The Tragik Historie of William Gates, Lord of Redmond

It is often said that the works of Shakespeare are timeless, that the stories they tell are every bit as true today as when they were first penned centuries ago.

This comes from a recently unearthed and badly tattered copy that I discovered, detailing the rise and fall of the power-mad William Gates, Lord of Redmond. As I decipher and reconstruct the script I will make it available here as a resource to all students and scholars of Shakespeare.


BILL GATES, Lord of Redmond
PAUL ALLEN, retainer to the Lord of Redmond
STEVE BALLMER, Captain of the Guard to the House of Redmond

STEVE JOBS, the Count of Cupertino
STEVE WOZNIAK, apothecary to the Count of Cupertino
JOHN SCULLEY, vassal to Jobs
ADVISORS to the Count
BOARD MEMBERS of the Senate of Cupertino

GARY KILDALL, Founder of Digital Research
DOROTHY, Lady Kildall

ROSENCRANTZ, aide to the King of IBM

TIM PATERSON, an alchemist in Seattle



Scene I - An open field, thunder and lightning

[Enter three WITCHES]

When shall we three meet again?
In thunder, lightning, or in rain?

When the hurlyburly's done,
When the battle's lost and won.

That will be ere the set of sun.

Where the place?

Upon the heath.

There to meet with Gates.

Fair is foul and foul is fair
Hover through the fog and filthy air.

Scene II - A great mead-hall in Cupertino

A toast, fair gentlemen, to our accomplishments,
For freed have we the heavy shackles of IBM
From the full and illustrious realm of computing,
And deliver'd it unto the masses.
Embarked we are together on a voyage,
If we are marked to fail, we are enow
To do geekdom loss; and if to succeed,
The fewer men the greater share of honor.
Proclaim it, Wozniak, through my host,
That he who has no stomach to this venture,
Let him depart; his severance shall be made,
And crowns for convoy put into his purse:
We would not hack in that man's company
That fears his fellowship to geek with us.
This age marks the computer revolution;
He that outlives this age, and succeeds,
Will stand a tip-toe when this age is name'd,
And rouse him at the name of computing.
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he'll remember with advantages
What feats he did our age: then shall our names,
Familiar in their mouths as household words,
Jobs and Wozniak, Tech Model Railroad Club,
Homebrew Computer Club, Intel and Altair,
Be in their flowing cups freshly remember'd
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And the computer revolution shall ne'er go by
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered
We few, we happy few, we band of hackers;
For he today that writes code with me
Shall be my brother, be he ne'er so vile,
That day shall gentle his condition
And gentlemen working on old mainframes
Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here
And hold their technical skills cheap while any speaks
That hacked with us in this computer revolution!

To the Apple II, then, a computer
But not just a computer, for it is a different breed
From the lumbering fossils grazing in raised floors
But a personal computer, for the person individual,
Indeed, a computer for the rest of us,
Liberated have we from corporate IT.

Huzzah! Huzzah! To Jobs! To Apple!

Scene III - The cave of the three witches

A drum, a drum!
Bill Gates doth come


So foul and fair a day I have not seen.

All hail Bill Gates! Hail to thee, ruler of BASIC!

All hail Bill Gates! Hail to thee, ruler of operating systems!

All hail Bill Gates, that shall be the Monopolist hereafter!

My noble partner you greet
With present grace and great predictions
Of noble having and of royal hope

By my troth I know I am the ruler of BASIC.
But how of operating systems?
Duke Kildall lives yet,
And CP/M doth hold much sway o'er the lands
And to be Monopolist! Yea, that
Stands not within the prospect of belief
Speak, and do say from whence
You owe this strange intelligence.

We hear tidings from the land of IBM

They have eyed the fortunes of Jobs with great avarice.

And wish to repeat those successes.

But time they have naught,
And software they need
Software to run their new. . . PC!

Will not the forces of Big Blue
Entreat Duke Kildall for CP/M
And Lord Gates for BASIC
Is this not true?

Truly hast thou spoke, but verily,
Fate shall receive what Fate wants
And in your Fate lies the path to domination,
If you shall take the price.

By what conjuring and fine magiks
Will you deflect the forces of Big Blue
And steer them toward my hands?

From you but this we require
That you come again before this week expire
There to fuel the burning fires,
And there to hear what we desire.

Will thou accept?

I shall, though I know not the road ahead.
Ladies, I entrust myself to your workings.


Then the deed is done, Fate deflected,
And Kildall no more feared and respected.
As for him, fair weather's foul,
And for you, foul weather's fair,
For when the weather is good,
Kildall and his fortunes will take to the air!

