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tv   60 Minutes on CNBC  CNBC  November 4, 2012 11:00pm-12:00am EST

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[stopwatch ticking] >> looking at the googleplex, it's hard to imagine that just a few years ago the company basically consisted of the russian-born brin and cofounder larry page working in a converted garage. >> our boardroom table was also our ping-pong table, so it had the net and everything. >> he's been called the toddler ceo, the boy wonder who created facebook. you're not a harvard alum. >> that's true. we don't have a setting for dropout, so... >> what's the difference in $5 billion and $100 billion? i know it's $95 billion. >> a lot of cheeseburgers. let me tell you. >> welcome to 60 minutes on cnbc. i'm lesley stahl. the information technology revolution changes our world on
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a daily basis, but one thing that doesn't change is our fascination with the so-called nerds who not only transformed society but became billionaires in the process. this edition features a trio of these tech titans: bill gates, the man who created the world's most valuable software company, microsoft; mark zuckerberg, the young, geeky computer programmer behind the internet phenomenon facebook; and sergey brin, the cofounder of google. we'll begin with brin. has there ever been a brand name like google? in less than five years, it went from an idea to a global verb, as in, "i googled this," or, "i google that," or, "i google you." back in 2006, shortly after the company went public, google opened its doors for the first time and let us google them. >> we have north america. >> oh, look at that. google cofounder sergey brin is
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showing us an electronic globe that displays the mountains of google searches happening around the world at any given moment. >> so every little dot represents a certain number of searches, but you can see that there are thousands of searches going on every second. >> looking at the googleplex, company headquarters in silicon valley, it's hard to imagine that just a few years ago the company basically consisted of the russian-born brin and cofounder larry page working in a converted garage. >> our boardroom table was also our ping-pong table, so it had the net and everything. >> inside the googleplex feels more like a college dorm than a corporate office: bikes in the hallways, dogs under the desks, and there's a strong spirit of play. besides all the ping-pong, there's a volleyball game every day at noon. >> this is really where we spend, you know, the overwhelming majority of our time, and so in order to have a
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good lifestyle, we had to have a good lifestyle at work, which meant that, you know, you do have lots of sports and things. we have our ski trip. >> how many people work here? >> it's approaching 3,000. >> something like 1,000 became millionaires when the stock went public, and brin and page-- barely into their 30s--are worth about $6 billion each. >> okay, so, now, which camera should we buy? [laughter] >> but they are doing everything they can to keep the money from becoming a distraction. brin treated the day the company went public as just another workday. >> and everybody was focused on their projects. one of the engineers i talked to, and i asked him what his plans were. he said he was gonna throw out all of his socks and buy news ones so they would all match. they'd all be the same kind. so that is the kind of extravagance that we're seeing here. >> john battelle is an author and entrepreneur who's been following companies in silicon valley for 20 years. >> google has a brand image to
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maintain, and their image is, is they're all about innovation. they're all about the internet. they're all about trust. they're not about selling out. they're not about getting rich quick. and so you've got a culture like that. i think if anyone were to buy, you know, a new mercedes convertible and drive around with the stereo blaring and, you know, miss work a couple days because they're rich now, that would not be acceptable behavior at google. >> peer pressure. >> yeah, so the peer pressure's kicked in, but trust me, there's a mercedes convertible in every one of their heads. there is, and it will come out. over time, it will come out. >> as if to prove they're not being distracted by the money, google has been on a tear in the months since going public with what seems to be a new product announced every week: google print to make millions of books searchable online, including collections at harvard, oxford, and other leading libraries; google desktop, which lets you search your own computer's hard drive; and another new edition called keyhole.
