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Microsoft The Almighty Buck

Bill Gates Fined $800,000 Over Stock Purchases 449

Bronz writes "CNN Money is reporting that Bill Gates has been fined $800,000 for violating antitrust waiting period for stock purchases. The department alleged that Gates bought more than $50 million worth of stock in ICOS Corp. through his personal investment trust and failed to notify antitrust officials about the purchase, as required." It's also clarified: "The technical incident has nothing to do with the government's massive antitrust battles with Microsoft."
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Bill Gates Fined $800,000 Over Stock Purchases

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  • So what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lord Kano ( 13027 ) on Monday May 03, 2004 @02:26PM (#9042910) Homepage Journal
    It's not like doesn't have the money. Fining him 800k is like fining me 5$.

    • Re:So what? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by garcia ( 6573 ) *
      Uhh, the fine isn't what is important. What is important is the fact that he (or his advisors) made this mistake in the first place.

      $800k is $800k. Worth only $40 billion at this point it is a larger chunk than when he was valued at twice that much.
      • Re:So what? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by DebianRcksLindowsLie ( 752247 ) on Monday May 03, 2004 @02:32PM (#9043002) Homepage
        It's important to note that the violations CONTINUE. And let's face it - this money doesn't go to feed or clothe poor people - it goes....where DOES it go?

        Speaking of abusing the system - check my sig.
        • Vendor Trinkets.
        • Re:So what? (Score:5, Informative)

          by Short Circuit ( 52384 ) <> on Monday May 03, 2004 @02:42PM (#9043148) Homepage Journal
          this money doesn't go to feed or clothe poor people

          How do you know that? Have you ever heard of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation []?

          Not that I like Bill by any stretch. He justifies tyranny in one respect with philanthropy in other areas.
          • Re:So what? (Score:4, Interesting)

            by gfxguy ( 98788 ) on Monday May 03, 2004 @03:06PM (#9043414)
            The fine... someone gets fined $800k or a million dollars... where does that money go?

            I imagine it goes to supporting the entity that discovered and prosecuted the problem, but I could be wrong. Afterall, taxes on cigarettes are supposed to go for healthcare, right? And taxes on gasoline go to transportation infrastructure, right? Right?

            It just gets sucked into the big government void.
          • Re:So what? (Score:3, Funny)

            by op00to ( 219949 )
            What? The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is philanthropy in the same way that Oscar Meyer handing out periodic tables with "bolognium"... Wait, that was on the Simpsons. But it's the same thing.
          • Re:So what? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by larkost ( 79011 ) on Monday May 03, 2004 @03:26PM (#9043663)
            Ah... America's rich tradition of robber barons becoming philanthropists... Andrew Carnegie, J.P. Morgan, and John D. Rockefeller just to name a few. To many people of the time these men were the personification of everything wrong with those in power (and to some the Devil incarnate), but their names now live on in their philanthropic works. Bill Gates is simply following in their footsteps.
            • Re:So what? (Score:5, Interesting)

              by 4of12 ( 97621 ) on Monday May 03, 2004 @03:55PM (#9043979) Homepage Journal

              but their names now live on in their philanthropic works.

              Only because philanthropy is a way to avoid the government taking half of the estate upon your death.

              Give it away to the charity of your choice or let the government take half upon your death.

              It's not like you get to take it with you when you go:)

              All the hand-wringing about "death taxes" is such bullshit.

              Bill Gates Sr., one of many, thinks that the ideas floating around to eliminate the current high inheritance taxes are a bad idea and would be devastating to charities.

              Low inheritance taxes preserves an effective nobility and leisure class that will use an accident of birth to make a living as a shareholder. Arguably the builders of wealth should obtain such benefits - not their progeny. Descendents should be provided equal opportunity to compete based on their own merits and talents.

            • Re:So what? (Score:4, Insightful)

              by WindBourne ( 631190 ) on Monday May 03, 2004 @06:17PM (#9045714) Journal
              Bill Gates is simply following in their footsteps.
              Not really. The others put their money into philanthropic works without any strings attach. Such as the library systems that Carnegie funded. No strings attach.

              Gates did a library thing of giving them a 300 dollar computer (more likely it cost MS ~200), and then told them they had to use MS software. This was not really philanthropic work, but a sales (we will give you the handle, you buy the razor). Later when they came under the gun for it, they quite tieing back to MS sales, but the reality is, his philantropy is all about MS.

              Of course, that ignores the question of why is everybody so concerned. It is his money and he can do what he chooses to do.

