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On this day 22 years ago, Bill Gates wrote his legendary “Internet Tidal Wave” memo

In the spring of 1995, thanks to the rapid commercialization of the world wide web, the world was on the cusp of the internet era—a shift with profound implications for Microsoft, the company that dominated PC software. Its cofounder and CEO Bill Gates responded with a five-alarm internal memo, “The Internet Tidal Wave,” that gave … Continue reading “On this day 22 years ago, Bill Gates wrote his legendary “Internet Tidal Wave” memo”

In the spring of 1995, thanks to the rapid commercialization of the world wide web, the world was on the cusp of the internet era—a shift with profound implications for Microsoft, the company that dominated PC software. Its cofounder and CEO Bill Gates responded with a five-alarm internal memo, “The Internet Tidal Wave,” that gave “the highest level of importance” to responding to this challenge in the most sweeping, ambitious manner possible..

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Gates was far from the only person who had figured out that the internet would change everything and might displace titans such as Microsoft. But his memo is still an impressively crisp, comprehensive analysis of what might happen, and how Microsoft might respond. (The company’s aggressive tactics against Netscape would eventually leave it in trouble with the U.S. Department of Justice.)

The whole memo is available for your perusal at Letters of Note.

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About the author

Harry McCracken is the technology editor for Fast Company, based in San Francisco. In past lives, he was editor at large for Time magazine, founder and editor of Technologizer, and editor of PC World.

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