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Microsoft

Bill Gates to Receive Honorary UK Knighthood 743

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the all-it-takes-is-to-make-billions-of-dollars dept.
jolyon writes "Yahoo is reporting that Bill Gates will receive his honorary UK knighthood on Wednesday. He doesn't get to call himself 'Sir' though. He becomes a Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire."
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Bill Gates to Receive Honorary UK Knighthood

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  • DOJhood! (Score:4, Funny)

    by garcia (6573) * on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @02:19PM (#11814141) Homepage
    "(Gates) is one of the most important business leaders of his age," he said. "Microsoft technology has transformed business practices and his company has had a profound impact on the British economy."

    If only Knighthood came with all the grandeur that fairytales make it out to be. Luckily for Gates he falls right into the lot of Knights that were brutal barbarians who killed their competitors off by lopping their heads off with a sharp steel sword.

    Among the pomp and grandeur of the formal state rooms at the palace, Gates will kneel in front of the sovereign, who will gently tap him on the shoulder with a sword.

    You have to wonder if this is something like Gates received from the DOJ... "Among the pomp and grandeur of the formal courthouse, Gates will kneel in front of the judge, who will gently slap him on the wrist.

    They need to name that something cool like Honorary Convicted Monopolist or something.
    • Re:DOJhood! (Score:5, Funny)

      by ciroknight (601098) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @02:24PM (#11814229)
      Hopefully the queen will do more than "gently tapping" Gates with the sword.

      Here's to hoping Thursday's headline involves a headless Gate ;)
    • Re:DOJhood! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by lowe0 (136140)
      As nice as the chivalrous knights would have been, I'd wager it was the headchopping assholes who actually got shit done.

      Way of the world.
    • Re:DOJhood! (Score:5, Funny)

      by w42w42 (538630) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @03:08PM (#11814836)
      I just had this image of Gates as Lord Farquaad in Shrek [imdb.com].
    • Re:DOJhood! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Billy Donahue (29642) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @03:16PM (#11814949)

      Americans don't kneel to any so-called "sovereign".
      Friggin' disgrace he is.
    • by jgardn (539054) <jgardn@alumni.washington.edu> on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @03:32PM (#11815131) Homepage Journal
      I'm a rabid Linux fan, and I detest every moment I have to test my work in IE. However, I have to say that what Bill Gates is doing outside of the computing world is nothing short from wonderful.

      I have a deep interest in education, in particular, how to solve the problems we are facing without throwing more money at them. So I am heavily involved in the school issues in my neighborhood, and I am organizing people to research things we can be doing to help out the district. What Bill Gates is doing to the education field is nothing short of amazing. Most recently, he said that the current high school system should be scrapped because it is a complete waste of time. I don't know any Linux fans that would disagree with that.

      He is also putting his money where his mouth is. I know that we are looking at getting some of his money to implement his plans in our own district, or at least in the final stages of getting the grant. I don't think there is a district in the US that isn't getting some benefit from what he is doing.

      And he does more than that. I don't know the specifics, but I know he is working in Africa and South America trying to help raise the living standard from sub-human to at least what we would call "poverty" in the US.

      That is what he is getting knighted for, and not for his achievements in amassing a huge amount of wealth. It is how he is using it that really counts.

      Now, I also realize that what Bill did to the computing world was nothing short of amazing as well. Before Bill, we were a sub-culture to be derided and spit upon. Now we are cool, and our skills have street-cred. We have Bill Gates to thank for that.
      • by dont_think_twice (731805) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @04:40PM (#11815982) Homepage
        The dude has billions of dollars - more money than anyone else in the world. It is really that generous of him to give small fractions of it away?
        • His net worth is a good deal different from the amount of money he has. Presumably a tremendous proportion of it is tied up in Microsoft stock, and so there is a much smaller proportion of it actually available for his philanthropy. Besides, even if we look at the proportion of his net worth which has been donated to charity, it's still on the order of at least 10% (assuming a net worth of 30 billion), which I'm sure is a lot more than a lot of people here give to such causes. Now, I realize that he stil
      • by IamTheRealMike (537420) <mike@plan99.net> on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @05:02PM (#11816305) Homepage
        That is what he is getting knighted for, and not for his achievements in amassing a huge amount of wealth.

