There are hundreds of Microsoft millionaires (and even a few Microsoft billionaires) in the suburbs of Seattle. For the most part, these are people who no longer work for Microsoft, but still own company shares. They worked very hard for years and are now reaping the rewards of that work combined with their good luck. Most of them are proud of their careers, but a few are secretly ashamed. Climb high enough in the organization, and it becomes clear that Microsoft’s success has not always been based on legal or ethical behavior. The company is, after all, a convicted monopolist, and the exercise of those monopoly powers wasn’t just through a Gates or a Ballmer, but also through dozens of top managers, at least some of whom had to have known that what they were doing was wrong. These are smart people, but also people trapped by their own success. Some are in denial, some are just quiet. Nobody wants to risk what they have accumulated by talking about it. You would think great wealth would be freeing, but it isn’t always. Sometimes it is a trap.
By Robert X. Cringely: Read the entire story here