Scene IV - The castle of Duke Kildall

This day you will with IBM meet
With them their contract you will entreat.
Ere the sun will set this day,
The IBM PC will go our way.

Indeed, my lady, you have spoken true
Of the operating system I'll provide for Big Blue

[The clouds part, revealing a bright, sunny day perfect for flying]

Hark! What is this?
Does the weather turn fair this day?
Where the sun shines and people play?
With corporate suits I must meet?
Shall I away?
Lo, this day be too fair for I
And I wish to my private plane fly.

But the envoy from IBM comes this way

I shall meet with them some other day.

Scene V - Outside the gates of Castle Kildall

Duke Kildall deigns not to meet.
Our contracts and blessings he does not entreat.

Who makes operating systems who we can greet?

Gates of Redmond shall we away to speak.
A little songbird hath told me
That he may know of an operating system fine
To be ready for our computer before ship time
And whose sales will our general coffers fill
And all shall be rewarded and wine and dine.

If Gates to us an operating system feed,
The services of Kildall shall we no longer need.

Then let us away, to the land of Redmond
For this fair weather be foul for Kildall,
Mayhaps the foul weather be fair for Gates.


Scene VI - The cave of the three witches

The weather foul became fair
And Kildall took to the air
In his plane did he fly
While the envoy from IBM waited by.

The envoy of IBM turned and left the deal

Off to Redmond, to speak with Gates

About an operating system for him to make

[Enter GATES]

I have returned, as you demanded.

We will later ask your price remanded.

But hear this, and listen well
The importance of this shall time will tell.

Speak; I am all ears
For any path to respect and fear.

The envoy from IBM did not with Kildall speak
And shall soon be at your castle door to greet
But they will expect from you a thing
Which you be not possessing

Pray tell, what is it that they wish to see?

But what else, an operating system for their PC.

Go forth then, into thy city of Seattle
There to find an alchemist fine
Who has some software for your product line
His name is Tim Paterson, and his
Laboratory be Seattle Computer Works.

Find him, and find your fortune
Purchase QDOS, whatever the cost
With this shall you welcome IBM in
And from here shall your fortunes begin.

I thank thee for your advice.
Ballmer, go forth and bring me this QDOS!

It shall be as you say, my lord.


[Gates finds the mage Paterson, and purchases QDOS for $50,000 and sells it to IBM]


Scene I - A large presentation in Cupertino

Friends, Hackers, Countrymen, lend me your ears!
I come to speak of Macintosh, not to praise it.
The works that men do lives after them;
The story of their making oft interred with their bones.
So let it be with the Macintosh. The mighty IBM
Hath told you the personal computer was great
But its unfriendliness is a grievous fault,
And grievously hath IBM answered it.
Here, without leave of Gates and the rest
For Gates is a visionary man
So are they all, all visionary men
Come I to bring to you the Macintosh.
Apple computers hath brought many computers home to families
Whose lives and work they did improve.
Was this in Gates visionary?
When the businesses did cry, Visicalc did come
To Apple computers first.
Did this in Gates seem visionary?
Yet Gates says that he is visionary,
And Gates is an honorable man.
I speak not to disprove what Gates spoke
But I am here to speak what I do know.
You all did use Apples once, not without cause.
What cause withholds you from buying them now?
O judgement! Thou art fled to brutish beasts,
And people buy PC's

Visionary claims without visionary deeds
Speaks Jobs of Gates?

Listen on, for it seems
Jobs shall reveal something.

But yesterday the machines of Apple might
Have stood against the world; now the PC has come
And no one to know the better.
O masters, if I were disposed to stir
Your hearts and minds to seek better computers,
I should do Gates wrong, and IBM wrong,
Who, you all know, are visionary men.
I will not do them wrong; I rather choose
To wrong the masses, to wrong myself and you,
Than I will wrong such visionary men.
But here's a new computer with the mark of Apple
We made it in our labs: 'tis the Macintosh
Let but the commons hear of the features
Which, pardon me, I do not intend to flaunt
And they would go to the stores and buy them in droves
Yea, demand from all user-friendly software
And intuitive user interfaces
Bequeathing it as a rich legacy
Unto their issue

Speak, Jobs, and convey to us this great wonder!
The Mac! The Mac! Tell us of the Mac!

Have patience, gentle friends, I must not speak of it
It is not meet that you know how Insanely Great the Mac is
You are not wood, you are not stones, but men
And being men, hearing the idea of Macintosh,
It will inflame you, it will excite you
Tis good that you are stuck with bland IBM PC's
For if you had an exciting computer, O what should come of it?

Tell us of the Macintosh; we'll hear of it!