              BTW, the inheritence tax came about because of these philanthropists. They themselves pushed for it, just a Bill Gates Sr. pushes it now. If somebody accumulates billions (or trillions), then cool. But the tax keeps our society from creating permanent classes.
        • by SEWilco ( 27983 ) on Monday May 03, 2004 @04:34PM (#9044423) Journal
          Pronoun trouble: Which "This Money" do you refer to?
          • All of Gates' money?
            • Some goes to taxes. Discussing what happens then is a separate matter.
            • Gates spends some money for his own needs, which goes to stores and companies who spend some on employee payroll and supplies.
            • Some of his money is simply in banks, who earn the money the banks need by lending and investing it.
            • Some of his money is invested, such as in stocks. A fraction goes to investment advisors and stock brokers. This is gambling money, as the value varies.
            • A lot of his money is still in Microsoft, as it is in the form of Microsoft stock. Microsoft is using the money until the company chooses to buy it back. The value to Gates varies with the price in the stock market, but he can't give it to others until he gets cash. Well, "he" is giving indirectly to others -- the workers which the company pays.
            • Gates is giving some of his money away to what he thinks is a good purpose, whether that agrees with your "poor people" purpose or not.
            • He gives some to foundations and organizations, and I'm sure he gives other money away directly and in tips.
            • Gates has given some of his money to at least one foundation, which gives some away. Some foundations are given enough money to invest it, and can then give away those profits forever.
            • When Gates dies, some money will go to taxes and some to foundations and people. People with the money will do similar things. Eventually, some descendants will choose to become philanthropists and mostly give money away, feeding it to organizations and individuals.
            • Some goes to the activism industry, and is out of his control.
          • The money Gates spent on these stock purchases?
            • The money Gates spent went to whoever he bought the stock from. This might be the company, which is spending it to maintain its business. This might be private individuals, who will spend it in various ways.
          • The money given to the government to pay the fine?
            • Ask the government what is done with it.
      • Re:So what? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by klui ( 457783 ) on Monday May 03, 2004 @03:25PM (#9043640)
        Let's see. According to CNN, on May 2002, when Gates acquired the $50M shares, stock was worth around $25. Now it's around $32. If he hadn't sold any, that stock would be worth around $64M today. Earn $14M illegally and pay $800K. If I were Gates, I would continue doing this. The important thing is the fine is not an incentive to make Gates from doing something similar in the future.
        • Re:So what? (Score:4, Informative)

          by nettdata ( 88196 ) on Monday May 03, 2004 @04:25PM (#9044323) Homepage
          The purchase of the stock wasn't illegal... it was his failure to report the purchase that brought on the fine. There was nothing illegal about the $14M in potential profit.

          I find it very unlikely that the reporting of his purchase would have had any negative effects on the stock price, so I don't really think that there is any connection between him paying the $800k and his profit.

          It still looks like he paid the $800k for no apparent reason, at least in this case.

          I agree with your point in general, though, in that the fines are nothing more than a "cost of doing business" in a lot of cases.
      • Re:So what? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Zeinfeld ( 263942 )
        Uhh, the fine isn't what is important. What is important is the fact that he (or his advisors) made this mistake in the first place.

        I doubt that Gates will pay, it will probably be whatever merchant bank was advising him here that screwed up.

        Interesting that Gates gets fined for the same violation that "President" Bush commited repeatedly at Harken without any problems.

        The Bush violation being somewhat more eggregious because he was selling stock while knowing that the company was cooking its books E

    • Re:So what? (Score:4, Funny)

      by Lugor ( 628175 ) on Monday May 03, 2004 @02:44PM (#9043176)
      I can picture it..
      DOJ: Sir..

      BG Worth: +$1,000k
      Gates: Yes???

      BG Worth: +$1,000k x 3 secs
      DOJ: You didn't fill out some forms

      BG Worth: +$1,000k x 10 secs
      Gates: How much to pay you off?

      BG Worth: +$1,000k x 15 secs
      DOJ: 800k

      BG Worth: +$1,000k x 2 secs
      Gates: Ok

      BG Worth: +$1,000k
      CNN then reports "In a 30 second conversation Bill Gates made 30 million in interest and paid 800k in fines..."

      • Re:So what? (Score:5, Funny)

        by Phurd Phlegm ( 241627 ) on Monday May 03, 2004 @03:03PM (#9043386)
        Conservatively estimating at 5% per annum, Gates only makes around $180,000 per hour in interest. Of course, with 4% inflation, it's really only around $46,000 per hour. That means they fined him over 17 hours of income. Now that's gotta hurt. That's the equivalent of almost two hundred bucks for someone making $100K a year.