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>> it's satellite imagery, so it's basically photography of the world taken from above. >> google executive marissa mayer--yeah, most of them are this young--showed us how keyhole can find an aerial photo of almost any address. >> so if i search for "amphitheatre parkway," which is our address here, you can see it starts to do this nice zoom in. >> the googleplex, here we come. ooh, look at that. oh, that is cool. >> and we're somewhere right in here. >> somewhere in here, more new ideas are being hatched. google's style is to race them out in beta form-- that means "not finished yet"-- and let users play with them for free and make suggestions. actually, almost everything on google's home page is free. no one pays to search. >> so we can search for something like "flowers." >> oh, "flowers" is wonderful. >> so people always ask us how google makes money, and you can see here are the ten
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objective results. >> on the left side of the screen, you get the top ten websites google found related to flowers. >> well, we also have what we called "sponsored links." >> now, these are these ads over here, and you just clicked on one of the ads. >> that's right. >> this is how google makes money. >> this is how google makes money. >> when she clicked on that ad for ftd, ftd paid google. it's a revolutionary idea: advertising to an audience of one and one who's already looking for what you want to sell. the rates are so low--typically between 5¢ and 50 per click-- that almost anyone can afford to advertise, from the biggest company to the smallest mom-and-pop. eric schmidt, google's ceo, who brin and page hired in 2001 to be the resident grown-up, says that the pool of potential advertisers is almost limitless. >> and there's a lot of evidence that the companies of which google is a member are enabling
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a new kind of commerce between very small communities--people who can find each other--for whom the traditional advertising mechanisms, whether it's television advertising or radio, do not serve. >> the business world is just beginning to grasp the potential. >> and google should be careful, because there are some other companies that have it in their sights, such as microsoft. >> and that's a big deal when microsoft comes after you. >> it is, indeed. >> bill gates has admitted that, "google kicked our butt in internet search." bill gates doesn't like to have his butt kicked, so he just launched a prototype of microsoft search engine. bill gates breathing down your necks. do you feel this? do you feel a pressure? >> we do not today. it's perfectly possible that the current competitors can all compete and coexist actually quite well at least for a few years, so i disagree with the people who say that this is a zero-sum game.
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>> it's google's strategy to downplay the threat from gates, but that doesn't mean they're not fighting back. google is betting that its troops will continue to innovate faster than anyone else's. >> everyone assumes that we're busy competing in the last war, when, in fact, we're going to invent something new. that's how google works. whatever product idea i have is from the old times, and they say, "oh, eric, what a stupid idea. why don't you try this new idea?" which i haven't thought about. that's the genius of google. [stopwatch ticking] >> can google manage the company's explosive success? >> they're expanding so quickly that they might just blow up, that the wheels might just come off. >> when 60 minutes on cnbc returns in a moment. [stopwatch ticking] n you take a.
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>> both sergey brin and larry page come from brainy families. larry's dad is a computer science professor,
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sergey's dad a math professor. they even look a little bit alike. but in their personalities, they're opposite. page is shy, almost introverted, brin more outgoing, something of a showman. >> is it true that you're a gymnast? >> i've done various acrobatic things over time. i took some gymnastics classes at stanford, and i've taken some circus classes since then, and yeah, so the flying trapeze and trampoline and things. >> really? really? >> yeah, just--but i'm not very good. >> what he is good at--and page as well--is writing computer code. they met as phd students at stanford, where both were trying to figure out how to make information easier to find on the internet. they realized that a lot of search engines of the time-- the dark ages: 1998--inundated you with a bewildering, disorganized list of every website that contained the words you were searching for. >> and we said, "well, no, it's
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actually our job to produce the best possible results." >> so your breakthrough was saying, "here's the most important, then the second most important, and so forth." >> that's correct. >> brin and page's breakthrough was as series of algorithms-- software code--that created a ranking system by relevance for the internet. they installed their software on stanford's computers. so how did you get from stanford and this sort of theoretical project you were doing for your phd into a business? >> well, we had created a test search engine... >> which they named "google," a play on the word "googol," a math term meaning "1 followed by 100 zeros." >> we just let a few of our friends know about it so they would go to that website with a test search engine, try it out, and people started to use it more and more, and word spread. you know, it really started to grow, and eventually, we ran out of computers. >> they started building their own computers and moved into
