Poor Paul Allen

    April 3, 2006

Robert Cringely has a fascinating read about Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.

He discusses how Allen could have wound up with an equal share in Microsoft as Bill Gates (although Gates’ share would have been smaller than it is) if Gates hadn’t shafted him out of over a third of his shares. Basically, Allen took a job as head of software at MITs, and Gates argued that since he was dividing his time, he should get 34% of the company to Gates 64%, instead of the previous 50/50 split.

That move cost Allen about 10 billion dollars. Ouch.

The worst part? Gates not long after took a job at MITs, but Allen never pushed to re-equalize the partnership.

Cringely also says Allen was suffering from Hodgkins Disease, when:

During one of those last long nights working to deliver DOS 2.0 in early 1983, I am told that Paul Allen heard Gates and Ballmer discussing his health and talking about how to get his Microsoft shares back if Allen were to die.

Allen never returned to Microsoft, and so divorced himself from caring about the company that his net worth today is half of what it should be at that 34% share of Microsoft stock, and a third of Bill Gates’.

Now, Cringely’s articles are always mostly bait for sites like Slashdot (where I got this link, so it worked), but one has to wonder how close to the truth it is. Oh, where is the reliable journalism, so we don’t have to ask these question?

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Nathan Weinberg writes the popular InsideGoogle blog, offering the latest news and insights about Google and search engines.

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