        That's why corporal punishment is so much fairer. . . .

        • Re:So what? (Score:3, Interesting)

          Gates only makes around $180,000 per hour in interest

          Or he would, if the entirety of his $40Billion in assets were liquid. In reality, most of his worth is tied up in (M$ and other) stock, which he can't touch without paradoxically causing it to lose value.

          [That fine is] the equivalent of almost two hundred bucks for someone making $100K a year.

          And if someone making $100K a year got a $200 parking ticket, do you think they'd start being more careful about where they park, or would they write it off a
    • by morcheeba ( 260908 ) * on Monday May 03, 2004 @02:48PM (#9043233) Journal
      800k is 0.002% of $40B, so a $5 fine is equal if have a net worth of $250k.
    • Re:So what? (Score:5, Informative)

      by xkenny13 ( 309849 ) on Monday May 03, 2004 @02:54PM (#9043302) Homepage
      It's not like doesn't have the money. Fining him 800k is like fining me 5$.

      The fine is not based on how much you make, or how much you are worth (such as setting bail amounts) ... but rather how much money you fraudulently made (or how much loss you avoided).

      Typically, the fine is up to three times the profit you made (or loss you avoided).

      Here's an interesting page [] (PDF) on the subject. Review section 3.
    • Re:So what? (Score:3, Funny)

      by rjelks ( 635588 )
      I wish I had enough money to be fined 800k. Wow.
      • I wish I had enough money to be fined 800k.

        Just go trade a few songs on Kazaa and you'll get a short letter from some nice people. They'll be more than happy to fine you at least that much...
  • by andyrut ( 300890 ) on Monday May 03, 2004 @02:26PM (#9042919) Homepage Journal
    Gee, isn't $800,000 kind of steep? That's almost a staggering one thirty-seven-thousandth (0.00265%) of his current net worth! []
  • Big fine (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Quila ( 201335 )
    $800K just for forgetting to do your paperwork? They definitely take this stuff seriously.
  • by DaHat ( 247651 ) on Monday May 03, 2004 @02:27PM (#9042930) Homepage
    $50 mil stock buy and a 800k fine... lets do the math

    800,000 / 50,000,000 = 1.6%

    A 1.6% fine? That seems low when so many dollars are involved.
  • Too Low (Score:2, Insightful)

    Again the fine is so low in comparison to gain to make it almost negligable and totally ineffective.
    • Re:Too Low (Score:2, Insightful)

      by joeware ( 672849 )
      Again the fine is so low in comparison to gain to make it almost negligable and totally ineffective.

      What gain is it that you are talking about? Did you read the article?!? He simply didn't file some paperwork. If he had filed the paperwork, he would have still been able to purchase the stock. An $800,000 fine out of $50,000,000 is quite substantial for not filing paperwork.
    • Re:Too Low (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bonch ( 38532 ) on Monday May 03, 2004 @03:01PM (#9043360)
      So you want to discriminate against wealthier people by making their fines higher than someone less wealthy who committed the same act?

      He just failed to report a transaction on time. But Slashdot will, of course, breathlessly report it as "BILL GATES FINED $800,000 OVER STOCK PURCHASES!!" like a National Enquirer.
      • Three words. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by karzan ( 132637 ) on Monday May 03, 2004 @03:45PM (#9043859)
        Diminishing marginal utility.

        Basic concept from microeconomic theory: the more you have of something, say for example money, the less each additional unit is worth to you. The marginal utility a person who makes $1 a day gets from a $1 is absolutely massive (life changing experience) compared to the marginal utility a billionare gets (almost nothing).

        Adjusting fines and taxes to higher income is not discrimination, it's recognition of the fact that not every dollar is equal.
      • Re:Too Low (Score:3, Insightful)

        by tfoss ( 203340 )
        So you want to discriminate against wealthier people by making their fines higher than someone less wealthy who committed the same act?

        Well, if the point of a fine is to prevent behavior, then you would be stupid not to.


      • Yes Too Low (Score:3, Insightful)

        by nurb432 ( 527695 )
        The % of the fine relative to the purchase was too low, not the % relative to his income as most people here will claim...

        Compared to the purchase, it was somewhere less then 2%, which i bet will be nothing compared to the % of return he gets during sale. This is what i see as the problem, not that he has a bizzilion in the bank.

