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Bill Gates to Step Down from Microsoft 742

Posted by Zonk
from the i'm-sure-you-have-more-to-say-than-i dept.
Geoffreyerffoeg writes "According to Microsoft PressPass, Bill Gates will be leaving his role at Microsoft in July 2008. He'll be staying with the company, but is also moving to a more fulltime position with the Gates Foundation. 'Microsoft Corp. today announced that effective July 2008 Bill Gates, chairman, will transition out of a day-to-day role in the company to spend more time on his global health and education work at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The company announced a two-year transition process to ensure that there is a smooth and orderly transfer of Gates' daily responsibilities, and said that after July 2008 Gates would continue to serve as the company's chairman and an adviser on key development projects.' CTO Ray Ozzie will assume Gates' role of Chief Software Architect, and CTO Craig Mundie will also take on more leadership responsibility."
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Bill Gates to Step Down from Microsoft

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  • by dankelley (573611) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @04:03PM (#15543624)
    Give the boy credit, for planning to devote his time to charity work.
  • by bitrate (460396) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @04:07PM (#15543674)
    ....to create a new Microsoft icon for /. I felt a slight chill as I read the article, realizing that if Bill Gates is stepping down, he must be getting kinda older....which means I'm getting kinda older. It's been an interesting ride through the years with Microsoft. Thanks for everything, Bill, and best of luck with your philanthropy. My city in particular (Windsor, ON, Canada) has benefitted from the B&MG foundation with new computers in our library for public use.
  • Re:Uhhhh... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jon Peterson (1443) <jon@sn[ ]rift.org ['owd' in gap]> on Thursday June 15, 2006 @04:08PM (#15543682) Homepage
    Let's see:

    Gates - creates world's most successful company, becomes world's richest man, leaves day job to spend billions on charity.
    Us - Made lame borg jokes for 5 years, finally released a browser that's better than IE if you ignore all the unfixed copy/paste bugs. Convinced a few people that Unix sucked less than Windows.

    Dude, I think *he* won.
  • by MBC1977 (978793) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @04:09PM (#15543689) Journal
    Gates DID make computers affordable.

    Fair weather and calm seas on your new journey...

    MBC1977
    (US Marine, College Student, Future Business Owner, and Good Guy!)
  • by mjmalone (677326) * on Thursday June 15, 2006 @04:11PM (#15543713) Homepage
    Being the chairman of the board is very different from being an employee for a company. The chairman of the board is _not_ an employee, he is an owner and is supposed to represent the interests of the owners. Owners != Employees. Basically, sounds like Bill is stepping down from his day-to-day activities managing the organization. But he still has billions of dollars tied up in an ownership position -- it would be incredibly stupid of him not to protect that investment.
  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Thursday June 15, 2006 @04:11PM (#15543718) Homepage Journal
    Already, it's become somewhat irrelevant as a tech industry player, leaning on its entrenched install base to survive.

    If analogies could ever be valid (warning; this one isn't) Microsoft is still the 800 lb gorilla and its cane is a fucking solid steel girder. Makes you wonder who Mario is...

    Microsoft is anything but irrelevant. Take a look at their market share.

  • Thanks Bill (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 15, 2006 @04:13PM (#15543745)
    I would just like to say thanks to Bill for his continuing work with the Gates foundation. I don't see the other multibillionares (Google guys, Redhat guys, Ellison, Jobs, etc) stepping up to the plate and making any commitment EVEN CLOSE to the level he has. All I see those guys doing is buying fighter planes, boats, sports teams and big houses. Good luck Bill!
  • Re:Oh shit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by linvir (970218) * on Thursday June 15, 2006 @04:14PM (#15543755)
    Just a picture of a chair. It'd be beatifully subtle, but sufficiently childish.
  • Re:Thank you (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Geoffreyerffoeg (729040) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @04:18PM (#15543803)
    I think he's serious. Gates did force a power-hungry company on us - but he forced a power-hungry company that made a profit from popularizing the personal computer. I doubt the PC would be quite as popular today as it is if it weren't for Gates.
  • by timholman (71886) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @04:20PM (#15543838)
    Bill Gates is doing the same thing that Carnegie, Rockefeller, Vanderbilt, Morgan, and the other 19th century robber barons did - he is transitioning from the persona of a despised, cut-throat, take-no-prisoners monopolist to that of a benign philanthropist, and spending the billions he acquired in order to ensure his legacy. And just like the robber barons the 1800s, I have no doubt that Gates will be viewed as a wonderful benefactor of humanity a hundred years from now. Only the historians will remember how many people and companies he mercilessly crushed to create his fortune.
  • Ambition... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rice-Pudding (167484) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @04:20PM (#15543842)
    Gates is still ambitious.

