Buy Used
$4.00
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Used: Good | Details
Sold by owlsbooks
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Book is used, fast shipping and great customer service.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Barbarians Led by Bill Gates Hardcover – August 15, 1998


See all 5 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$0.86 $0.01

Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.; lst ed edition (August 15, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805057544
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805057546
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,328,603 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

How has Microsoft been able to crush its competition every step of the way? The company's own version of history ascribes it to something like "really great technical innovation." Barbarians Led by Bill Gates presents a harsher and messier history, sharply questioning Microsoft's ethics and corporate wisdom while underscoring its fierce will to compete.

The authors present a history of Microsoft from the early '80s to the present, covering the big projects, both successes and failures, that defined the company's direction. It's a difficult story to tell, filled with complex technology and a large cast of characters who are rarely in the public eye.

Perhaps the most surprising thing to emerge is how many Microsoft ventures were mismanaged and how many opportunities were missed. The best-known of these is Microsoft's near-catastrophic failure to see the arrival and success of the Internet. The book also details the unplanned success of Windows 3.0, the demise of Pen Windows (which annihilated GO Corp. and its promising Penpoint operating system but little else), and the compromised design and slow success of Windows 95. A final chapter tackles the Netscape-Microsoft Web-browser war and Microsoft's head-on collision with the Justice Department.

Both authors are, in different ways, Microsoft insiders. Jennifer Edstrom is the daughter of Pam Edstrom, Gates's long-time PR chief and spin doctor. Marlin Eller is a 13-year veteran Microsoft developer who has worked on DOS, early versions of Windows, and pen computing. Both stand open to the charge of having an ax to grind, and the reader senses a lot of personal animosity at work. Yet anyone who has followed Microsoft for any length of time will recognize most of the war stories from other sources, and most of the new information presented has the ring, at least, of probability. Indeed, the value of this book is not so much in presenting new information as in marshaling it to paint a portrait of a company that has largely escaped this sort of scrutiny. --Thomas Mace

Review

Barbarians Led by Bill Gates is a timely but uneven behind-the-scenes peek at the software-industry leader, Microsoft Corp. Although individual incidents, such as Microsoft's foray into a pen-based interface, are worth noting, they don't add up to a substantially new perception of the company. It's a story we've heard before. Perhaps Barbarians loses focus precisely because it tries to adopt such a broad perspective toward its subject. The book's prose doesn't help; the wooden writing is obvious from the resounding thud made by jokes such as "Beware of geeks bearing gifts." -- Upside

Although readers not particularly enamored of computer culture will be bored silly, for those interested ... Edstrom and Eller dish up the dirt.... While the book can be entertaining, the sound of large axes being ground becomes quite noticeable. -- The New York Times Book Review, J.D. Biersdorfer

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

I always wondered what happened, and even after reading his book, I still don't know.
Gregory N. Hullender
The book seem to be stuck together from notes by Eller and Edstrom without really meshing the two.
dfox@solutechinc.com
In combination with the sarcastic anecdotes I consider it a highly entertaining book.
Henning Dekant (quax@frontiernet.net)

