cover image Gates


Stephen Manes. Doubleday Books, $25 (541pp) ISBN 978-0-385-42075-4

According to this ``independent'' biography, the computer whiz kid, Harvard dropout, youngest self-made billionaire ever William Henry ``Bill'' Gates III (b. 1955) has dominated the immense, dramatic story of America's electronic revolution. Manes, a former columnist for PC/computing magazine, and Seattle Times high-tech reporter Andrews combine authoritative discussions of technology with a clear and entertaining prose style. They explain how Gates and his partner commercialized computer software back in 1975; today, as cofounder and chairman of the Seattle-based Microsoft Corp., Gates supplies a multibillion-dollar world market with the leading software programs. Most interesting is the glimpse of the turbulent 20-year history of the computer industry--geometrically expanding invention; products that prove incompatible or instantly obsolete; controversy; deception; promotional hype; all-or-nothing gambles; and cooperation, competition and high-stakes litigation. Photos not seen by PW. (Jan.)