You will compel me then, to speak of Macintosh?
Then make a ring about the demo Macintosh
And let me show you that which will change the world.
Shall I descend? And will you give me leave?

Come down

You shall have leave

Room for Jobs - most noble Jobs

If you have memories, prepare to reminisce now.
You all do remember the command prompt. I remember
The first time ever I saw of it. It was most unintuitive,
And being unintuitive, required the user to master
Many arcane incantations and secret chanting
To get the machine to do his bidding.
But during the Ides of March,
Before midsummer last, I saw a creation, a
Most marvelous creation, at Xerox PARC.
It was called the Alto, and drew from it I did
To create the Macintosh. It had not commands,
Not programs obscure, but pictures, and
Pictures, being worth a thousand words,
Do govern the interaction betwixt man and machine.
Speak not of control keys, nor commands,
Nor text-based user interfaces, but instead,
Speak of graphics and pointers, where on screen
What you see is what you get, faithfully
Transmitted o'er the aether as other Apples talk,
Where thou shall point to select, from the functions many
Rather than issuing forth sequences memorized.
Behold! I give to you the Macintosh.

[JOBS demonstrates the Macintosh, to the pleasure of the crowd]

Graphical user interfaces, elegant and intuitive,
I have left to you, and your heirs forever,
A new paradigm of computing, to let you
Educate and empower yourselves.
Here was a Macintosh! When comes such another?

[cheers from the CITIZENS]

Scene II - Castle Redmond

Come now, and say what troubles your mind

Your empire, hastily built, lives under a threat
Which your reign doth end if you are not set
You all did see the Insanely Great
Old and drab did it our computers make.

With mouse and pointer, the people follow,
And they follow where Jobs' pointer points
Yea, in the schools and universities of this land
Jobs hath bequeathed many a Macintosh,
And gratis, to win their hearts and minds

I do see what you speak, and I like it not
For Apple has the innovation that we have naught
Lest we be unprepared and our pants down caught
Let us ensure such technologies for us be bought.

Between you and Jobs, there is no love lost
And his pride the Mac you'll dearly cost

License it from him you will not.

I see the problem; the threat be real
But this is something we can steal
Sue us they may o'er look and feel
We'll stand them still, from reel to reel.
And when the deed is done and sets the sun,
We'll gaze upon the markets we have won
Cry havoc! And let slip the dogs of war
Windows will be out ere this day is done.

Be you so bold to steal their ideas?
T'was not long before that thou,
For a mere pittance, did steal
QDOS from the young alchemist Paterson
And did proclaim it as thine own,
Selling it unto IBM, and from thus,
Having reaped thy fortune.
People have forgotten not, and have
Long memories, even in this industry
Of the short-lived.

I am, and I do, and to you I claim
History says fortune favors the brave
And the people are very easily swayed.
Concern yourselves not with my machinations
As I steal the Macintosh from under Jobs' watchful eye
And in the taking, proclaim it as my own.
I shall present it unto the people, and say:
Behold, it is called Windows, and it is new,
And such innovation the industry has not seen.
For this, unlike any other, shall ignite the flames
Of Industry; and Microsoft shall lead all
Into the winter of our discontent.

Do you take people for fools? For surely,
As the sun sets in the west at the end of every day,
So too will they see through your lies
And know you are but full of empty promises.

But believe the lie they will,
And use Windows they will, for I shall send
Thinly veiled threats, and inside deals,
To the major PC makers, to preinstall Windows
And in so doing, assure its ascendancy.
And none before shall oppose,
For it is not until the Lizard and the Sun
Themselves march against me, and trail'd by
One born of a Penguin, shall I be challenged.

Scene III - Jobs' study in Cupertino

Bring ye news, foul or fair?

Many regrets, my lord, but this news be most foul.
I have heard that the Lord of Redmond,
Who beheld your Macintosh with the greenest of envy,
Is now claiming them as his own.
The instrument of his betrayal is called Windows,
And surely as it opens a window of opportunity for him,
It closes one for the Rest of Us.

But all can see, plainly as day, that it was I,
Who introduced the Macintosh into the world,
And in so doing, popularized and revolutionized,
User interfaces for the Rest of Us.
How claim he, then, that it was of his own devising?
Visionary he may be, but his vision is only for
Betterment of his riches, and he cares not,
Nor has he, honor or appreciation of the
Insanely Great. Fortune has blinded his eyes.

And pride blinds yours, my lord.
Already he has spoken with, in meetings secret,
Earl Compaq and Baron Dell, and they plan
To deploy this Windows throughout the land.