        At least as far as I'm concerned thats how it should work.... But i dont make the rules.
  • Who cares? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by joeware ( 672849 ) on Monday May 03, 2004 @02:28PM (#9042937)
    This is not tech news. This is personal news about Bill Gates with nothing to do with Microsoft. Other than to laugh at and make fun of Bill Gates, who cares about this stupid story. Post better stories or don't post anything at all. Right?!?
    • Re:Who cares? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by errxn ( 108621 ) on Monday May 03, 2004 @02:35PM (#9043043) Homepage Journal
      Please *mod parent up*! I was going to say the same thing. Then again, maybe the editors of /. enjoy having this website being perceived as a bunch of petty anti-MS zealots with an axe to grind, credibility be damned.

      Memo to editors: You do no favors for the popularity of [insert favorite OS here] by posting sophomoric, vindictive, and largely irrelevant stories about Bill Gates. On the contrary, it makes you (and what you advocate, by association) look immature.

      Just stop it.
  • by manganese4 ( 726568 ) on Monday May 03, 2004 @02:28PM (#9042945)
    nothing to do with the government's massive antitrust battles

    But while we were looking through all your belongings we noticed this little tidbit and jumped on it!
  • What is he doing on the board of a drug company? I didn't think it was his sort of thing.
  • Him, not Microsoft (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Bilange ( 237074 )
    Gates was fined, not the company itself. It looks like Gates is closely watched, isnt it ?
  • Dang (Score:3, Funny)

    by 0xC0FFEE ( 763100 ) on Monday May 03, 2004 @02:30PM (#9042970)
    Where was Mitnick when we really needed him?
  • There are so many ways this money could have been better spent. How about opening a nice call center for all of your customers, Mr. Gates? (note: i realize this was his personal fortune, but the point stands. MS support is a pain) How many starving children could you have fed. Doesn't pissing your cash into the wind kind of contradict having the largest charity fund on earth? This dude is seriously bipolar.
  • Got change? (Score:5, Funny)

    by t1nman33 ( 248342 ) on Monday May 03, 2004 @02:31PM (#9042986) Homepage
    "Gates was stymied in his efforts to pay the fine when nobody in the courtroom could give him change for $1 million." /obvious
  • You think he's got it hard enough with every foaming-at-mouth linux zealot tracing his every step (and writing article about it *cough*), and giving knee-jerk reactions... now the government is paying extra close attention to him. You think he'd pay a stock-broker enough to handle informing the government of his purchases...
    • You think he's got it hard enough with every foaming-at-mouth linux zealot tracing his every step (and writing article about it *cough*), and giving knee-jerk reactions... now the government is paying extra close attention to him. You think he'd pay a stock-broker enough to handle informing the government of his purchases...

      You know, the megarich tend to be tightwads about the sort of thing.

  • What, you mean being a convicted monopolist means that I have to register everything I do?

    Kind of makes it sound like he's a sex offender.

    (Proceeding to NOT go there.)

    • by pavon ( 30274 ) on Monday May 03, 2004 @02:43PM (#9043160)
      What, you mean being a convicted monopolist means that I have to register everything I do?

      No, not at all. However the business rules in this country state that the list of anyone holding more than 10% stock of a publically traded company must be made public. Furthermore, it is the responsibility of the person who perchases the stock to report this information. Mr. Gates is not being held to a higher standard than anyone else.
  • What's another 800K? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by erick99 ( 743982 ) * <> on Monday May 03, 2004 @02:32PM (#9043009)
    The fact that he has done this before (probably not him so much as whomever gets delegated these tasks) shows that he either doesn't care or he considers the fines a reasonable cost of doing business. When you get your ownership up to 10% of a company you have to report it - that's not exactly an obscure requirement. But, Bill and Company got slapped for that as well a few years back according to the article:

    The Federal Trade Commission said it had warned Gates about a similar reporting infraction when his personal investment trust bought shares of Republic Services Corp. (RSG: Research, Estimates) in November 2001. The acquisition brought his stake to more than 10 percent of the outstanding shares of the waste-hauling company.

    Antitrust rules require that entities must file with the government when their holdings exceed 10 percent of a company's stock.

    . Anyway, when you are worth $40 billion you can afford these "luxuries."

    Happy Trails!


