At a higher level, Gates seems more credible than Larry or Sergey to me. Totally biased by my history, but I'm pretty strong on that point. Gates mellowed out and seems more broadly interested in "greater good".
And this is all without going into how he tried to destroy Linux, control UNIX, successfully destroyed competing DOS platforms (eg DR DOS), blocked OEMs / shops from selling PCs with competing OSs (or was it machines without Windows preinstalled? I forget now), ruined EeePCs and their form factors (by selling With dies at a loss), etc.
I think the only reason Gates didn't try his luck with data collection was because it simply wasn't a thing back then.
That said, I do still respect the guy even though I disliked his products and how he monopolised the market. Which is more than I can say about Balmer.
Office 365 is accelerating that. No need for local Word, PowerPoint, Excel, etc.
I'd guess Microsoft gets most Windows sales from regular people buying regular laptops with Windows preinstalled. Most of them probably don't even know there is something else other than Windows.
I instinctively feel like ChromeOS and OSX (and mobile OS variants) are going to kill Windows desktop off. But I'm also aware I might be off base.
Around here ChromeOS is a kind of rare animal hardly seen on any consumer shop, and when it appears it is usually tied to some promotion to get rid of those in stock.
OS X is everywhere on northen Europe big cities, but go south or to the country side where many people dream to go over the 500€ barrier and it too becomes a rare animal.
Maybe it's because a computer is a significant expense, so people value price/performance more,
or maybe because schools have Windows PCs and nobody is used to OSX from young age.
For gaming, it's pretty much only choice, Macs have no hardware to handle them, and for Linux, I've tried switch many times, and it always been a hassle.
I've ended up with Ubuntu for work and Windows for everything else.
2. Gates left Microsoft.
3. Gates is good now.
5. Microsoft is good now.
Unless there is some weird "conscious uncoupling" thing that made them both better, what could step #4 be?