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their world headquarters: that garage. >> we were very conservative. we didn't hire very many people. we never ran super bowl ads, like many other dot-coms. >> remember, this was at the height of the dot-com boom. when that boom went bust in late 2000, says silicon valley author john battelle, google was one of the few survivors. >> google was this odd company that--it seemed like the internet bust never happened. the lava lamps were going. they had a chef. they had parties. everyone was happy. everyone seemed to be enjoying their work. now, most of the silicon valley, the opposite was true. it was a smoldering wreckage, and so they hired some of the smartest, best engineers they could find during a time when they were so thankful to have a job. >> there was something else different about google, the company motto: do no evil. where did that come from, and what does it really mean? >> we tried to boil it down at some point to a code of conduct, so to speak, for google: well,
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how do we make all our decisions? for example, we don't mix our ads with our search results. we always label the advertising clearly down the side of the page. >> and that comes under "do no evil." >> that's right. there's no business relationship or anything that controls the search results. >> to this day, google has never run a tv commercial. their popularity has spread literally around the world by word of mouth as people everywhere search for everything under the sun. >> so let's do a search for "60 minutes," and these are web pages that contain the term "60 minutes." >> 19 million web pages found by google's computers in a fifth of a second. but it seems to me that all of the ones that are listed here in a fast glancing down are all controversial. they're all pieces that ran on 60 minutes that have created some kind of controversy. and that's a big problem with google. its ranking system tends to put negative events or statements at
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the top of the list. if you google a person, for instance, what kind of picture of that person can you really get? >> an entirely skewed one, in my opinion. when anybody puts in a name and that person has had a terrible event... >> that will become her life. >> that will become who she is in the world. >> google ceo eric schmidt... >> as hard as we try, we have not yet understood how to make value and moral judgments about information, and we can't distinguish between hugely popular accurate information and hugely popular dated information-- >> skewed. >> or skewed. >> yeah. >> we try our best, but it's imperfect. we're working on better ways of understanding. >> that's not their only challenge. the main thing now is managing the company's explosive success. >> they're expanding so quickly that they might just blow up, that they wheels might just come off, and it's very difficult to manage a company that's growing as quickly as google. >> are people inside saying,
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"oh, my god. it could get out of control"? >> we worry about it every day. we've put a set of systems in place to try to address it. our internal enemy is growing and losing control of that growth. >> a good example: google is hiring about 25 new people every week, and it receives more than 1,000 resumes a day, but they are determined to stick to their rigorous screening process. >> the most important thing that i do is to try to hire the best people, and we do it with a huge team here. >> alan eustace is the engineer who's in charge of luring computer geeks to google. what is this? >> the "glat" is the "google labs aptitude test." it's kind of a fun challenge. >> it's not a fun challenge. it's the most intimidating thing i've ever seen in my life. google recently placed these tests in technical magazines hoping some really big brains would tackle the really hard problems. how many different ways can you color an icosahedron with one of
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three colors on each face? you don't even understand that question. >> no, i do. it's a 20-side polyhedron. but it's an interesting problem. there's a certain class of people in the world that thinks those problems are fun. >> here's one: what number comes next in this sequence: 10, 9, 60, 90, 70, 66? if you can answer that, you might get a job interview, and then another and another. one recent hire had 14 interviews before they got the job, and that was in the pr department. >> it's not necessarily an easy process to get the best people, the most motivated people, people that are on a mission. >> once they do get them, google does everything possible to keep them happy. >> one day, we're sitting in my staff meeting, and larry said, "we're not having enough parties." and i said to the two of them, "we have more parties than any other company i've ever seen."
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and they said, "we have to have another party." >> it looks like every day is a party. >> good stuff today, guys. >> they have a fantastic cafeteria, where the food is all free, and you can get chinese, mexican, deli food, kosher food, any kind of food all free. >> all free. in fact, the company makes money by having that free lunch, because people stay on campus. they don't go out. they don't waste time. often, they get the food and go back to their desks. >> this is crucial. as well-fed and casual as they may look, these folks are intense, burn-the-midnight fluorescent workaholics all trying to come up with google's next big thing. google has teams working on all sorts of change-the-world ideas. what do you think is next? what do you think their next big breakthrough is likely to be? >> i think it could be summed up in search will no longer live only on your pc. >> sergey brin won't say if that's google's future, but there is one ambition he admits to. you never got your phd.