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Henning Dekant (quax@frontiernet.net) on September 3, 1998
Format: Hardcover
This book will have an impact on the case against Microsoft, since Eller was in charge of an effort to squeeze a start-up Pen Computing firm. In this particular case the book describes very openly the Microsoft practice to fabricate fake product demos in order to create the impression that they would be able to come up with comparable competitive products any time soon. This vaporware approach together with the ruthless marketing methods described in this book gives an interesting insight into how this industry works.
It is notable that the reviewer here either tend to hate or love this book. It makes me wonder how many MS employees reviewed this book ;-)
In combination with the sarcastic anecdotes I consider it a highly entertaining book.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Gadgester HALL OF FAME on May 8, 2000
Format: Paperback
It's always good to have an "insider's view" book. At the same time, when this guy is an ex-employee, you should always ask yourself: why did he leave, and what does he have to gain from writing a book like this?
The authors are evidently very anti-Microsoft, yet at the same time their stories come across not so much as how stupid Microsoft is, but how mismanaged and lucky Gates & Company have been, which is closer to the truth than many people think. Some other books describe Gates and his employees as evil, but this book would characterize them as rather incompetent. It offers a detailed look into how Microsoft committed so many business goofs and yet every time it would come out the winner. After reading it you may even feel sorry for Bill Gates for having to fight so many enemies on so many fronts, some internal.
A book worth reading.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Stephen P. Arrants on June 1, 1998
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A bit of a disclaimer--I worked at Microsoft from 1986 through 1992, with some of the same people Mr. Eller worked with (though in different groups). This is an interesting view of what it was like to work at Microsoft and how the company operates. Even if you worked there, there are stories and situations that didn't make it to the company grapevine. Still, Mr. Eller's interactions with some Microsoft executives doesn't jibe with my experiences. I don't have the same memories of Ballmer, Myhrvold, and Slyngstad as he does. It WAS incredibly competitive, it WAS high-pressure, but it was also the most rewarding and fun place I've ever worked at. It is interesting to read about the behind the scenes decisions and personalities. The book falters a bit when it describes Microsoft after 1995, and the third-person narrative is clunky. Still, if you can acknowledge and accept the biases of the authors, it does tell an interesting story. Unfortunately, the real story of what it was like to work on campus at Microsoft isn't written yet.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Fretwell on July 5, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is easily read in one or two sittings. Highly readable, not dry or boring at all, even though the authors do have an axe to grind. Anyone who has an interest in the history of the computer industry will find it very entertaining. If you liked "Fire in the Valley," as I did, this is a supplement to that book with a focus on Gates and Microsoft. At the price of $4.99 (as of 7-05-2001) you can't beat it for some light summer reading!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 11, 1999
Format: Paperback
Despite what many people have said about this book, I found it very intriguing to have learned many problems that Microsoft faced before becoming the name it is today. Who knew that they had many internal problems with programmers from IBM. No one really. This book spills the beans on how Microsoft and luck made them the giant company they are today. This book will inform the reader on many unknowns about Microsoft that I'm positive no one ever knew.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Lisa Tichenor on May 26, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Its a good thing that Marlin Eller made millions at Microsoft, because he certainly couldn't make a living as a writer. Fortunately, what the book lacks in writing style, it more than makes up with informative content. The inside stories on Gates, Ballmer, and Myhrvold are worth the price of the book alone. If we are to believe the authors, then Gates is a detached, profane, bully, Ballmer is a cheerleader turned cult leader, and Myhrvold has no grasp of reality. I especially liked the anecdote about how Dave Weise single-handedly snatched Microsoft from the jaws of obscurity by reviving Windows 3.0. At the end of the book I was left wondering whether Eller was bashing Microsoft because he was an innocent witness, a disgruntled employee, or protecting the value of his Microsoft stock options (which are threatened by the DoJ).
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By venke@unforgettable.com on May 25, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Really cool description about how Microsoft(MS) does biz. Author tracks MSs story right from the beginning of time when MS was trading as a penny stock. He pretty humorously points out a lot of flaws (who doesn't) in MSs biz model and how luck favored MS all the time.. and how MS is becoming corrpupt slowly... may be due to its success
The acronyms that prevail in MSs biz environment has been very funnily described. I could not control my laughter when he says that the marketing people are better equipped in sucking upto IBM.
Looks like the author ended up working in the unsuccessful pen computing project and ended up losing his importance and power in MS. This has been reflected through out the book but for a few chapters. So, the moral of the story is: "If you are in IT field watch out what you are doing, you better bet on the right horse" Kinda hard to do, but atleast you should put an effort.
Overall, it is a really funny book on technology and has been published at the right time. Overall its a great book and would make a good coffee table book as long as MS/DOJ was goes on..
Uncle Bill should read this...
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews


What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?