Gates feared that a public offering would distract him and his employees. ''The whole process looked like a pain,'' he recalls, ''and an ongoing pain once you're public. People get confused because the stock price doesn't reflect your financial performance. And to have a stock trader call up the chief executive and ask him questions is uneconomic -- the ball bearings shouldn't be asking the driver about the grease.''
Windows 3.0, followed by the wildly successful Windows 3.1, caught them (as well as IBM) flatfooted. Microsoft already had applications tuned for the operating environment when it shipped, and ISVs had to play catch up. It didn’t help when Microsoft used hidden API calls in their applications, which made them much faster than competitors who used only official Windows APIs.
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