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Microsoft The Almighty Buck United States

Gates Gets Government Guards for Gala 328

Nick Irelan writes "The home of the world's richest man was a 'temporary security zone' when he held a party for members of the National Governors Association. Bill's guests included Newt Gingrich, Tommy Thompson, and Leon Panetta. Gates also put in $150,000 for the governors' meeting held the next day. News.com covered this story very well." If your invitation to Gates' place got "lost in the mail", you can read about a Microsoft intern who got to have dinner with the big cheese.
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Gates Gets Government Guards for Gala

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  • In all fairness..... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BWJones ( 18351 ) * on Friday July 30, 2004 @09:38AM (#9843019) Homepage Journal
    From the linked interns blog and speaking of Bill Gates: "His response (verbatim, might I add), "well it was the dumbest thing I've ever read!". I have actually heard him say this very statement with a crass addendum or modifier in response to an engineers rather thoughtful bit of insight into a problem. Perhaps he was having a bad day, but I found this to be more than a little arrogant and perhaps may go part way in explaining why Microsoft has problems with innovation. As to the title, "Gates gets government guards for gala", I would suggest in Bill's defense that the guards are for some of the guests which is not unusual. I've not been to a soiree at the Gates compound, but I have been to plenty of other events with government folks who pack their own "escorts". Gates likely has his own security detail which if they work like other security details, will usually defer to the secret service (or other federal) detail supervising any government officials who may be present.

    • by tazanator ( 681948 ) on Friday July 30, 2004 @09:43AM (#9843075)
      having done work in that area, it's pretty much a standing rule, the secret sevice takes over all security when present in the US. At the olympics in Ga 1996 they had special badges and ALL security was told to stay out of their way and follow the orders from them above any other orders you may get.
    • by Wun Hung Lo ( 702718 ) on Friday July 30, 2004 @09:46AM (#9843101)
      was the dancing monkey they had for entertainment. It looked kind of familiar for some reason.
    • by SuiteSisterMary ( 123932 ) <slebrun AT gmail DOT com> on Friday July 30, 2004 @10:55AM (#9843723) Journal

      Apparently, this is how Bill tries to separate the wheat from the chaff; he attacks your idea (and you) and expects you to defend it, if it's worth defending.

      I've read accounts where Microsoft has taken massive risks on the basis of a single engineer shooting back at Bill and defending an idea.

      • by mav[LAG] ( 31387 ) on Friday July 30, 2004 @12:05PM (#9844530)
        Oh yeah. Here's an enlightening extract from Accidental Empires by Bob Cringeley:

        My secret suspicion is that Microsoft's cult of pesonality hides a deep-down fear on Gates's part that maybe he really doesn't know it all. A few times I've seen him cornered by some techie who is not from Microsoft and is not in awe, a techie who knows more about that subject at hand than Bill Gates ever will. I've seen a flash of fear in Gates's eyes then. Even with you or me topics can range beyond Bill's grasp, and that's when he uses his "I don't know how technical you are" line. ...
        To take this particularly degrading weapon out of his hands forever, I propose that should you ever talk with Bill Gates and hear him say "I don't know how technical you are", reply by saying that you don't know how technical he is. It will drive him nuts.
    • We entered the home via what seemed to be the entertainment entrance and, at that, it was quite understated. The entrance organically rose from the hill in distinct pacific northwest style and was elegantly adorned by perfectly oriented halogen lighting that just screamed, "experience like no other."

      Yeah, there's nothing like an "understated entrance" that screams.

  • Why does this remind me of the party in the movie Anti-Trust ?? Will something "shocking" happen soon ?
  • The security was deemed useless when the windows controlled survelience system crashed.
  • The richest? (Score:5, Informative)

    by yebb ( 142883 ) * on Friday July 30, 2004 @09:41AM (#9843050)
    I thought the owner of IKEA was now worth more than Gates.
  • by bperkins ( 12056 ) * on Friday July 30, 2004 @09:41AM (#9843052) Homepage Journal
    Gates Gives Governor's Gala, Gets Government Guards
    • Feature Forwarded For Fanning Fanatical Flames.
    • You could even go one better and put that apostrophe in the correct place.
    • How about, "Homeland Security Usually Reserved for President of US and Military Bases extended to Bill Gate's House."

      Note that the Government convention itself did not rate such mind numbing paranoia.

      God help us if the owner of our worst artificial clerks should perish! Obviously, every frustrated terrorist in the world is targeting Bill Gates. Ali-Babba and his ilk must look up from his blue screen every day and curse old Bill. They got the little sticker, paid their money, registered, submitted and e

    • g-g-g-g-g G-unit!
  • Human after all? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NiceGuyUK ( 801305 ) on Friday July 30, 2004 @09:43AM (#9843077)
    For all the Microsoft bashing that goes on (and I figure /. readers won't need to look far for examples), the note at the end of the MS intern's blog about Gates' daughter was a nice touch.