        Well, no. If you RTFA it says that he is being knighted for his "contributions to enterprise" and because "Microsoft software has had a profound impact on the British economy".

        This is the kind of crap that makes me sick to be British. I don't normally have a strong opinion on the Crown, but sometimes I wish they'd piss off. The knighthood system could be used to recognise truly great people who had served society beyond the call of duty. Instead, it seems to be used as a kind of archaic Oscars for "important people", basically anybody the government feels like sucking up to. Rejecting honours has actually become a serious problem: there was a story a while ago about the government maintaining a list of people who had been given honours but rejected them, and it's growing all the time.

        I'd probably reject it too - I wouldn't want to be associated with a stupid popularity contest, let alone Sir Bill.

    • Re:DOJhood! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Shalda (560388)
      And we see why Keith Richards has thumbed his nose at the prospect of being knighted. Mick, on the other hand, sold out.
    • Knights come in more varieties than American ice cream. Some orders, such as the Order of the Garter, are limited to somewhere between 20-30 members. There's about one new member of the Order of the Garter every other year.

      From the sounds of it, Bill Gates has the cheapest, most common knighthood that the Queen can bestow. The Queen gets to pick the honors on her birthday, but the regular honors list is dictated by the Prime Minister.

      Most likely, the Prime Minister told the Queen to give Mr Gates a knig

  • by pavon (30274) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @02:19PM (#11814142)
    to have a Most Excellent Adventure [imdb.com] through knighthood. Does this mean he call himself Bill H Gates, Esquire now? Party on Dude!

    sorry, so so sorry
  • Commander? (Score:2, Funny)

    by Quasar1999 (520073)
    Oh dear lord... what's he in charge of? More importantly does this affect his borg status at all?
  • by ChaosCube (862389)
    So, exactly how much money does one need in order to be called "Sir"?
    • by carpe_noctem (457178) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @02:23PM (#11814215) Homepage Journal
      I dunno; ask Elton John. I heard he's pretty wicked with a joust, too.
    • by ajs (35943) <ajs@ a j s . com> on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @02:25PM (#11814252) Homepage Journal
      You can't buy such an honor because it's impossible to attain (at least for Bill). I'm not sure if naturalized citizens of GB can be called "Sir", but you can't be knighted at all if you're an American (or any other nationality) like Bill. As the article stated, you can be given an honorary title, but it's not the same thing at all. It pretty much just means that you've been honored by the crown.
      • by Phisbut (761268) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @02:32PM (#11814364)
        but you can't be knighted at all if you're an American (or any other nationality) like Bill.

        Actually, you can be knighted if you're from another nationality, just not American. As long as you're from a country that is in the Commonwealth, you can be knighted. For some reason the United States aren't part of it, so Americans can't be knighted, not that it means much anyway...

        • "For some reason the United States aren't part of it"

          Might have something to do with that little disagreement we had with the British a couple hundred years ago...
          • by hey! (33014) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @03:14PM (#11814927) Homepage Journal
            of the US constitution:

            No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.

            (emphasis mine)

            So, Mr. Bill could be Sir Bill if he can get Congress to pass a bill giving him permnission to receive it. As it is, he can only receive the "honorary" honour, so to speak.

            Recent American KBE's (according to my friend Google) include Tommy Franks, Alan Greenspan, Wesley Clark and Andres Previn. Stormin' Norman Schwarzkopf and Colin Powell, a KCB, which IIRC is more exclusive. Of course, Reagan, Bush the First and Cap Weinberger got GCBs, which is a more exclusive degree than KCB.