  • by Stevyn ( 691306 )
    How what's he going to wipe his ass with tomorrow morning? Maybe extra windows 95 licences left over or the stolen SCO code.
  • by crackshoe ( 751995 ) on Monday May 03, 2004 @02:33PM (#9043013)
    I like what some counrties do -- for fines, they use a percentage of that persons earnings or total wealth (i forget which) and calculate the fine based on that. You don't gouge the poor, and the rich pay a reasonable amount.
    • by Phekko ( 619272 ) on Monday May 03, 2004 @02:45PM (#9043195)
      That would be us Finns. Most fines are based on your yearly income. This still gets circulated and I don't think it's still quite right. Think about it: Bill Gates losing, say, ten days worth of income would flinch. Maybe. If even that. Someone who earns $1500 a month before taxes would not like to lose $500 in fines. To Bill it's a matter of the newspapers writing about record fines. To Joe Cubicle it's a matter of eating porridge and tuna & rice for a month. Nobody writing articles about that.

      I think at least Norway has a somewhat similar system to ours at least on some fines. There are other countries I'm sure.

      Like this $800000 fine with Bill, most laws like that still amount to a slap on the wrist even if the slap is a bit bigger than using the same fine for everyone.
  • It cost Mr. Gates $800,000 to buy $50,000,000 worth of stock. So, I guess that's 1.6% commission for the SEC?

  • by necro2607 ( 771790 ) on Monday May 03, 2004 @02:34PM (#9043029)
    I'm almost starting to feel bad for the guy...

    Ahh, nevermind.
  • by Frosty Piss ( 770223 ) on Monday May 03, 2004 @02:34PM (#9043034)
    As with other violations of anti-trust laws and agreements between MS and the DOJ, Bill and his gang really don't care because the "fine" will always amount to pennies. Billy knows that the reality is he is above the law. What needs to happen here is something more substantial like the threat of jail.
  • by crovira ( 10242 ) on Monday May 03, 2004 @02:35PM (#9043039) Homepage
    its other peoples companies.
  • No biggy... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by LilMikey ( 615759 ) on Monday May 03, 2004 @02:37PM (#9043071) Homepage
    ...this is the same thing they were stucking to El Pres at the beginning of his term. And just like then, it's getting blown out of proportion. Not to say they both aren't slimeballs but this is just incorrectly filing paperwork. Nefarious plot to swindle bazillions from Joe Consumer? Maybe... Idiot accountant fogetting to put stamp on envelope... more likely.
  • 800k? (Score:2, Funny)

    by imidazole2 ( 776413 )
    Guess he'll have to sacrifice for once in his life...

    No new golden toilet bowl seat this month.
  • by The Kow ( 184414 ) <> on Monday May 03, 2004 @02:42PM (#9043141)
    So what exactly makes this news-worthy? Is it possible that this sort of thing happens frequently? Judging by the miniscule amount of the fine in comparison to the dollar amount spent, I can't imagine why this is a significant fine (as someone else has posted, a 'disclosure oversight').

    For all the griping we do about the duplicitous nature of certain 'fair and balanced' news outlets (and their ilk), it would seem we'd hold Slashdot to some sort of standard.

    P.S. Yes, I know this has been hashed, rehashed, and then many times again. hash_count++
  • by timothy_m_smith ( 222047 ) on Monday May 03, 2004 @02:43PM (#9043168)
    This was a fine on Gates personal investments, so why is this even /. news worthy? Yes, it is peripherally related to anti-trust matters, but it is still pointless.

    I love all the conspiracy theory that pops up right away how MS is going to be selling drugs and other bs. A common investing strategy is to have a diverse portfolio and this is clearly part of that for Bill.
  • Welcome (Score:5, Funny)

    by The Dobber ( 576407 ) on Monday May 03, 2004 @02:45PM (#9043194)

    to Extremely Slow Day On Slashdot

    Stay tuned for exciting stories on

    -Steve Balmers traffic ticket for not Yielding
    -Steve Jobs buys a house plant
    -Carly Fiorina reboots the reproductive system

    More late breaking events as they occur....

  • Article Troll (Score:5, Insightful)

    by andih8u ( 639841 ) on Monday May 03, 2004 @02:45PM (#9043207)
    This is probably something that's merely an oversight on behalf of his broker. Someone with as much money as Bill Gates will have a wide and varied stock portfolio, and I doubt he is able to personally oversee all of it. You see this same sort of thing happen all of the time with celebrities. Too much money and not enough time to track down where every cent goes.

