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Overdrive: Bill Gates and the Race to Control Cyberspace Paperback – May 6, 1998

17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

While Microsoft was occupied with the largest, most expensive consumer marketing effort in history, the launch of Windows 95, Netscape was equally busy capturing the Web browser market. By mid-1995 it looked as if Bill Gates and company had missed the paradigm shift created by the Internet, and many pundits doubted Microsoft could recover. Meanwhile, the Justice Department was aggressively investigating claims of unfair practices levied by Microsoft's competitors. Suddenly the company found itself in the unfamiliar role of lumbering corporate giant--and underdog. James Wallace's Overdrive, his sequel to Hard Drive, is the story of Microsoft's response to this challenge. A veteran investigative reporter, the author paints a vivid portrait of Gates's determination and competitive ferocity, with a host of revealing anecdotes and details as backdrop. The battle for control of cyberspace is far from over, but Microsoft is clearly not to be trifled with. The tale of how the company repositioned itself in the race makes for fascinating reading. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Wallace, coauthor of Harddrive: Bill Gates and the Making of the Microsoft Empire (1992), reports on Bill, ex-nerd with excess 'tude, Gates' latest venture: making mincemeat of Netscape and other Internet companies. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 315 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley (May 6, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471291064
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471291060
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.9 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,145,566 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 13, 1997
Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed reading Overdrive and while initialy
reserving judgement on a book that uses

journalistic sources rather than references,

appreciated alot of the connivery going on. The

observation about Philippe Kahn, a long time

nemesis who dared, and

Bill Gates, being like matter and anti-matter

trying to exist in the same space was great.

The Spyglass deal on how the legal manouveurs

came about to attain the Mosaic browser and the

amazement captured by quotes from the Spyglass

people directly involved when they found it was

to be distributed "free", was one word: amazing.

The plentiful quotes from all the people

involved, and the detail on the deal making

involved say with Java, the centrepiece of the

next revolution of technology, both in and

outside of Microsoft, bespeaks well of the energy

this author devoted to his topic and the obvious

cooperation he received from everyone involved

but surprisingly, the increasingly withdrawn,

Bill Gates.

I think however that Wallace should have put more

into his closing chapter, leaving a certain empty

feeling just after closing the book. I thought a

more speculative ending with more on the likely

fallout of the dichotomy between Gates balancing

anti-competitive restraints on unfavourable

change with the favourable change, all within his

control, would have been more enlightening.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Edward on June 18, 2000
Format: Paperback
Don't miss this book if u had read James Wallace's Hard Drive: Bill Gates and the making of Microsoft empire. Because this book contain Gates's next way to mantain his empire from internet wave. Just like Hard Drive ,this book is well written: Complete and detail but still easy to read and understand. It is still the easiest to read and understand Gates's book compare with other similar book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Explorer5@iname.com on July 1, 1998
Format: Hardcover
This book filled the gap that was left after HardDrive left off. but of course, i would want an update to this book already, its been out just over a year, and its almost outdated. Just to show you how fast Microsoft moves
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 2, 1997
Format: Hardcover
A lot of book exist about the story of Microsoft from its start to about 1993-1994. Until now there wasn't one detailing the events after that year.
Starting from the day of the Windows 95 world wide widespread (I just need 3 W words!) it take us on a tour about what happened in the last years, from the legal causes to the main change of road that has taken Microsoft to be a dominant player also in the Internetet market.
The book has its major flaws in the fact that sometimes is not so deep and leaves a lot of things pending. Beside that it talks a lot about how a judge was about to change the ruling of the FTC based on author previous book. I don't live in America but I think that american judges could go deeper that a single book (it seems a sort of free promotion of its previuos book!). Also the parte about Gates marriage is a little to long, but it's fun.

Despite all this flaws the book has one HUGE merit: it's the only that exist now about the subject. I think it's worth reading, but maybe an update release in one year or so would be very appreciated by readers (maybe just one two chapter free of charge on the web would be nice)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Shubham S Nagar on April 16, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is a very informative and eye-opening book on the policies of Microsoft. What I didn't like in here is that a lot of material that has nothing to do with the main subject matter has been discussed at length. I don't understand why a whole chapter (out of a total of about 6) has been devoted to Mr. Gates' wedding. There is also some discussion on the history of the island where his wedding took place!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 5, 1998
Format: Paperback
This is interesting book where, gate is portrayed as aggressive, super-smart business man who knows how to make the right moves in business, which makes him forgo ethics & unspoken rules. Catching the attention of the FTC.
great read for anyone curious on knowing the innards of software corporates & the role of the DOJ & FTC.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 10, 1997
Format: Hardcover
After reading Hard Drive, the prequel to OverDrive last summer, I was left with a huge gap from where the book left off, to where Microsoft is now. This book fills that gap. For a perosn who really likes Microsoft, ar at least really wants to know what really happens over there in Redmond, this is a great book to read
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Harinath Thummalapalli on August 9, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This is one of the best written books out there on Bill Gates and the reason seems to be the journalistic background of the author that is so well suited for this kind of biographical account. The book has numerous real life stories of not just Gates but other legends as well like Marc Andreessen. Like me, you may also find that it is hard to put this book down once you pick it up and start reading it (almost on any page, any chapter).
If you are in the Information Technology field, you will no doubt thoroughly enjoy this book but it isn't written just for someone knowledgeable in computers. Almost anyone can read this book with little difficulty as the focus is not on technology terms but on the lives behind the technology and the Internet revolution. After reading this book, you will definitely catch up on the events of the last 15 years or so that have changed the world into one filled with computers and the Internet everywhere.
The paper used in the hard cover edition of this book feels strange to the touch and is not the normal paper you would find in most books. It feels more like cheap paper with a strange white color and the font used throughout looks like one of the generic fonts from the eighties. This alone discouraged me from reading this book for the first few months after I had bought it. But when I finally decided to read it, I instantly moved it to the top of my reading list.
If you are a budding entrepreneur wanting to topple Bill Gates' empire with some revolutionary idea that you are building in your garage or apartment, you HAVE to read this book. It is inspirational as it gets the hair on the back of your neck to stand up for most of the book and it gives you raw data to analyze and strategize how to succeed in this highly competitive market place.
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