        • by smooth wombat (796938) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @02:55PM (#11814672) Homepage Journal
          As long as you're from a country that is in the Commonwealth, you can be knighted. For some reason the United States aren't part of it, so Americans can't be knighted, not that it means much anyway...

          Not to sound like a smartass (ok, yes I am), but since the U.S. isn't part of the Commonwealth then obviously Americans can't be knighted.

          However, there are other reasons why U.S. citizens cannot be formally knighted (as opposed to honorarily like Bill). Please see this link [heraldica.org] which talks a bit about nobility in America and why it is not granted and why people wanting to be naturalized citizens must renounce titles of nobility, and this link [thirdamendment.com] which talks about the missing Thirteenth Amendment.

          The last link (a very long read) mentions something which goes to the crux of why Americans cannot be formally knighted: to do so would mean they would have to answer to a foreign ruler. In the current case there is no expectation that Bill, or anyone who receives an honorary knighthood, will owe allegiance to the crown.

      • According to Wikipedia, if you subsequently become a citizen of GB, you are upgraded to full Knight status. I dunno what the citizenry requirements are like, but I'd assume they're like ours; live there for so many years and you become a naturalized citizen.

        Whellp, time for Redmond to pick up off of Washington state and hover over to GB..
    • None. You need to be a British subject to get "Sir". Non subjects can be inducted into the order, but do not get the title, based on what I recall from Tom Clancy's Patriot Games.
    • by Zerbey (15536) *
      You don't need money, you need to be a British Citizen, or Subject. Bill can't call himself Sir because he's an American Citizen. According to the Declaration of Independence, in America all men are created equal so nobody can have titles.

      If Bill wanted to become Sir Bill he'd have to give up his US Citizenship and become a British Citizen.

      This the same reason why you never see Anthony Hopkins credited as "Sir Anthony" in US films.
      • you never see Anthony Hopkins credited as "Sir Anthony" in US films

        I have always considered that ommission was just a sign of poor manners and arrogance...

      • This the same reason why you never see Anthony Hopkins credited as "Sir Anthony" in US films.

        I tought Antony Hopkins' knighthood was revoked when he became a U.S. citizen. It was a minor scandal a couple of years back.
  • WTF? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @02:20PM (#11814152)
    I swear he received this like a year or two ago.

    AHA!

    and I was not wrong.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/3428673.stm [bbc.co.uk]
    • Re:WTF? (Score:5, Informative)

      by WormholeFiend (674934) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @02:27PM (#11814277)
      from your link:

      The entrepreneur will be presented with the Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire at a "mutually convenient" date

      I guess today's slashdot story is about the mutually convenient date.
      • Sheesh! First announced on January 26, 2004 and it took until March 1, 2005 to find a "mutually convenient date"?

        This certainly doesn't look good in regards to getting Longhorn out any time soon...
  • Pah.... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Lovepump (58591) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @02:20PM (#11814157)
    Almost all of us Brits have that title. It's handed down from father to son, in the same way the family bible would be.

    We all live in castles too.

    When does mc chris get is knighthood?
    • Re:Pah.... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by identity0 (77976) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @03:26PM (#11815066) Journal
      Hah! In honor of this occasion, I shall make a rap song, to the tune of mc chris's "Fette's Vette":

      "Runtime exception, In windows explorer

      Hit ctrl-alt-del to restart your session

      Problem has stumped nerdy computer geeks,
      even if they thought they was leet!

      Reformat!
      C: fried!
      Hackers gettin past your firewall, no sweat!

      They gotta have your boxxor to roxxor with botnets

      My Name is The Gates;
      My bank account got yo checks;
      I monopolize for Melinda Gates, to pay off Viagra debts."

      Okay, I gotta go get lunch. Someone else finish this : )
  • by KiltedKnight (171132) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @02:21PM (#11814170) Homepage Journal
    ... that in two years he has to go back to have it upgraded?