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you dropped out to do this. >> we're technically on leave of absence right now. >> will you ever go back and get it? >> you know, my mom asks me every week, so... >> she still wants you to have your phd, something to fall back on. >> so i actually do keep meaning to finish it, and i haven't found quite the slot of time. >> google remains the dominant search engine on the internet, but with the launch of its android software for mobile phones in 2008, the company has become a significant player in wireless communications as well. much has changed in the life of sergey brin since our interview in 2006. he married anne wojcicki in 2007 and is now a father, and he has taken on a very personal quest. in 2008, he learned that he carries a genetic mutation that increases his odds of contracting parkinson's disease. as a consequence, he has contributed more than $50 million to help fund research for a cure. [stopwatch ticking] coming up, the man who literally
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changed the face of the internet. you seem to be replacing larry and sergey as the people out here who everyone's talking about. you're just staring at me. >> is that a question? >> the cofounder of facebook, mark zuckerberg next, when 60 minutes on cnbc returns. [stopwatch ticking] ♪ ♪ [ engine revs ] ♪ [ male announcer ] oh what fun it is to ride. get the mercedes-benz on your wish list
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[stopwatch ticking] >> in our next story, we meet a young computer programmer who has literally become one of the most controversial faces of the internet revolution. back in 2004, mark zuckerberg, a harvard dropout, helped launch a website called facebook that reshaped the social media landscape. "are you on facebook yet?"
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soon became a common question, one quickly answered in the affirmative by millions and millions of people all around the world. friends use their pages to share personal news, exchange photos, team up on political causes, or just play long-distance scrabble. it can be a useful tool or an addictive waste of time. according to the social network, the blockbuster movie released in the fall of 2010, the facebook story is a classic case of betrayal and money, but when i met zuckerberg in 2007, he wasn't on hollywood's radar. he was a young, geeky computer programmer with a rising profile sitting atop a rapidly growing company. this is the face of facebook, mark zuckerberg, the mogul who's guiding its extraordinary growth. what everyone wants to know is, is he old enough to be running a company some people say is the
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biggest thing since google? tell everyone how old you are. >> i'm 23 right now, so-- >> and you're running this huge company. >> it's not that big. >> and here he was helping me set up my own facebook page with a profile of my likes and dislikes. guess what my favorite tv show is. >> i can't. >> duh. >> all right, put 60 minutes there. [laughter] next, we added my friends, family--that's my son-in-law-- old classmates. within a few minutes, i got a friend request. here's a guy a haven't talked to in two years, and i'm so thrilled to hear from him. this is why so many find the site addictive. in a world with no cell phone or email directories, facebook has become a way to find lost friends. >> it used to be the case, like, you'd switch jobs, and then maybe you wouldn't keep in touch with all the people that you knew from that old job, just because it was too hard, but one of the things that
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facebook does is, it makes it really easy to just stay in touch with all these people. >> of course, if someone tries to friend you, you can ignore them, and privacy settings allow you to deny access to your page, say, to your boss or your parents. [telephone rings] >> good afternoon, facebook. how may i help you? >> facebook headquarters in downtown palo alto looks like a dorm room. the 400 employees, who get free food and laundry, show up late, stay late, and party really late. >> ♪ get down >> zuckerberg, who's made the cover of newsweek and is reportedly worth $3 billion, sits at a desk like the other software engineers writing computer code. it's almost like a disney movie: 23-year-old kid takes over a major company. >> right. >> kara swisher, who used to write about silicon valley for the wall street journal and now has a blog, all things digital, has called him the "toddler ceo."
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what do you think it's done to him as a person to be 23 years old... >> i think it's hard. i think when all of a sudden you're the smartest person in the world and you're the meal ticket for everybody and this is the big hit--this is the new google at this point--and so mark is under a lot of pressure, because everybody wants something from him. >> like the founders of google, larry page and sergey brin, mark zuckerberg is looked up to in silicon valley as a visionary. you seem to be replacing larry and sergey as the people out here who everyone's talking about. you're just staring at me. >> is that a question? >> we were warned that he can be awkward and reluctant to talk about himself, so we turned for help to his facebook page, which says he's a harvard alum. you're not a harvard alum. >> that's true. we don't have a setting for dropout, so... >> he dropped out of harvard in 2004, where he was intending to study psychology.