Windows they will see, but as a window,
See through it they will, see through the lies,
And the cheap copy they will realize, and
Flock the will, to return to the fold,
Of Apple, and the Insanely Great.

Quality such as you care about,
While noble in its intentions,
Do not hold sway o'er this corrupt land,
And those who cling to the old ways,
Are doomed to die of it. To slay the Beast,
One must become a Beast.

Have you no honor? Have you no shame?
Shall I toss it all for money and fame?
Guards! Take this man from my sight,
Ere I lose my calm.

[GUARDS remove ADVISOR. Exeunt all except JOBS and SCULLEY]

The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
Do become my burden and my pleasure, for
How can it be otherwise when doing the
Insanely Great?

Indeed you are covered with greatness, my lord
But be wary yet, lest lesser men take thee town.

SCULLEY [aside]
Know he that his obsessions shall destroy Apple?
Nay, he is blind, and being blind, cannot see
What he is doing. O heavens! It is a terrible thing
That I must do, that must be done.

Scene IV - Castle Redmond

Is our agent in place? Is he ready to strike?
To sow within Apple reckless blood and strife?

In place he is, and our subterfuge so great,
That even he does not know he is in our pay.
The Count of Cupertino is young and rash,
And with our agent their spirits clash,
Sowing within the court the seeds of discontent.

Then let us watch, and sit, and pray,
And let mischief take what course it may.
While as a man he is good at heart,
And strives toward the good of Apple,
He is misguided, and will bring their downfall
In this great tragedy he will play the part.

Scene V - A hidden antechamber in Cupertino

We have no choice; Jobs must be deposed
For our fortunes falter as he clings to the ways old.

But dare we move against him? For I, as you,
Do owe him a great debt of gratitude,
And Jobs is an honorable man,
And only the highest ingratitude, which you doth propose
Can blacken the great name of Apple
Say you it must be done? And if we should fail?

We fail! But screw your courage to the sticking place,
And we'll not fail. When the Board meets next,
Whereto the rather shall this fiscal quarter's journey
Soundly invite him, shall we do it.

Scene VI - The court of Castle Cupertino

[ALL are discussing the last fiscal quarter, and the BOARD MEMBERS entreat JOBS for changes]

I could well be moved if I were as you;
If I could pray to move, prayers would move me
But I am as constant as the northern star,
Of whose true-fixed and resting quality
There is no fellow in the firmament.
The skies are painted with unnumber'd sparks
They are all fire, and every one doth shine;
But there's but one in all doth hold his place
So in the world, 'tis well furnished with men,
And men are flesh and blood, and apprehensive;
Yet in the number I do know but one
That unassailable holds on his rank,
Unshak'd of motion: and that I am he
Let me a little show it even in this,
That I was constant the Mac should be Insanely Great
And constant do remain to keep it so.

O Jobs, ---

Hence! Wilt thou lift up Olympus?

O most gnarly and great Jobs, --

Is not the work we do enough for you?

Speak, shareholders, for me! I vote to remove Jobs from his post.

For the good of Apple, I second

And I too, for it is the only way.

As do I.

Et tu, Sculley? Then fall, Jobs! [exeunt]


Scene I - The cave of the three witches

Double, double, toil and trouble,
Fire, burn; and cauldron, bubble.
Licensed out to us and them
Phoenix BIOS, clone PCs
Office Apps like 1-2-3
MS-Windows, 3.1
Feels like Mac but not as fun
Rivals go, and rivals come
And Bill Gates buys them one by one
Dell and Compaq, Gateway too
Threaten the business of old Big Blue

Scene II - Castle Redmond

Jobs is fled to the land of Pixar,
Having been most dishonorably betrayed
And the house of Sculley reigns in Cupertino.
These fair tidings I bring you,
Though their doing be most foul.

And what of the suits from IBM?
Do they still pepper by ears and season my reports
With their constant cries and requests:
Lo! For MS-DOS doth suck, and we ask unto
You, to create for us, the OS/2?

Their supplications do come, but nay,
They do fall upon deaf ears.
Whilst we claim to champion their development,
Secretly do we favor our own, and so,
When the time comes shall all be reveal'd through,
Our Microsoft Windows shall triumph, not Big Blue.

I commend you for your boldness, and yea,
Also for your ruthlessness. You are my instrument
Of great betrayal, for surely not since
Noble Brutus hath sundered great Caesar's heart
With the unkindest cut of all,
So shall I, who rose to power through IBM,
Shall now take IBM's power.

[Exeunt BALLMER]

And there shall I stand alone,
Ruler of all I survey, the king of computers.
But my fortunes, and ill-gotten gains,
Have come through me by methods so cruel