    Honestly, this is old news. I remember the story being out there over a year ago.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @02:21PM (#11814179)
    The Blue Shield of Death.
  • by Crim-Prof (862698) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @02:22PM (#11814185)
    Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire or KCOTMEOOTBE
  • by Xcott Craver (615642) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @02:22PM (#11814194)
    Ted, while I agree that in time our band will be most triumphant, Wyld Stallions will never be a super band without Eddie Van Halen on guitar.

    Yes Bill, but: I believe we will not get Eddie Van Halen until we have a triumphant video.

    Ted, It's pointless to have a triumphant video when we don't even have any decent instruments.

    But how can we have decent instruments when we don't know how to play?

    That is why we need Eddie Van Halen.

    And that is why we need a triumphant video.

    Excellent!

  • Finally, Microsoft will be able to have an official launch of their Crusade against Open Source. The Open Source heretics must die, and Bill Gates will lead the army to do it.
  • by bitswapper (805265) * on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @02:23PM (#11814218)

    Does he become a full member of the House of Lords?

    Can I challenge him to a jousting match? I'll even let him choose the OS his mechanical horse runs...

  • Well.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by acidrain69 (632468) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @02:23PM (#11814222) Journal
    Regardless of how we feel about Microsoft as a corporation and Bill Gates as a ruthless evil business-demon, he has done wonderful things through his Bill and Melinda Gates foundation. I don't know if he is deserving of knighthood. He is a good capitalist, if that is something to be proud of.

    Like the dept tagline says, all it takes is billions of dollars. Knighthood must be hurting for worthy people these days.
    • no, it takes more than being a billionaire.

      i know of at least one person whose total finances are not known, but are underestimated to be $0.5bn, who is one of the most evil money-grabbing people who will stop at nothing to make more money that i have ever encountered.

      incredibly, he even used the death of his son to attempt to bargain and negotiate for discounts - including over the price of his son's gravestone.
    • Re:Well.... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Brian Blessed (258910) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @02:33PM (#11814387)
      he has done wonderful things through his Bill and Melinda Gates foundation

      Here's a question:

      If a criminal gives a small proportion of his ill-gotten gains to good causes, does he deserve an award?

      - Brian.
      • Re:Well.... (Score:5, Funny)

        by gahzinia (816336) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @03:11PM (#11814884)
        Does the name "Robin Hood" ring a bell?
      • Re:Well.... (Score:3, Funny)

        by biglig2 (89374)
        Well, of course, Annie helps kill billions, wipes out the Jedi, but then decides that he won't kill his own son, and he gets forgiven, so let's cut Bill a little slack. He might install Red Hat one day.
      • by solios (53048) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @03:27PM (#11815084) Homepage
        Microsoft might be an unethical monopoly, but is Gates complicit in the deaths of his own employees, as Carnegie was ?

        People of the time didn't exactly have a high opinion of the steel magnate after that incident. People aren't fond of Gates now.

        As an employee of the Carnegie Museums, I say give it a hundred years. We have Carnegie to thank for the museum of art, the museum of natural history, and the Pittsburgh public libraries. You think anyone remembers the labor strike?

        Microsoft can't last. What Gates does with his money, however, has the potential to.
    • he has done wonderful things through his Bill and Melinda Gates foundation.

      Except it's not his Bill & Melinda Gates foundation. It's his father's. [gatesfoundation.org]
      • by CanSpice (300894)
        It's Bill Jr's foundation, it's just that his father runs it. William H. Gates Jr. is married to Melinda French Gates, so if it's his father's why would he put his wife's name on it? And why's his picture on the page you linked to?
  • Sounds fair enough. He has been ordering the entire British Empire around for quite a while now. Not to mention fleecing a good number of Central and local government institutions.

    Nothing like facing reality.

  • He beat me to it! Guess I owe him a dollar.
  • Now that Bill Gates is a knight, will he be appearing as a character in various Microsoft RPG games (a la Lord British)?

