Gates was known from the beginning of his career as the epitome of a hard driving businessman respected by his allies and feared by his competitors. It was his vision that guided Microsofts immense success. In addition, Gates had an uncanny ability to tackle both the managerial and technical sides of Microsofts operations. He was especially noted for his success as a marketing strategist who priced his products for the mass market rather than computer specialists. In 1999 the Journal of Business Strategy listed Gates among a handful of people who had the greatest influence on business strategy over the last century.Gates also had his fair share of critics. In addition to accusations of predatory and possibly illegal business practices, some analysts remarked that Gates did not really foster in house product innovation but tended to focus his attention instead on blocking advances by other companies.
On the other hand, supporters of Gatess managerial style and business acumen pointed out that Microsoft continued to prosper even in the midst of the 2002 information technology slump, growing at 20 percent each quarter and posting a phenomenal 35 percent after tax profit margin. Despite all his financial success, however, Gates remained a fiscal conservative. He was renowned for his penny pinching traveling habits, demanding that his schedule be filled for the entire day when he was on the road promoting his company.