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his mom is a psychiatrist. here she is on facebook. his dad's a dentist. mark was a computer whiz early on writing software in sixth grade. in his second year at harvard, he built a site where students could rate or berate the looks of classmates through i.d. photos he lifted off harvard's computers. you got into deep trouble from this little prank. >> yeah, well, harvard was just not happy that i was using their images, and-- >> yeah, well, they said you hacked. >> mm-hmm. >> did they punish you? >> yeah, i was put on some sort of--i don't know--what do you call it? >> probation? >> sure. >> soon thereafter, he and his two roommates created an online version of the harvard student directory, where kids could message each other. they called it "thefacebook" and launched it from their dorm room. within four months, they had expanded to 40 colleges and
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over the summer moved to palo alto, but mark had done code writing for some upperclassmen with a similar idea, and they have filed a lawsuit. >> three harvard students are suing you, claiming that you stole their idea for facebook. >> well, i mean, we know that we didn't steal any ideas or code, so we're just kind of waiting until that comes out in court. >> in the lawsuit, they claim that you were duplicitous. are you worried about it? >> no, i don't really spend a whole lot of my time worrying about that. i mean, we have lawyers at the company who deal with that stuff, and, you know, it's just--it's not a huge concern. >> facebook is growing so quickly, there's talk of it becoming a giant slayer. is facebook a challenge to google? >> i think they are. >> charlene li, an analyst at forrester research, a technology consulting company, says facebook is a threat to google, because it could become the first site people go to to search.
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say you want information about a family vacation in maui. li says when you check google, you could get a list of almost 200,000 hits. >> versus i can go on to facebook, i can go and ask my friends, and people will write back to me, "oh, i've done things, and this is what i recommend, and knowing you and your kids, they will really like doing this," so the next time i do something very specific like that, chances are i would probably go to facebook. >> which is why yahoo offered to buy facebook in 2006 for a billion dollars in cash. zuckerberg declined, but then microsoft swooped in and bought 1.6% of the company for $240 million. that meant that bill gates valued facebook at $15 billion. some analysts say that's wildly unrealistic since facebook has yet to figure out how to make money off its huge audience. is it true that you don't make that much money? >> i think that's a pretty
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relative thing, but, i mean, as a private company, we just have the advantage of not necessarily having to report to the outside world all of our financials. >> is he a good ceo? >> um...i don't know. i think he's very young. >> but those around zuckerberg say he's learning fast. he might still wear a hoodie and no socks, but he's becoming a suit as he ponders whether to take his company public this year. this would be a good place to announce that. >> i think what i can announce is that it is highly unlikely that we will go public in 2008. when going public makes sense to do, we'll do that, and maybe that's two years out; maybe it's three years out. >> do you think that your age is an asset or a liability? >> i mean, there's probably a little bit of both, right? i mean, there are definitely elements of experience and stuff that someone who's my age wouldn't have, but there are also things that i can do that other people wouldn't necessarily be able to. >> the facebook phenomenon can
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perhaps best be summed up by one statistic. in july, 2010, just six years after its launch, mark zuckerberg announced that the company had reached the 500-million-user mark. as for the lawsuit charging that zuckerberg stole the idea for facebook, the parties reached a confidential settlement in 2008. it seems that neither the lawsuit nor the hit movie the social network that portrays zuckerberg in less-than-heroic light have adversely impacted his place in the internet revolution. in 2010, vanity fair magazine named zuckerberg number one on its list of the top 100 most influential people of the information age, and time magazine named him person of the year. [stopwatch ticking] coming up, bill gates and the war between microsoft and the united states government. >> there's a lot of things you need to do, but i didn't think one of them was to look over your shoulder at an attack
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by your own government on your innovation. >> next, when 60 minutes on cnbc returns. [stopwatch ticking]  i know the name of eight princesses. i'm an expert on softball. and tea parties. i'll have more awkward conversations than i'm equipped for because i'm raising two girls on my own. i'll worry about the economy more than a few times before they're grown. but it's for them, so i've found a way. who matters most to you says the most about you. massmutual is owned by our policyholders so they matter most to us. massmutual. we'll help you get there.
