Oh! No. Success is a lousy teacher which makes winners think that they can't loose. May be there's some kind of code hidden in it so that Bill Gates said that. And we have seen how IBM got it's ticket to-be-behind when the world was dependent on it's hardware. History always tells us what to do and what not to do but the main problem is we have very hard time to learn from history. May be that's because that we believe that the world in which we live can't have same thing again and again.
In my opinion, I believe that history serves as a reference point, as to what has been done and what you probably shouldn't or should do at the present moment.
Its kind of a point where you evolve, based on the decisions of the people or events of the past.
Like how the Wright brothers built the first airplane, and how now, huge airplanes are created.
Or how the first computer needed a building, and now a laptop can serve as a web server, in a manner of speaking.
History teaches us about how people thought at the time, and how we can evolve from that, to better thoughts for the future.
It also teaches us the mistakes that were made, and how not to repeat them, and probably why we are still paying for those mistakes.
Success is mostly from yourself, and Bill Gates was lucky and smart to come up, from IBM. He learnt from IBM's mistakes and history, and used it to his advantage.
But he also evolved from there, and pushed himself, his team and Microsoft into what it is today.
History do already serve as time refrence but more than that it help to undestand and even predict the move of people during irrational exuberance.They say that the market has not just crashed all of sudden. They donot even blame an alien for doing that. This is all due to peoples' in ability to learn from the history. Enron went under. No big deal. But a energy company going under when world is being crazy about energy do make us think did not that same thing happen in the past with companies that used to do trading of tea in England. Time refrence is always there and more than that it teaches wrong mathematics may give you some profit for some time but it will surely give headache after profit when company collasp.
I believe it'd be really hard to learn anything from history at all. Judging by how fast our society is evolving, there's hardly anything you can follow from the past. There was a time when someone with no formal education, someone who returned milk bottles for money could have ended up a billionaire. Not today.