All empires fail, says the post-Cold War dictum, and that surely applies to dominant companies in technology, or any other market for that matter, as much as to nation empires.

Microsoft’s dominance is likely to be a moment in history, a thought that doesn’t seem possible at times. But the history of IBM, Big Blue, provides an interesting parallel to Microsoft and "Big Bill" Gates. If anyone understands this process, it’s probably Gates himself. Give him credit for being smart enough to run scared and for seeing the directions of likely threats.

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