    As much as people love to hate Bill and his company, he is just one guy after all. We seldom here about this side of him (albeit for security reasons in relation to his kids?). Perhaps a Bill Gates book in the vein of Linus' "Just For Fun" is due?
    • The coolest part (Score:5, Insightful)

      by PIPBoy3000 ( 619296 ) on Friday July 30, 2004 @09:47AM (#9843124)
      It is a sad statement on human nature that when a person becomes so wealthy and powerful, they no longer get to enjoy the simpler things in peace. I suspect there are many days when he and his family wishes they could drive to Disneyland and go on the rides like everyone else. Most public places are probably off limits due to the complexity of managing security. Kidnapping is an endless concern.

      I may not agree with all that Microsoft does as an entity, but I sometimes wish our world would let the man talk about his kids.
      • by Threni ( 635302 )
        > I suspect there are many days when he and his family wishes they could drive to
        > Disneyland and go on the rides like everyone else

        There are days when I wish I could just hire the whole bloody place for a day and be the only person there.

        > I sometimes wish our world would let the man talk about his kids.

        I'm sorry - what's stopping him from doing that?
      • by Anonymous Coward
        At least with security, he wouldn't have to worry about Disney Abductions. Disney started the rumour of psycho child-snatchers and then got it labeled as a hoax as part of their cover story. The real story is that Disney Abductions are done by Disney themselves to recruit slaves for their underground complex. (Not unlike Microsoft's mole-man army. [deadtroll.com])

        Some they just brainwash and release, like Cory Doctorow. Sad.

      • While unfortunate, I think it's a far sadder commentary about our current society that one single man holds such incredibly excessive wealth in a world where hundreds of millions struggle to simply survive.

        Not to mention that this will more than likely just be passed on generation to generation for some time to come, producing William Gates VII the incredibly rich Senator from Washington, etc, who'll be shining beacons of the ever widening gap between the rich and poor. While we may ignore the sins of t
        • by RazzleFrog ( 537054 ) on Friday July 30, 2004 @11:11AM (#9843880)
          I am no big Gates or Microsoft fan but he does far more than anybody on that Forbes 500. His foundation gave the most grants [fdncenter.org] in the US - $1.2 billion mostly to Global Health and Education (to contrast - Larry Ellison's (#5 on Forbes) Foundation gave $33 million mostly for aging and infectious disease - prevention I assume). There is really only so much that money can do, though. Think of a country like Sudan. $100 billion is not going to save that country's problems.

          I am not saying that we should put Gates on a pedastal or build a monument to him but we should respect was he does try to do.

          PS - He is not even close to being the richest man on the planet. If you think that the wealth of all of those Saudi oil Princes is even close to what Forbes reports you are looney.
        • by ifwm ( 687373 )
          "I think it's a far sadder commentary about our current society that one single man holds such incredibly excessive wealth in a world where hundreds of millions struggle to simply survive."

          Why? Since when is it reasonable to expect people to NOT acquire wealth? Why is it sad that the man made a fortune and has set his family up for life? Why is it his job to help people who can't (or won't) help themselves? You seem to assume that acquiring wealth is somehow immoral.

          As for the last part, I agree with
      • How do you know they don't already do that? (apart from Disneyland being too far to drive, that is). I have seen Bill & Melinda at a local restaurant and my wife has seen them at a local movie theater in the crowd just like everyone else. Bill really does look quite ordinary in person.

        I have no idea what any of his kids look like - or what Melinda looks like and I'm sure most of you don't either. They could very well be at Disneyland right now and hardly anyone would be any wiser for it.
      • Simple Solution (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Vagary ( 21383 )
        It's not like anything is forcing him to be wealthy and powerful: if he gave all his money away, no one would bother kidnapping him.

        It's like music and movie celebrities who complain about paparazzi: their salary is based on their worship by the masses, but they expect the masses to worship them without idols?
    • Hitler was human too... does that earn him extra points too? Hey at least he has a pulse! Not everyone does ya know. ;-)
  • by poohsuntzu ( 753886 ) on Friday July 30, 2004 @09:44AM (#9843088) Homepage
    Gates that is. Remember, since he isn't CEO anymore the primary fsck-ups (SCO anyone?) are not something he agreed the company should have ever touched in the first place, when instead the new CEO said "yay! Lets GO DO THIS!".

    The journal of the intern is not the only one I've seen where people who meet and spend time with Gates end up with a surprisingly pleasent experience. Geek + Dad + Down to Earth. Of course, people here will continue to flame Gates as if he is CEO, continue to say what a greeding person he is and ignore the intern's journal, or say that the intern is a Microsoft employee.

    I hope people can eventually look beyond the company and see the man behind what started it. He's not half bad if you give him a chance.
    • "well it was the dumbest thing I've ever read!"

      ... so, he's not half bad, but he says terribly crass and unthoughtful things like this. Right.
    • I've always seen him as a good man

      Most people who are really really rich got that way by being selfish. Gates included.
      • Bill Gates has created one of the best places in the world to work, this is from a blog I read:

        I need to thank Microsoft for several things: our benefits, our technology, and the people with whom I work. Three months ago, my oldest daughter, Jenna, age 9, was diagnosed with a brain tumor. She was a normal, healthy kid one day and being rushed in for emergency brain surgery the next. She's now recovering from her second surgery, during which they were able to get 90 percent of the tumor out. Her treatmen
        • And the only reason they can afford to provide all these benefits is by raping the rest of the computer industry.

