy person to do a hard job. Because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it.”

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