MAKING A PRODUCT IS NOT SO HARD, BUT GETTING paid is another matter—a common plight among entrepreneurs. Some young companies go out of business over accounts receivable alone, but not this one. Microsoft started out quite modestly by making software for hobbyists. In December 1974, Paul Allen, who was working at Honeywell near Boston, showed Bill Gates a Popular Mechanics magazine featuring a $397 computer kit that a hobbyist could build. There was a glaring lack for this product, however: software. Gates and Allen contacted the company that made the kit, MITS, and said they had software for the new computer (they didn’t).
But after working more or less day and night for eight weeks, they did produce a version of BASIC and showed their work to the company. MITS liked what it saw and contracted for more. Gates dropped out of Harvard, and the pair moved to New Mexico to be near their client and start what would become Microsoft.
The young Micro-soft (they later dropped the hyphen) added five clients in the early days, but they all went bankrupt. Things were shaky, but Gates and crew pressed on. Sometimes it takes a change of scenery to right the ship, and so it was with Microsoft—in 1979 the company moved to Seattle to more easily attract programmers.
The next year, in 1980, IBM commissioned Gates to provide an operating system for its first personal computer. Instead of building one from scratch, he purchased a system called QDOS (Quick and Dirty Operating System) for $50,000 from another company. He changed the name to MS-DOS, and licensed it to IBM.
The IBM personal computer was a success. Licensing fees for the operating system flowed to Microsoft and ensured the company’s survival. Eventually, Microsoft would surpass IBM, becoming more than twice its size. Gates showed that if you can find a way to survive the lean times, you put yourself in position for the better times. First survive, and then triumph.
Sumber : Sarkett, John A. 2007. Extraordinary Comeback : 201 inspiring stories of courage, triumph and success. Naperville, Illinois : Sourcebook, Inc.
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