Lightning In A Bottle

Bill Gates, chairman and chief software architect, Microsoft Corporation delivers the keynote speech during the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference 2006 in Seattle Tuesday, May 23, 2006. AP Photo/John Froschauer

This column was written by CBS News Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith.
Way back when, the only people who could afford, or had the space for the massive machines, were banks or municipalities. Oftentimes the computers would sit from closing time at 5 p.m. till 9 a.m. the next morning doing absolutely nothing.

Ross Perot went to IBM, the company he then worked for, and suggested the company figure out a way to sell that down time to people who needed data processing. IBM didn't see a future in it, so Perot started EDS — Electronic Data Systems. Perot became a billionaire several times over, and IBM missed a golden opportunity.

Microsoft helped make the PC so popular that there are now said to be more than 600 million of them around the world. But while Microsoft was busy making software for sale, Google and Yahoo! came along and started revolutionizing the Internet ... and even giving some software away.

They don't really teach this in business school — once you have lightning in a bottle, how to keep it there.



Harry's daily commentary can be heard on manyCBS Radio News affiliates across the country.
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