    Bill Gates has achieved what most people only dream of in terms of their life's ambitions. What do most people want? Money? Sure, but that is not the end of everything. Most (normal) people actually want to make a contribution to society/the world; to leave a legacy, if you will. (Granted, Bill has already done that.)

    So when you have succeeded beyond your wildest ambitions, then what? Gates cannot actually spend his money on himself fast enough. There comes a point when you start to want to spend it on your legacy instead. Hence, the charity funding. But this is still ambition.

    (Of course, I wish more people would reach that stage.)
  • by tehshen (794722) <tehshen@gmail.com> on Thursday June 15, 2006 @04:23PM (#15543878)
    chairman of the board

    I thought when you get that card you have to pay everyone else $50. And yes, I do think that is appropriate use of money. :)
  • by linvir (970218) * on Thursday June 15, 2006 @04:23PM (#15543879)
    Microsoft 'leans on its entrenched install base to survive' in the same way that Rupert Murdoch 'would be nothing without his billions of dollars and his global media network'. You're right, but it's not very meaningful.
  • by WhiteWolf (95535) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @04:25PM (#15543899)
    I believe they call in penance.
  • by ndansmith (582590) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @04:25PM (#15543901)
    I guess some could be excited about Gates leaving, but do we really want Dick Cheney, er, I mean Ballmer to be in charge of things?
  • by Tiger4 (840741) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @04:26PM (#15543912)
    He's been at the business 30+ years. He's a billionaire. He has a familily. Let the man retire in peace!
  • Re:Thanks Bill (Score:2, Insightful)

    by PixelScuba (686633) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @04:34PM (#15543988)
    Even if you could prove "those guys" made their money "more honestly", that devalues what the Gates Foundation does how? I suppose all the Carnegy Public Libraries are just monuments to the terrible and dihonest ways Andrew Carnegy gained his vast fortune.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 15, 2006 @04:37PM (#15544014)
    Crushing people and businesses in the name of profit is what wins in business. Like it or not, that's the nature of the US and competition in general. Will historians remember the Yankees for ruining many a team's season in baseball, or that they were one of the best dynasties in sporting history? If he didn't do the crushing, someone was going to crush him.
  • by Ian.Waring (591380) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @04:38PM (#15544021) Homepage
    More like he made it in front of the parade that Len Kawell started years before at Digital (with Notes 11), then at Iris Associates - all in turn inspired by "The Network Nation" by Hiltz and Turoff - published in 1978). With a little help from Tim Halvorsen too (whose name appeared on the VAX/VMS microfiche as the author of $SHOW DEVICE/FILES in VMS V2). Ray may have contributed, but I think it lousy that he never corrects PR that positions him as the "father" of Lotus Notes.

    Ian W.

  • Re:Uhhhh... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rmpotter (177221) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @04:41PM (#15544059) Homepage
    Yes -- brilliant! You've captured the essences of the Slashdot v Microsoft "drama".

    And congratulations to Bill for having the sense to move on with his life. Microsoft may not be the most ethical of companies, but they are no Enron. Bill Gates is no Kenneth Lay. If you want some other perspective, compare Gates with Jobs [wired.com]. I don't know what Larry Ellison is doing these days, but in the past, his main "philanthropic" ambition was to donate to an anti-aging research foundation.
  • by Moofie (22272) <lee@ring o f s a t u r n . com> on Thursday June 15, 2006 @04:41PM (#15544066) Homepage
    There are still new features in Vista?
  • Re:Penance? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ElephanTS (624421) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @04:44PM (#15544084)
    I think this about him too. He's not stupid - he knows Windows isn't that good and that his wealth is largely undeserved. It's a recipe for guilt.

    I'm glad he does the charity stuff though and hope he manages to give most of his money away.

    One thing people don't really appreciate is that Gates' wealth is (to a certain extent) unavailable to him. If he pulled that much money out of MSFT the share price would tank and he would lose big-time.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 15, 2006 @04:45PM (#15544104)
    As in business - crushing other companies and taking them over is part of the playing field. If you don't realize this, then you're an idiot.

    At least he's doing a lot of good int he world with the billions he's funded the foundation with - a lot more than a lot of other charitable organizations do...I'd call those organizations as corrupt, if not moreso, than MS.
  • by nostriluu (138310) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @04:47PM (#15544116) Homepage
    Why do you say that? Before MS came along, people could choose inexpensive computers from Atari, Apple, Commodore. There was healthy, competitive growth. Then IBM came along with the PC which ran DOS, clone vendors cloned that, and the rest is history. But I don't think MS was the factor in making computers inexpensive, it was competition and standards based gear (which IBM initiated with the PC, but before that there were Apple clones). MS has only excelled in making middle of the road software, and maintaining their virtual monopoly.
  • by no_pets (881013) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @04:55PM (#15544199)
    Computers were affordable well before 1995.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 15, 2006 @04:56PM (#15544206)
    What, we're supposed to feel sorry for those jerkwits who ran Netscape into the ground? Don't make me puke.