    How many hardcore Linux users would install a Windows partition just to play future versions of Dungeon Siege and have a chance to maim Bill Gates?
  • Douglas Adams quote (Score:5, Interesting)

    by shades6666 (657396) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @02:25PM (#11814262)
    "The idea that Bill Gates has appeared like a knight in shining armour to lead all customers out of a mire of technological chaos neatly ignores the fact that it was he who, by peddling second-rate technology, led them into it in the first place." (Douglas Adams)

    Now all he needs is the shining armour :-)
  • by SharpFang (651121)
    Knight of... what?

    I have a few stolen original Windows CDs. There were 80 or so in the box so, already installed on computers they had been shipped with, so I grabbed a handfull and pocketed them. So now I have them, the owner doesn't. I wasn't caught red-handed, so I'm quite safe, any control will show a bunch of legal Windows CDs. I can even sell them now for profit legally. Unless they find the original CDs are missing, and find out who took them (quite impossible now), I'm perfectly safe.

    But if I copi
  • Arise! (Score:5, Funny)

    by AtariAmarok (451306) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @02:27PM (#11814281)
    Arise!
    Sir Embrace of Extend!
    Sir Protector of FUD!
    Sir Blue of Screen!
  • Titles (Score:5, Funny)

    by Exluddite (851324) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @02:28PM (#11814296)
    .."Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire." Protector of the Order of the BSOD, Royal Disseminator of FUD, and Patcher of the Realm.
  • Gates will kneel in front of the sovereign, who will gently tap him on the shoulder with a sword

    I think this is a mockery of the title. Not that I am for titles, but this is a mockery of it!

    I say take a swing!

    Queen: "Blue screen of death? ill give you blue screen of death!"
  • What, no sir?? (Score:5, Informative)

    by ciroknight (601098) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @02:29PM (#11814321)
    An explaination of who gets to call themselves sir [wikipedia.org].. For those not quite in the know of how the Brittish Knighting system works.

    Quoting Wikipedia: "Citizens of other countries, however, may be admitted as "honorary members". They do not count towards the numerical limits aforementioned, nor are they addressed as "Sir". (They may be made full members if they subsequently become British citizens.) Notable foreign members of the Order have included Pelé, Bob Geldof, Bill Gates, Rudy Giuliani, Alan Greenspan, Steven Spielberg, Tommy Franks and Wesley Clark (all Knights Commander)."
  • "Among the pomp and grandeur of the formal state rooms at the palace, Gates will kneel in front of the sovereign, who will gently tap him on the shoulder with a sword."

    That's the best sentence I've read in a long time.

    I'm sure there's plenty of Slashdotters who'd rather she stabbed him with it, though... *grin*.
  • by consumer_whore (652448) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @02:48PM (#11814580)
    Having MCSE certification doesn't make you an engineer either.
  • by thomasa (17495) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @03:01PM (#11814749)
    Degraded honour. What value is it to give this to a businessman.
    Is he serving people? Is he even working for Great Britian. What a sham.
  • Becoming (Score:3, Funny)

    by hkb (777908) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @03:42PM (#11815236)
    He becomes a Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire

    Will Bill and Ted be presenting?

  • by Ridgelift (228977) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @03:48PM (#11815330)
    Good for him. That'll look nice on a business card, right next to his "Supreme Evil Minion" title bestowed on him by Satan himself.
  • by antispam_ben (591349) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @04:59PM (#11816265) Journal
    Aren't these influential men also deserving of Knighthood?
  • by Creepy Crawler (680178) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @06:43PM (#11817527)
    Of the Constitution states:

    No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.

    Office of profit? Perhaps that means someone who controls vast amounts of money.

    Does this deny, and make unconstitutional Bill Gates's "reward"?
    • No, an Office of Profit or Trust is a government position, not a private one. If he were a government official, then Congress would have to give its consent. Something that I expect, in the modern era of Anglo-American relations, is probably routine (how many American military officers were put on the honours list during and after WWII, after all?).

      And perhaps a britton can correct me, but I didn't think there was any such thing as an "honorary" ("honourary"?) knighthood. He's been made a life peer, which

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