    Aside from that, its really sad the level that slashdot has sunk down to in its anti-microsoft smear campaign. I think in the interest of fair journalism, they should go ahead and report to us how much money they, and OSDN as their parent company, have vested in linux, and how much they stand to gain from its success. Notice how they're the first in line to bash SCO for spreading its FUD, when they're just as bad about it? Oh well, they'll just keep going about alienating everyone who isn't a frothing linux zealot and end up digging their own grave.
  • by joeware ( 672849 ) on Monday May 03, 2004 @03:00PM (#9043349)
    So, $800K does seem to be a bit much.
  • by Tenebrious1 ( 530949 ) on Monday May 03, 2004 @03:20PM (#9043588) Homepage
    Hmm... the stock price has been dropping, has a PE of -15.96! Wonder if Bill knows something?

  • by Geoff-with-a-G ( 762688 ) on Monday May 03, 2004 @03:21PM (#9043605)
    If you're going to re-trample this same ground, at least think about it a bit more. It's pathetic that there are so many posts modded up which are one or two lines saying "Gates is really rich, so 800k doesn't mean much to him." and a few more posts saying how we should fine him in proportion to his net worth, so it'll actually discourage him.

    This is idiotic. 90% of the posts don't even refer to what rule he violated, simply to the quantity of the fine. You don't give 10 years in prison for a parking ticket, regardless of how much you dislike the offender. His "crime" here wasn't that he launched some anti-competitive hostile takeover of some open-source small-business, it's that he bought some stock (some, not a controlling interest) and didn't officially notify the government about it. This is a mistake, but not an offense that warrants docking someone a week's pay, regardless of what their salary is.

    Of course, those complaining about the size of the fine aren't at all interested in the law, they're simply happy to see someone they hate getting penalized and wish it was more.

  • by jd ( 1658 ) <> on Monday May 03, 2004 @03:26PM (#9043668) Homepage Journal
    $800,000 fine, over a mere $50,000,000 purchase. Or, if you prefer, $1 for every $62.50 of illegal stock.

    By my estimate, if MS stock inflated by even a cent on the share, Bill Gates would have enough gain to wipe out the fine and have enough spare change to buy several additional homes.

    This is before you consider the rest of his amazing wealth, the interest that is gaining, or any other aspect of this.

  • by BigMattG ( 185506 ) on Monday May 03, 2004 @03:29PM (#9043692)
    Bill Fucking Gates has to swing by the fucking ATM on his way home.

    I think, relative to net worth, I put more in the parking meter this morning.

  • by Mignon ( 34109 ) <> on Monday May 03, 2004 @04:54PM (#9044712)
    Gates' revenge is that he's going to pay the fine by donating $800M worth of MS software to the US government.
  • Viagra II (Score:3, Funny)

    by ( 614258 ) <> on Monday May 03, 2004 @05:21PM (#9045022) Homepage
    ICOS company profile: "The Group applies its integrated approach to erectile dysfunction" I can't help but wonder how he's going to balance his anti-spam stance with his pro-Viagra II investment.
  • Percentage Fines (Score:4, Interesting)

    by localman ( 111171 ) on Monday May 03, 2004 @06:33PM (#9045904) Homepage
    I was thinking the other day that when it comes to the law, fines should always be calculated as a percentage of your income. Being rich comes with all sorts of great advantages, but being able to ignore criminal penalties because the fee is so small shouldn't really be one of them.

    I thought of this mainly in the fact that when I was poor, a speeding ticket could ruin my budget for months, whereas now I am pretty well off and couldn't give a damn about a $100 ticket. I'm not much of a speeder anyways, but it just doesn't make sense that the penalty is less meaningful to me just because I make more money.

    I know there are punative damages in civil cases (which are great, but shouldn't go to the plaintiff as they do now). Is there any similar system in criminal cases? Certainly not in most fines that I see -- they're flat.

    Just a wondering...
  • by Colz Grigor ( 126123 ) on Monday May 03, 2004 @06:58PM (#9046163) Homepage
    I'm a Linux fan and a Microsoft hater. I don't bash Microsoft, I just vehemently object to its existence. I do the same when it comes to Bill Gates' business strategies and customer consciousness (or lack thereof).

    But really, people. This guy's got a ton of money that gets invested for him by his mob of finance monkeys. Ultimately, he pays the price when one of them screw up, but do you really think that he called his broker and insisted on this deal?

    Okay, so he screwed up by hiring some folks that didn't do their research prior to making an investment in his name, but let's not harrangue the guy for it. There are much better reason for which to lambast Bill Gates!

    ::Colz Grigor

    P.S. - If we spent as much time focusing on what we could do to make Open Source superior to Microsoft's crap as we do on on poking fun at Microsoft's crap, we might actually have had fully superior products by now...

Forty two.