    The charitable foundations of men like Carnegie and Rockefeller have done more for human progress than any mewling social justice types, just as the Gates foundation will prove more beneficial than some inept NGO. In a free market society, the way to do good is to do well.
  • by rwven (663186) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @04:56PM (#15544208)
    Are you that dense? Have you ever heard of the Gates foundation? Bill has given literally billions of dollars to charities. He himself has almost single-handedly funded the entire slew of vaccination projects in africa. Gates, while maybe lacking in some "business ethics" areas been been "SHARING HIS FORTUNE" for a long time. How many other billionaires have given many billions of their own money for such purposes? Wait, i'll answer that: None.
  • The End of an Era? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Banner (17158) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @04:56PM (#15544214) Journal
    Like him or not, Bill Gates did a lot for personal computers, and honestly, those of us who use them and even the world. MicroSoft wrote a lot of good compilers and a lot of good programs, and while many may gripe, windows, windows98, windowsNT and windowsXP were pretty damn good products.

    Bill was rare in that he had vision and the ability to do technical things, and was a very driven person. He was the guy we all loved, then when he got rich he was the guy we all loved to 'hate'. But I remember what it was like before him, and he really did help change the world.

    At this point the only person left from the original shakers and movers is Steve Jobs. Steve isn't much of a technical person, but he has been a visionary in the past equal to Bill. I have to wonder how much longer till he bows out?

    And to be completely honest, it makes me wonder what the next bunch of 'snotty nosed kids' (as my compsci prof used to call Gates, Jobs, and Woz) will come up with. Every time an Era ends, a new one starts after all...
  • by dhardisty (914014) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @04:58PM (#15544228) Homepage
    "I have no doubt that Gates will be viewed as a wonderful benefactor of humanity a hundred years from now. Only the historians will remember how many people and companies he mercilessly crushed to create his fortune."

    He wil be remembered as a wonderful benefactor precisely because he was a ruthless and effective businessman. Whether you like him or not, he's smart and he knows how to make things work. He will do a lot of good with his money -- a lot more than if it were in the hands of a government or a random charitable organization. He has experience in how to effectively leverage absurd sums of money.
  • Re:Thank you (Score:2, Insightful)

    by booch (4157) <`moc.kehcubgiarc' `ta' `0102todhsals'> on Thursday June 15, 2006 @05:03PM (#15544277) Homepage
    Yeah, it would have been terrible if we'd have had to suffer with Amigas or Atari STs or something equally cool, instead of boring PCs with trailing-edge technologies.
  • by edbarbar (234498) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @05:06PM (#15544305)

    So what? He's doing good, isn't he? Why do you care about the motives? Do you hate Bill Gates more than the good he is doing (this is not a rhetorical question)?

    Regarding what he did to other companies, he outcompeted them. I was at Novell and saw the errors at Novell cause it to fail, not helped at all by uSoft, so I have every reason to be bitter, but I'm not.

    Bill Gates (or rather uSoft) was caught violating the rules on a number of occasions, and they were punished, but it's not as if uSoft was an Enron or manipulated the US govt. as some large utilities and the ILECs do. I suspect breaking weak govt. rules is standard fare at the titan level too, and I don't think you can deprecate uSoft or Bill Gates for taking no prisoners. That's what business is all about: structured warfare, and the goal is to win. He won.

    By the way, I'm certainly no uSoft fan, and I have zero insight into what Bill Gates is as a person, but I can admire his achievements without being either incredibly jealous or bitter.
  • Re:Uhhhh... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 15, 2006 @05:15PM (#15544372)
    God I love it when people twist the Ugly Reality of Bill Gates into the Beautiful Legend of Bill Gates. Yeah, he built one of the most successful companies ever, using dirty tricks [wikipedia.org], outright theft [gordoni.com], and funding backhanded lawsuits against competitors [arstechnica.com].

    Meanwhile, the Open Source community, usually reviled by people like you as the "communist bad guys" have built an entire software stack that is available to the world free of charge. If you had to put a dollar sign behind the distribution of code used worldwide, it would amount to BILLIONS of dollars worth of software available to anyone the world over for free of charge. How many hundreds of thousands of people, their families and their communities, are now employed in places like South America, China, Africa, etc thanks to the generous spirit of the Open Source community? How many MORE people will have the opportunity to learn new modern technologies thanks to the availability of open source software? THe B&MG foundation is a great way to redistribute wealth that was accumulated by questionable means, but the open source movement is a far more effective way to build and maintain the health of impoverished areas that wouldn't otherwise be able to afford the costs that do nothing but line the pockets of organizations like the B&MG foundation.

