Starting a business with your friend? Not always a good idea. Just look at Paul Allen who co-founded Microsoft with childhood friend Bill Gates. Allen is now a billionaire beyond belief, owning sports teams and super yachts, but his new book is taking jabs at Bill Gates and makes it look like Allen was more important in Microsoft than he really was.
In the book, Idea Man: A Memoir by the Co-founder of Microsoft, due out April 17th, Allen put himself in meetings that former Microsoft employees only remember Gates being at and claimed he was the sparkplug for a lot of the ideas at Microsoft, downplaying the role of Bill Gates. The WSJ says Allen sounds like a bitter man unhappy about receiving proper due for Microsoft. He's the 57th richest man in the world!
Allen's book paints a pretty ugly image of Gates too. Allen says that when he was having his bout with Hodgkin's disease, Gates and Steve Ballmer tried to oust him from Microsoft because he wasn't working enough. Supposedly, they wanted to dilute his shares:
"I had helped start the company and was still an active member of management, though limited by my illness, and now my partner and my colleague were scheming to rip me off. It was mercenary opportunism, plain and simple."
When Allen, healthy and working more after his bout with cancer, wanted an increase of shares in Microsoft, Gates rebuffed him:
"In that moment, something died for me. I'd thought that our partnership was based on fairness, but now I saw that Bill's self-interest overrode all other considerations. My partner was out to grab as much of the pie as possible and hold on to it, and that was something I could not accept."
He comforted himself with the thought that one day he'd be out of there. And out of there he was! Now worth around $13 billion, one would think he'd be happy enough on how things turned out. But I guess even billionaires can want more. Read more about Paul Allen's bitterness toward Bill Gates at the WSJ. [WSJ]