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>> in 1998, bill gates, one of the world's richest men, testified in one of the trials of the century: the united states versus microsoft. in november 1999, federal judge thomas penfield jackson ruled that the computer software giant cofounded by gates was a monopoly that illegally stifled competition. it was anticipated that judge jackson would order gates' company broken up, but anyone who thought the war between microsoft and the u.s. government was about to end
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didn't know bill gates. in the fall of 1999, the microsoft chairman sat down with charlie rose to talk about his company, his life, and how he felt about the judge's decision in the antitrust suit against his company. >> well, i had this kind of naive, youthful view that if you just ran your company and did great products that, you know, that's what you were supposed to focus on. >> and if you just took care of business, everything else would be all right. >> there's a lot of things you need to do, but i didn't think one of them was to look over your shoulder at an attack by your own government on your innovation. >> but the government says the trial was about protecting consumers. >> i think the proof is the consumers have been harmed and harmed in very substantial ways thus far. >> you're the man. [laughter] >> attorney david boies made the case against microsoft. >> microsoft is always free to innovate. what we're trying to do in this
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case is to preserve the freedom of other companies to innovate... >> okay, but it was-- >> so that you've got innovation from both sides, not just a microsoft world but a world in which other people are free to innovate as well, and the consumers get a chance to choose. >> the whole thing began as a battle between microsoft and computer company netscape. former netscape president jim barksdale says that microsoft unfairly used its power to limit consumer choice. >> it's much like in your industry. it's, like, wouldn't it be a disaster if all television sets came pretuned to abc? >> yes, it would. >> you wouldn't like that, would you? >> no. >> all right, well, if there was a lock on the tuners of this world for tv sets, there's a high likelihood that if abc owned them, that's who it would be tuned to. >> the federal judge agreed with barksdale and went on to say that microsoft routinely bullied its competitors. >> i've been around in business for 30-some years. i was amazed at some of the tactics that were relayed back to me by our people in the field
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that were being taken against us. i could not believe it. >> what do you think they were trying to do? >> i think they were clearly trying to put us out of business. >> no question. >> no question in my mind. >> everybody wants to understand the culture here, culture. part of it is arrogance... >> actually, i-- >> an arrogance of competition, an arrogance that we are better than other people, an arrogance that we--that we, in the end, will win. >> no, the culture is the exact opposite of that. >> tell me what it is. >> every meeting at microsoft about our products, we're talking about, "hey, why couldn't we have done this better?" there's no one here--and it's absolutely the culture of this company--no one here who thinks we've got a guaranteed future, and so, actually, the strength of what we've done is much more driven by humility than anything else. >> only the paranoid survive. >> well, i think although that phrase is kind of a lurid phrase, the thought behind it is absolutely right.