    As they say, you can feed a man with a fish for a day, or you can teach him to fish and feed him for life.
  • Re:Thank you (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Geoffreyerffoeg (729040) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @05:17PM (#15544389)
    And how did the Lisa sell? Yeah.

    There is a big difference between technologically advanced and actually able to get anywhere in the market. If it weren't for the "You want to go here today" attitude of Microsoft, a lot of people wouldn't realize why they wanted a personal computer. This was still the era of "I believe there is a world market for at most 5 computers." (Yes, by the time MS got started, many large companies and universities had mainframes and workstations, but it's still a long way from workstations to home PCs.)
  • by jcr (53032) <(jcr) (at) (mac.com)> on Thursday June 15, 2006 @05:37PM (#15544553) Journal
    I've never met Ozzie, and I wasn't favorably impressed by Lotus Notes, but it was at least shipped on a schedule.

    We've seen that MS fails utterly when trying to make major innovations in their products. If they switch instead to shipping bug fixes and minor feature additions on a 12 to 18 month cycle, they might be able to preserve their near-monopoly for a decade or more. Another Longhorn though, and they're in serious trouble.

    Meanwhile those of us in the rest of the industry will benefit as MS becomes the new IBM: still massive, but stripped of the power to coerce anybody's choices of technology. We'll know we're there when Dell and HP feel safe enough to offer Linux, BSD, or whatever else you want pre-installed.

    -jcr
  • Are you a woman? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Poromenos1 (830658) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @05:57PM (#15544740) Homepage
    I resent that. Why is it that every time a woman convinces a man to do something (against which he might not even have had strong feelings) she's controlling him? You know, it's entirely possible that Bill wasn't too averse to the idea of donating some of his money to charity, and his wife might have just given him that nudge.
  • What?
    reverse engineering the IBM BIOS made computers available for a cheap price.
  • Re:Holy Sh*t (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ad0le (684017) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @06:06PM (#15544815)

    This will be my final post with slashdot, i'll be moving to digg for my news after today.

    This guy wants to quit his day to day responsibilities to give away his money to the less fortunate and all you guys want to do is bash him. Hey, I like Linux, I own a Mac and have tons of Windows experience, but just because you don't like his business practices or his OS dosn't give you the right to belittle him. Will you manage to give away 80% of your fortune before you die? Didn't think so fucktard!

    Give the guy a break, he's one of the few modern day humanitarians!

  • Re:Holy Sh*t (Score:5, Insightful)

    by script_daddy (846338) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @06:25PM (#15544947) Homepage

    You must be new here, etc. etc.

    Thing is, the Slashdot-crowd is becoming increasingly singleminded when it comes to issues such as Copyright Infringment, Micro$oft (never forget the dollar sign, or you'll never blend in!) and the Bush Administration. I blame the moderation system. Pimping Linux and Booing Bill, if done with some degree of artfulness, is a surefire way to get modded up. Why take the contrarian position if your point of view is going to be modded "Troll" or "Flamebait" in a matter of nanoseconds?

    For what it's worth, I agree with you. Microsoft's business practices can be questioned (though they're not much worse than other companies in similar situations), but the humanitarian efforts of Bill Gates should not be underestimated or scoffed at. Sure, he's still filthy rich despite how much he has given, but if he was as evil as many slashdotters would like to have it, why wouldn't he keep it all? Or spend the money to build an evil headquarter in an inactive volcano?

  • Re:Holy Sh*t (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 15, 2006 @06:58PM (#15545159)
    Yeah. Yeah, maybe Hitler wasn't a bad guy either. Maybe the guy who ordered the deaths of millions of his own citizens wasn't as bad as the guy who runs an extremely successful business on buggy software releases.

    I, Anonymous Coward, call Godwin on your bullshit. And it is bullshit. Even if Gates deserves nothing but contempt, you have to be deranged to think Hitler has anything to do with Gates' philanthropy.

    'Does giving away drug money make someone a "good guy"?'

    Maybe, maybe not, but it certainly makes you a far better man that the one who kept the drug money -- even if it was about your image. Tax the idiots (of which there are legions) and give it to Africa. Frankly, there are parallels to Robin Hood that could be made -- after all, Robin Hood supplanted leadership of the Merry Men and consolidated the entire highway-robbery cartel.

    But frankly, what makes you think he gives a shit about his image? For that matter, I think he has a remarkably good image in the non-geek crowd even without the philanthropy, just for being a successful businessman.

    And what if he does give a shit about his image? Fine, then let him improve his image. It's amazing that people can twist legitimate charity into a bad thing.
  • by Mr. Picklesworth (931427) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @07:02PM (#15545188) Homepage
    Agreed, they have donated more money to AIDS research than some countries have.

    Sure, we can blast the guy for getting Microsoft this far and for the fact that Windows is anything but a charitable thing (whether or not it's a pirated copy), and for Microsoft's evil business practices... there's a lot to blast Mr. Gates for!

