From the Oral History Gets Distorted desk: Hacker News * links today to a 2004 Business Week story, recounting the vastly-different accounts of how Microsoft entered into its original operating-system license agreement with IBM, which started Bill Gates on the road to being a billionaire.
Legend has it that IBM initially approached software pioneer Gary Kildall, seeking to license his widely-used CP/M operating system, but Kildall wasn’t interested (“Gary went flying instead,” goes the story). Whereupon IBM asked Gates whether MIcrosoft could do the job; Microsoft bought the rights to a CP/M workalike; and the rest is history.
But the legend leaves out some crucial details . . . .
* Hacker News is a legitimate and very-popular site for ‘hackers’ in the original sense of the term, which refers to highly-skilled programmers.