Monday, 30 June 2008

Extracted from BBC column on Bill Gates

It would be easy to compare Gates to Lear, who gave up power but still demanded obeisance. We can imagine the inheritors of Microsoft fighting to dominate the company, though probably not putting each others eyes out in the fight between Ozzie’s instincts towards openness and Ballmer’s rigid belief that competition is there to be crushed not compromised with.

But perhaps he’s more like Prospero in The Tempest, who used his magical gifts to bring about a resolution in which virtue was rewarded, evil punished but then forgiven, and all made well by a man of honour who had the good sense to break his staff and bury it fathoms deep. Prospero was cruel, deceitful and harsh in pursuit of what he saw as the greater good, but he managed a satisfactory resolution to the story before his departure:

this rough magic
I here abjure, and, when I have required
Some heavenly music, which even now I do,
To work mine end upon their senses that
This airy charm is for, I'll break my staff,
Bury it certain fathoms in the earth,
And deeper than did ever plummet sound
I'll drown my book.

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