    Why, then, must he be blasted for something that actually is favourable? Whether or not he got that money by starting a successful business and then mutating it into the horrific thing that it is today (scaring people out of Linux along the way), we should be happy that it's being used for something as generous as the world's largest charitable foundation. It's more than we can say for a few other stinking rich people out there... (Various over-used actors, for one). Do you want Gates with a starring role at Microsoft HQ, or doing some good high-budget humanitarian things?

    One more thing: Since it's possible that Gates organization is primarily for tax breaks, etc, from the government, I guess that means we can thank the US government. Anyone up for thanking the US government?
    ...I thought not.

  • by aeoo (568706) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @07:05PM (#15545203) Journal
    It's impossible to assign all the credit to a single person for anything other than a completely trivial change.

    Things in the world happen due to a wide variety of causes and conditions. No single person stands at the head of any major change. There is no driver, or alternatively, every person is a driver. People who buy into some change are causing it as much as the person who is selling some change. It takes two to tango. You can't reasonably attribute the outcome of an intricate dance to a single person.

    Another thing is that we don't know what would have happened without Gates. What if without Gates personal computers proliferated even faster? It's an unknown. Because it's an unknown, we can't compare a known outcome against it in a reasonable way. If you could be certain that without Gates it wouldn't have worked out, and with and only with Gates it would work, then you'd have a slightly better position to assign all the credit to Gates. But still you can't satisfactorily assign all the credit for a major social change to one person for reasons outlined above.
  • by MikShapi (681808) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @07:09PM (#15545227) Journal
    If I had the kind of money these guys carry around, that's EXACTLY where I'd be plugging it.

    Even for my smaller money, that is the one and only place I'd think of donating putting it.

    There's nothing even remotely on the scale of the amount of good to humanity in general, to EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US, that comes close dealing aging a blow. The amount of subsequent evils this would postpone, reduce or even, at some point, completely obliterate, from cancer to heart disease to any other form of our bodies growing frail, falling apart, and eventually killing 100,000 of us *each day*, is by many orders of magnitude bigger than feeding any number of kids in Africa. In the long term, even to the kids in Africa themselves.

    Every dollar in places such as the multi-million M-Prize competition [mprize.org] encourages 10-20$ in research, if past competitions such as the X-Prize are to serve as an indicator.

    Every dollar spent on targeted research (as opposed to research for the sake of research, only stumbling on useful anti-aging applications by chance) towards fixing things we *know* deteriorate in our bodies and that ideas (that require research) on how to fixing them are on the table, is nothing short of helping humanity as a whole. In the most literal sense of the word. Every dollar there increases our (read: your and my) chances of benefiting from them and living *significantly* longer (read: more than the 5-8 years on average that the linear graph anticipates for us at this stage. 15 Would be great. 25 Would be wonderful. And if those 25 get us to the point when better treatments are available that can keep us vigorous another 15 years, you won't see me objecting to that either).

    Your sarcasm as put forth by the quotes is misplaced.

    Real Anti-Aging research (as opposed to the cosmetic/snake-oil industry that shares the same name) that targets aging on the cellular level, is the by-far single most important charity one can donate to.
  • Re:Thank you (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ClickOnThis (137803) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @08:17PM (#15545623) Journal
    Gates did force a power-hungry company on us - but he forced a power-hungry company that made a profit from popularizing the personal computer. I doubt the PC would be quite as popular today as it is if it weren't for Gates.

    Frankly, I think the PC became popular in spite of Bill Gates, not because of him.

    We should really thank IBM, for creating a PC design that (unlike Apple's) could be "commoditized", and then Compaq, for creating the clone industry. That's what really led to the popularity of the PC, not the mediocre software that ran on it.
  • Re:Holy Sh*t (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 15, 2006 @08:18PM (#15545629)

    Hi, I'm posting anonymously because I've moderated in the thread.

    You must be new here, etc. etc. Thing is, the Slashdot-crowd is becoming increasingly singleminded when it comes to issues such as Copyright Infringment, Micro$oft (never forget the dollar sign, or you'll never blend in!) and the Bush Administration. I blame the moderation system. Pimping Linux and Booing Bill, if done with some degree of artfulness, is a surefire way to get modded up. Why take the contrarian position if your point of view is going to be modded "Troll" or "Flamebait" in a matter of nanoseconds?

    I use a modified threshold for viewing comments (-2 to 'funny', for example), and I view only at level 5. Of the messages currently modded +5 for me, there are seven posts that are positive or congradulatory regarding Bill Gates. There are three posts that are simply factual (clarifying his role as Chairman, for example), and zero posts that bitch about Gates/Microsoft (in other words, posts that are following the "surefire way to get modded up).