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well, what does that mean? >> it's that kind of thinking that made microsoft a $500 billion company but also prompted the antitrust trial to begin with. >> nothing succeeds like excess. >> microsoft was so aggressive that some competitors called it an evil empire, and internet sites mocked gates as a menacing presence. the few rivals who are not intimidated try to stick it to him at every opportunity. >> what a pain in the... >> why do you get these guys so exercised? >> because they're jealous competitors, and in a competitive market, you know, when one company does super well, those other guys are-- they're supposed to be jealous. they're supposed to be agitated. >> in the trial itself, gates didn't help his own case much. the government repeatedly ran clips from a videotaped deposition that showed him to be evasive and even arrogant. >> i have no idea what you're talking about when you say "ask." i've never seen a stamp like
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that. i've never used a stamp like that. >> haven't you seen stamps like that on every single one of the documents that you've been shown during this deposition? >> can you get me all the exhibits? >> it's just a waste of time. >> it is a waste of time. >> he was in an environment unlike almost every other environment in which he operates. he did not control. no witness controls a deposition. no matter how rich, no matter how powerful, every witness has to sit there and answer questions. >> you recognize that this is a document produced from microsoft's files, do you not, sir? >> no. >> you don't? >> well, how would i know that? >> i think that goes to this witness' credibility, and i think this witness' credibility is an important issue in this case. >> when you look at the way that trial was conducted, do you believe it was a show trial, that in a sense they set out-- the government-- to tear down you and microsoft? >> they certainly knew that
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because the core of their case had no merit that in order to create some fireworks, they were gonna have to try and be as nasty as they could be. >> he still thinks you're out to get him. >> i know. i--people tell me that. i can't imagine why he thinks that. >> do you know what the consequences for him-- >> of course, i do. i didn't go in there and trick him. i didn't go in there and berate him. >> you know, this reminds me of my friend down in north carolina, who would say, "i just gave them the rope, and they hung themselves." >> and he did. [stopwatch ticking] >> coming up... >> i'm sure that the 20-year-old bill gates would look at the 43-year-old bill gates and say, "hey, you're just not hard-core." you know, "you're just not tough." >> the rarely seen personal side of bill gates next when 60 minutes on cnbc returns. [stopwatch ticking] customer erin swenson bought from us online today.
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>> bill gates invited us to his hometown of seattle. one of our first stops was a favorite restaurant, this hamburger joint called dick's. >> i'll have a deluxe, a cheese, a fry, and a large coke. >> large cheese, fry, and large coke. is that gonna be all for you, sir? >> and then whatever he wants. >> [laughs] oh, i've got to pay for this. come on. over the years, bill gates has been called many things, but no one has ever called him stupid.
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everybody that i've talked to talk about, you know, the smartest guy they know. now, that has always been true, i mean, in a sense, that you were the smartest guy in the room? >> in school taking tests, i always thought, "hey, this is easy." i always felt sorry for other people taking the test, because they were, like--they were designed for me, not designed for anybody else. >> he was born in seattle. his father was a successful attorney, his late-mother a prominent community leader. as a boy, bill spent much of his time in this neighborhood library. >> i was a big reader. even though boys--most boys weren't, i was. >> in fact, they had a summer contest here. >> that's right. if you read ten books, they'd give you a little certificate, and if you wanted to be at the top, you had to read about 30 books in the summer, so it was me and a few girls who were competing for that top spot, which i--a couple summers in a row, i was the head of the list.
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>> precocious and exceptionally bright, young bill was told he had an attitude problem, so his parents sent him to a psychiatrist for counseling. >> so he said, "well, what, you know, what are you up to?" and i said, "well, i'm having this fight with my parents." he said, "oh, well, but that's simple. you'll win. you know, you're the kid. they love you. you know, you'll win the fight. you shouldn't be wasting energy on that." and it really, you know, changed my whole mind-set in thinking about, you know, what was i try to prove? and, you know, really focusing my energy on, you know, on the outer world, learning new things and stuff. >> by 13, he was programming computers. just seven years later, he and his high school buddy paul allen created microsoft. >> well, definitely paul and i knew that personal computing was going to happen, that they'd go from being these big, expensive things to something that everybody had. the idea that we'd have this large company and that it would be so valuable, that we didn't expect. >> didn't expect.
