If you wanted to start a successful software company today, you wouldn’t want to follow Bill Gates’ playbook. Creating a new desktop operating system, and an expensive office suite of applications to run on top of it, won’t work in 2015. It worked for him in the 80’s and 90’s, but that was a different time.
Understand what others did, but don’t try to copy. It usually never works for many reason. I learned this the hard way.