    I think any population as large as the Slashdot crowd is going to have it's supply of vocal morons, but there are quite a few thoughtful people around as well.

  • by killjoe (766577) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @08:34PM (#15545698)
    People always bring this up so what the hell I have karma to burn....

    1) Bill Gates didn't give one cent to charity until after the trial started.
    2) The foundation is not Bill Gates.
    3) Bill Gates does not take money out of his pocket to give to charity. He gives stock to the foundation which then sells the stock and gives away the money. Bill is giving away POTENTIAL INCOME not money he already has.
    4) Bill still gives away a smaller percent of his fortune then most regular americans do, he just happens to be obscenely rich due mainly to his lack of "business ethics".
    5) The bible is peppered with sayings about how the poor man who gives away a shekel is more moral then the rich who gives more. The phrase "give till it hurts" comes to mind and I don't think anybody is arguing that Bill is hurting.
    6) Many otherwise sick, deranged, sleazy, people have given lots of money to charities. Osama immediately comes to mind as does Ken Lay and a countless drug lords in south america. Giving away some small percentage of you money does not undo all the harm you have done. People who have gotten ill gains frequently give a lot of money to charity to try and win public support.
    7) If I make 30K a year and I give away 10% of my income I am going to suffer. That three thousand dollars would be three months worth of rent in most places in the US. If I was worth a 100 billion dollars and I gave away 90% of money I would still have 10 BILLION DOLLARS. If I gave away 99% of my money I would still have a billion dollars. Can you live on a billion dollars? I know I can.

    So excuse me if I am not all that impressed that Bill G after charging monopoly prices to billions of people gives away two or three percent of his earning to charity. I am glad you are so impressed though. His PR machine must be working.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 15, 2006 @08:44PM (#15545732)
    For one, this requires a clap of hands for Bill. Moving to tackle a more complex issue that has zero returns on profit deserves some respect. I hope it works out for him & Melinda.

    Guys like Gates, Jobs and such are realizing that they've out lived the challenges of their field. Think about it, the challenges are not new nowadays [to them], and it's only about market positioning, ego, and politics. Really, I don't see any new wiz-bang discovery in tech for another 4 years at the current situation. Now only if Ellison would get the picture, we can move the industry forward, faster.

    As for Microsoft itself, they do know that companies live and die, and they see it--they're fighting for survival and playing fair isn't always the right strategy.

  • Re:Holy Shit (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ilikejam (762039) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @08:52PM (#15545756) Homepage
    You could always use Slashdot AND digg.
    Somewhat surprisingly, the two aren't mutually exclusive.
  • Re:Holy Sh*t (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CastrTroy (595695) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @09:20PM (#15545884) Homepage
    What's funny is you just posted a comment about how messed up the moderation system is, and yet you get modded up to +5 for pointing out the flaws, and supporting Bill Gates. Guess it's not as messed up as you thought it was.
  • by MikShapi (681808) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @10:16PM (#15546165) Journal
    Would you extend your wish to live longer to 6 billion other people on the planet?
    YES [sens.org].
    Could the world continue to feed enough oil and gas and out-of-season food to 300 million Americans who are hundred plus years old?
    YES [sens.org], You can use thorium to sustain all our energy needs for thousands of years to come. I find your question about the availability of food amusing in light of your country's obesity epidemic. Seriously, we've reached the stage where food in any quantity is abundant and cheap. Space is also abundant for the near and mid-term. I believe the biggest resource issue will be power, but like I said, we have enough thorium to sustain us for a long time yet, and by the time it runs out new power sources will have been tapped.

    >> Would you send 19-year-olds to fight in Iraq (or wherever) while you lounged about in your 60th year of retirement?
    No. For the protocol, I'm an aussie, but we have our 19-year-olds in Iraq as well, and I strongly oppose it regardless of where I spend my retirement. I think it's neither within our national interest nor yours.
    I'd use the same dollar in pushing things like this kind of research rather than "liberate" Iraq from exporting oil in Euros.

    >> I'd rather learn to live well and put up with my 75 or 80 years (i hope!) and then let someone else have a chance.

    And I'd rather "put up" (I actually enjoy life. I like it. I don't just "put up" with it). and then let someone else have a chance too. but without the me dying bit. I don't think I need to die in order to make place for my two munchkins. Neither do I want my old man to die to make space for me. There's plenty space for all of us.
    Read the link I put up above. If people stopped dying of old age tomorrow (a very radical case we're not in any danger of seeing soon), the planet's population would grow by one large city per year. Hardly a change we would not have time to adjust to. Besides, in such an extreme case, people's biological clocks would effectively stop ticking and a large percentage of the population would not be pressured into having kids in the first 4 decades of their lives, effectively slowing down the birth rate and mitigating the growth rate. And that's before we suggested introducing more radical (e.g. china) or less radical (e.g. taxation) population growth measures.

