According to a draft of “Idea Man: A Memoir by the Co-founder of Microsoft,” as viewed by the WSJ, in the year Allen was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease, he listened in on a conversation between Gates and the charming Steve Ballmer, who was probably speaking a little too loudly.
Allen claims he heard the two talking about a lack of productivity – where they conjured up the idea to dilute his equity by issuing options to shareholders while lining their own pockets. Allen claims in the memoirs that he charged through the door, dodging a flurry of chairs, to shout at the then-Gruesome Twosome who did, eventually, apologise and forgetallaboutit.
Ballmer has not commented to the WSJ.
Despite the Gates and Ballmer’s joint plot falling on its backside, Allen claims that in the 70s Gates thought he was worth a 60 percent stake because he’d done more for programming in the beginning. Later, although Allen thought the two were equal partners, he claims Gates requested to move the share 64-36 in his favour, which Allen agreed to. Despite rolling over on shareholder agreements, Allen was denied an increase in Microsoft even though he’d been doing well on something called SoftCard. This left him cheesed off.
“In that moment, something died for me,” the Wall Street Journal quotes Allen as writing. “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 onto it.” That’s when he decided he’d eventually quit. We guess it was the straw that broke the camel’s back – eventually encouraging Allen to go nuts with suing the entire IT industry.
As the Simpsons lovingly points out in Season 9’s “Das Bus,” Bill Gates didn’t “get rich by writing lots of cheques.”
Allen’s memoirs will be out to buy soon. The worst case scenario is David Fincher and Trent Reznor get excited and release a spiritual prequel to The Social Network.