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>> no, we didn't expect at all. we were always saying, "maybe we could double in size." many times... >> [laughs] >> i can't hear him. >> what? >> what did he say? >> i can't hear him either. >> can you spare some change? >> oh, can you spare some change? he sure can. >> what's the difference in $5 billion and $100 billion? i know it's $95 billion. >> a lot of cheeseburgers. let me tell you. >> he says it's not money that motivates him, and the people who know him best agree. fellow billionaire warren buffett is one of his closest friends. >> well, he's obviously terrifically bright, and he not only understands his own business well, but he understands any business well. if i start talking to him about running popcorn stands, i mean, five minutes into it, he'll be instructing me how to run a popcorn stand, and that will be the proper relationship. >> beyond this businessman, beyond these billions, beyond
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this success, he is what? >> he's everything else you said he is too. i mean, an incredible business intellect and all of that, but there's a lot of little playful little boy in him. >> playfulness isn't something you'd normally associate with bill gates, but take a look at this. that's gates and microsoft president steve ballmer in a film produced for a shareholders' meeting. >> both: no way. >> ♪ what is love ♪ baby don't hurt me >> gates is best known not for a sense of humor but for being intensely driven. here he is at full throttle about five years ago. >> no, no, no, no, no. somebody's confused. somebody's just not thinking. i mean, there's no way. no, you don't understand. you didn't--you guys never understood. you never understood the first thing about this. >> until recently, business was his obsession. he says now, thanks to his wife melinda, he has finally started to mellow. >> and i'm more lucky in terms
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of having melinda than anything else in my life. >> than anything in your life. >> oh, yes. >> ♪ when i fall in love >> melinda french was an executive at microsoft when they met. they were married on new year's day 1994. the biggest misconception about you, just--that just you read it, and you say, "they're dead wrong." >> there was one that really bothered me, where a guy wrote a story saying that i had a prenuptial agreement with melinda, and he just filled in detail after detail. you know, there's not one iota of truth to it, and to me, it's such an, you know, an evil accusation, you know, and he could have just called up and asked. >> no prenuptial agreement. >> that's right. >> yeah, well, we straightened that out. >> well, i hope so. >> from the beginning, it has been a full partnership. they're raising their two small children, jennifer and rory. family pictures now fill his
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office. >> that one's a little better of jennifer, but i like this one. this one's a little better of melinda. >> gates admits he doesn't spend as much time here as he used to. >> and i'm sure that the 20-year-old bill gates would look at the 43-year-old bill gates and say, "hey, you're just not hard-core." you know, "you're just not tough." >> go home earlier than you used to? >> i do. >> home is one of the most extravagant residences ever built, but it is also one of the most private. he doesn't let anyone film there. some say it's worth--it cost you $75 million. >> [laughs] >> too low? >> no, you know, i suppose if you include all the furniture and art and everything, you could get a pretty big number, but we didn't--it's not $75 million. >> as we look off to our left, we see the famous home of bill gates. >> the 40,000-square-foot mansion on lake washington is the subject of intense public curiosity from tour boats to websites.
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the house reportedly contains computer-generated artwork, a trampoline room, and an indoor pool that plays music under water. >> i feel a little bit guilty about those things. they're not necessary for a family house. >> why do you feel guilty? >> but i have all these resources that, in a sense, are society's resources, and so for any bit that i consume, that's part that i'm not putting in to help programs or scholarships or things like that. >> he claims he will give away most of his fortune during his lifetime, that his children will inherit a mere $10 million each. that's small change for a man who has more money at his disposal than many countries. >> who am i to complain? i do feel like there's some unfair things that have happened to me, but on balance, i'm very, very happy. >> can you look at it that way, i mean, really look at it and say-- >> most of the time. >> in november 1999, judge thomas penfield jackson
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issued his initial findings of fact, which stated that microsoft held monopoly power and used it to harm consumers of rivals and other companies. microsoft appealed that ruling. in november 2001, two years after judge jackson's monopoly ruling, the u.s. department of justice and microsoft reached an agreement to settle the case. as for bill gates, the man at the forefront of the personal computer revolution, he is now a full-time philanthropist. he stepped down as microsoft ceo in january 2000 and gradually reduced his full-time role with the company. in june 2008, he relinquished his last full-time position with microsoft, turning his attention to the bill and melinda gates foundation, the world's largest philanthropic organization, which he cochairs with his wife. the couple now has three children. their second daughter, phoebe, was born in 2002.
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gates remains involved with microsoft as its nonexecutive chairman and largest shareholder. well, that's this edition of 60 minutes on cnbc. i'm lesley stahl. thank you for joining us. captioning by captionmax [ male announcer ] the 2013 smart comes with 8 airbags, a crash management system and the world's only tridion safety cell which can withstand over three and a half tons. small in size. big on safety.
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