    >> No doubt the anti-aging researchers will solve this "problem" and you may get your way
    No. The anti-aging researchers will simply allow you to live longer, and deteriorate slower. Society as a whole will have to find ways of dealing with the problems that will arise (and have no doubt, some major ones will, and some very fundamental social structures will need to be changed to accomodate this new reality, but it's something we've done so much and so successfully in the last century and before that that particular bit is the one that has me least worried. Our social structures are designed to easily withstand and accomodate radical technologically-driven changes), but that will be out of the hands of the researchers and way out of their depth.

    Debating it today, when the possibility to throw big money at it today is there is definitely not a bad thing. And the more attention this subject gets (and the more charity funds that get diverted to treating the problem and not the symptoms), the better.

    >> There may even be a handful of gifted people who will benefit the world by having an extra 50 years of time in which to work. But that will be the exception.

    That's bull.

    Do you have to earn some social merit in order to be allowed access to antibiotics today? (one of the major causes of our current average lifespan being roughly twice and a half again that of people two centuries ago?)

    No.

    Everyone gets it. Everyone has a right to live. Any other agenda will have its propagator voted out of office by the majority of the public in any free-
  • Re:Holy Sh*t (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 15, 2006 @11:45PM (#15546546)
    Obviously, slashdot is mostly visited by people who use free software, and Microsoft under Bill Gates has tried all thing they can to kill free software.

    I'm sure that a lot of people here will forgive Bill Gates if adopts open standards and stopped fighting dirty, for example see IBM, which was a figure of hate sometime back.

    He is a business man, I judge him by his business practices primarily. His philantropy while it is phenomenal, does not dimish the fact that his company's business practices are dirty.
  • Re:Holy Sh*t (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Unlikely_Hero (900172) on Friday June 16, 2006 @01:01AM (#15546765)
    Actually, predicting that you'll be modded down or complaining about how the moderation system is going to screw you is one of the surefire ways to make sure you get mod points on slashdot. The mods don't want to look like assholes and don't want to prove you right. Why do you think posts that say "expecting the mod down in 3...2...1..." almost always end up with +4 or +5? The simple fact is that doing that sort of thing is basically asking to be martyred, and people refuse to martyr you.
  • Re:Holy Sh*t (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Unlikely_Hero (900172) on Friday June 16, 2006 @01:15AM (#15546803)
    I call bullshit.
    the quote "Don't forget, for every Bill Gates, there have to be many "less fortunate" to be exploited^W marketed to" just bleeds ignorance.
    1. Almost all of the people he is trying to help via the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation wouldn't be helped by American tax dollars anyway. And before you say "foreign aid", remember that the money we give to other countries goes to the /governments/ not the people. At least the Foundation can give it to independent organizations/people.

    2. I'm not going to defend goods/money laundering, but do you really live in such a fantasy world that you think that if the US Government had a bunch more money that anything would be better? They would waste it on more earmarks and pork barrel crap and we would still have the same problems. The amount of funding going to important areas is basically kept to as high as it can be without cutting into the politicians pet projects (read, pork for their state) but they won't put it low enough to piss people off, because they might then catch on to the scam.

    For every bill gates there are LESS, less fortunate people. New industries are created (example, a huge section of the IT market), and tons of new jobs are created. Just because there arent as many people as wealthy as him does not mean he has done something bad.
    Also, maybe you should get into your head just what "less fortunate means".
    We are so pampered in the US and don't understand that "less fortunate" here basically means "not living comfortably". "Less fortunate" in say, Africa, parts of Asia, parts of the middle east, etc means at risk of death a lot of the time.

    Quite frankly, I am glad that the money is going someplace other than the Government, just about anywhere else would be better.

    Constant Pie econonics is FUD
  • by Barlo_Mung_42 (411228) on Friday June 16, 2006 @01:31AM (#15546845) Homepage

    He gave to charity long before the trial. Stock does have a real value. So giving away lots of stock = giving away lots of money.
    He's already given away over 60% of his net worth which is way more than any regular joe I know.
    His foundation is his AND his wifes. Yes she has a lot to do with it but where does the money come from. Hint...NOT FROM HER!
    Their foundation (I just learned this today form NPR) is funding 90% of the world effort to get rid of polio. That's one effort of many but if they succeed at just that one it will be huge.
    It matters not what you think of MS and how he got his money. He's doing a lot of good things with it. His wife doesn't get all the credit either. His father also had a lot to do with it growing up.
  • by Pastis (145655) on Friday June 16, 2006 @01:36AM (#15546857)
    So a charity with 40 billion $ is going to outweight a Software Industry worth of thousands of billion dollars. Now Bill Gates is a sort of Robin Hood. It stole from the rich to give to the poor.

