How technological Darwinism explicates the rhetorical brand of Bill Gates
Schaller Jr., Robert C.
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Companies have different approaches when it comes to a brand spokesperson. In the case of Microsoft, company co-founder Bill Gates has served in that role since starting the company with Paul Allen. As the technological software market mushroomed and became a financial cog driving the domestic economic engine, Gates was out front giving speeches while launching Microsoft products. Gates gave speeches to a wide variety of audiences every year, from shareholders, politicians and business leaders to university students and computer programmers. As the computer evolved from roomsized mainframes to the personal computer, it became mobile with the laptop and wireless modems. Further, with the development of the cell phones, mobile-personal computing became something that could happen anywhere, and it is this technological Darwinism that frames the period in this study. As someone who both works in and speaks for his company, Gates had a unique challenge being associated as the face of the Microsoft brand. He also had to choose a technological rhetoric appropriate for his wide variety of audiences, from those who had little or no experience with the technology to others who were writing it for a living, or hoping to when they graduated college. Others in the audiences were legislators deciding how much to regulate the industry, while others were deciding either how much to invest of their own money or how much to invest of their own company into partnerships with Microsoft. Content analysis of Gates data gives an indication of what the Gates brand was, how well he spoke for and about Microsoft, and the themes he developed gave an indication of where his company, and his profitability, was headed in the future, and how well it kept up with the latest and most profitable technological advances.