In the past couple of weeks, the co-founders of Microsoft and Twitter have been attached to the same kinds of unsavory stories that have long dogged the people behind Facebook, Apple, Zynga and other top tech firms. What is it about computers and money that instills villainy?
As Tom Foremski at Silicon Valley Watcher has noticed, it seems like there's been a spate of news about ethics-challenged startup founders lately. Paul Allen says in his new book that fellow Microsoft founder Bill Gates twice watered down Allen's stake in Microsoft—with Allen's consent but to his later regret—before later discussing with current CEO Steve Ballmer ways to dilute him further after Allen took a leave of absence for cancer treatment and his productivity dropped. The "spiritual leader" of Twitter and man who coined the company's name, meanwhile, still feels betrayed that he was fired by eventual Twitter CEO Ev Williams after Williams took a stronger interest in the microblogging service that Glass had been instrumental in developing and had championed from the beginning. Williams also left a bitter trail of colleagues at Blogger.com, the company he co-founded and later sold to Google.