    Drug dealers in South America also benefit the poor peasants. I guess the end do justify the means :)

    Let's be honest. We have no way to know whether Microsoft (and the resulting charity) had not been there, the world would be a better or worse place today.

    I personally think that companies like Ubuntu create more value for the people. All the people.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 16, 2006 @01:47AM (#15546882)
    1) Bill Gates didn't give one cent to charity until after the trial started.

    Bill Gates didn't start selling off his Microsoft stock until he retired as CEO of the company. As it turns out, he was a busy man and managing giving away billions of dollars is ridiculously difficult. It wasn't until his father and his wife showed up on the scene and he stepped down as CEO that he was able to manage the process.

    2) The foundation is not Bill Gates.

    No, its the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation. She brought a mid-level manager salary and a room full of IKEA furniture worth of assets to the party.

    3) Bill Gates does not take money out of his pocket to give to charity. He gives stock to the foundation which then sells the stock and gives away the money. Bill is giving away POTENTIAL INCOME not money he already has.

    Stock is not potential income - it has real value. Just because it fluctuates according to the market doesn't mean that its meaningless - by that argument, being paid in dollars isn't real money either because your salary fluctuates daily relative to the euro. The fact of the matter is, all of Bill Gate's money is in non-liquid assets. All rich people's money is in non-liquid assets, except for a few old-school European banking families, and their real assets are debtors note which are less liquid than stock is.

    4) Bill still gives away a smaller percent of his fortune then most regular americans do, he just happens to be obscenely rich due mainly to his lack of "business ethics".

    Patently untrue. His foundation has distributed substantially less money than he has given them, but that's by design. First - believe it or not, giving away billions meaningfully is hard. Most philanthropic projects look for grants in the million to ten million range. Each one has to be vetted and held accountable to their use of the money, or you're doing more harm than good with it. A management structure to handle that is amazingly complicated. At the same time, giving away all his money to various charities is incredibly harmful - for a decade, charities will receive tens of billions of dollars in extra income and then it will just one day stop and those charities will effectively stop functioning. Part of the purpose of the foundation is to ensure reinvestment of the estate to make sure that it can be a force for good over the next century.

    5) The bible is peppered with sayings about how the poor man who gives away a shekel is more moral then the rich who gives more. The phrase "give till it hurts" comes to mind and I don't think anybody is arguing that Bill is hurting.

    You can't spend money that fast. Seriously. BillG could say today "I'm going to spend 10 billion dollars in Africa by the end of the year" and the only way he could do it is to literally drop it out of airplanes. BillG has announced the intentions of his estate and he will give it all away, but in a structured and meaningful way instead of just wasting it.

    6) Many otherwise sick, deranged, sleazy, people have given lots of money to charities. Osama immediately comes to mind as does Ken Lay and a countless drug lords in south america. Giving away some small percentage of you money does not undo all the harm you have done. People who have gotten ill gains frequently give a lot of money to charity to try and win public support.

    Osama kills people. Ken Lay knowingly destroyed the financial security of tens of thousands of employees and countless shareholders. The CEO of Dow Chemical knowingly covered up waste dumps which poisoned hundreds of thousands of people. The leadership of oil companies knowingly apply political pressure to force a continuous state of war that affects close to a billion people. WalMart leadership (and Apple's if you believe the recent news stories) leverage sweatships and effective slave labor to pad their profits. If you assume every charge

  • Re:Holy Sh*t (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Breakfast Pants (323698) on Friday June 16, 2006 @02:09AM (#15546949) Journal
    What does legal have to do with right or wrong?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 16, 2006 @05:08AM (#15547396)
    If you are talking about United States vs Microsoft, filed on May 18, 1998 [wikipedia.org], then how do you explain the William H. Gates Foundation founded in 1994 (focusing on health issues in developing countries) or the Gates Learning Foundation founded in 1997? These two were later merged into the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. And he has not just given stock... in 1999 he gave $5bn [bbc.co.uk] from his own pocket. In 1998 he gave all his Microsoft Stock dividends to charity as well ~$3bn [nwsource.com]. This is not POTENTIAL INCOME, it *is* INCOME.

    If you did any research you would know that while he gave some stock, the foundation's endowments are immediately converted to cash. He has donated $26bn of his personal fortune, yes some in the form of stock, but a large chunk in the form of cash to charity. As for your point #4, this is approximately 40% of his current net worth. I don't know *any* other americans that give that much. He is only 51 years old, and has at least 10, maybe 20 more years to continue giving away his personal fortune. He is also smart enough to know that just giving random organizations money does not solve problems, and that giving it all away in one chunk would probably be a bad move.

    A better place to read about Bill's charity work [sympatico.ca]

    Who is more charitable? The Rich man that gives all his money away, or the Rich man that gives a percentage away every year. In the long run, you know the latter will give away more money.

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