          I'm sorry, but abusing monopoly power to make tons of money is wrong, no matter what you do with the money.

          -Z
        • Microsoft is a good place to work like the upper reaches of the Soviet bureaucracy were a good place to work. Yes, they take care of you. They also own your life. It's classic company-town stuff, updated with a high-tech gloss.

          I'm not selling this short. Some people are very happy with such an arrangement. But, after almost ten years in the service, I'm happy to be working for a small company that doesn't have that attitude -- independence has its risks, but greater rewards.
        • The top execs at Microsoft could gut the benefits and give the employees basic HMO coverage for probably 1/50th the per employee cost, and in the process reap another couple of hundred million a year for themselves.

          but they cant. when you are a company that large you can pretty much dictate to insurance companies the rates. WE do it here, we have outstanding coverage and rates have not gone up a bit. a few bean-counters 2 years ago tried to show they can save about $180.00 per employee per quarter by u
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 30, 2004 @10:15AM (#9843382)
      We slashbots dont like him, anymore that is.

      Only a meager decade or so ago, we adored him, and Microsoft, because they screwed over the Worst Company in the World (tm), IBM.

      Of course, IBM is now exploitin^H^H^H using open source, which makes them the Greatest Company in the World (tm).

      It's all such silly stupid bullshit. Not a year ago everyone here got hard for SCO. They sold linux. Hooray SCO! Now we hate them. In a year or so we'll hate IBM again.

      Corporations act like corporations, and in a very predictable way if you sit back and look at it, without trying to demonize or canonize them as if they were humans. They're neither evil nor benevolant. Yesterday we found that even our beloved Apple has no problem whipping out the DMCA to prevent real competition.

      For all of what Microsoft has done in the past, none of it should really reflect on Gates. They didn't run it like Enron, he ran it honestly albeit aggressively. Sure, you can argue Windows is a monopoly now. But the route they took to get it there, was frankly, brilliant.

      Ah fuck it. This is slashdot, home of 13-year-olds who type "emerge -u world", and think that sitting there watching text scroll by for hours makes them a unix guru.


      • Thank the good lord there are people other than me who remember what the IBM-dominated world was like and how MS and the microcomputer revolution freed everyone -- and how nice it would be _not_ to go back there.

      • by Minna Kirai ( 624281 ) on Friday July 30, 2004 @11:53AM (#9844393)
        Only a meager decade or so ago, we adored him, and Microsoft

        The self-professed technical-elite began to harbor widespread Microsoft-hatred in 1987, and it was cemented in their culture by 1994, long before Slashdot ever came online.

        Not a year ago everyone here got hard for SCO

        SCO was never adored, only tolerated- it was viewed as a company prehaps trying to do the right thing, but too incompetent to amount to much.

        beloved Apple has no problem whipping out the DMCA to prevent real competition.

        Anyone who thought Apple was pro-competition simply hasn't been paying attention, especially to their old experiment in clone-licensing.

        They didn't run it like Enron, he ran it honestly albeit aggressively.

        The numerous falsehoods that have supported Microsoft through the years are well known and documented. The very terms "vaporware" and "FUD" were invented to make it simpler to talk about how Microsoft works.

        But the route they took to get it there, was frankly, brilliant.

        Brilliance is not virtue. There is nothing contradictory about the concept of an "evil genuis" (or an amoral genius) (or a repetentant, evil genius, who dispurses ill-gotten treasure to the world's indigents)
      • "Only a meager decade or so ago, we adored him,"

        Not true. In the early days most hackers were doing open source because it was a community and sharing helped everyone. It was Gate's famous letter that was at the fore front of trying to putting an end to hacking and open source, so he could make a business out of it. He was a borderline rip off artist in his early days, with both Basic and DOS. No, I don't think Gates has ever really been liked by the hacker community.

        "It's all such silly stupid bullsh
    • "The journal of the intern is not the only one I've seen where people who meet and spend time with Gates end up with a surprisingly pleasent experience. Geek + Dad + Down to Earth. Of course, people here will continue to flame Gates as if he is CEO, continue to say what a greeding person he is and ignore the intern's journal, or say that the intern is a Microsoft employee."

      With all due respect to your opinion, the same thing has been said about Hitler and members of his Nazi party. Just because a person is
  • by diagnosis ( 38691 ) on Friday July 30, 2004 @09:50AM (#9843140) Homepage
    While this whole thing may reek of money politics, it sounds like this whole thing is at least coming down 'on the right side' of some issues, encouraging the extension of the moratorium on 'net sales taxes, and loose regulation of VoIP. Of course, there is still that minor 'monopoly' issue.

    Politics can be pretty distateful, especially when it involves things like shutting down public roads so that rich people can talk to politicians in private.

    Anyway, it sounds like Microsoft is lobbying the National Governors Association (NGA) to have more forward-thinking opinions on the things they have influence over: The 'Net sales tax moratorium, VoIP regulations, etc. While I doubt many people agree with MS's thoughts about their monopoly, it is nice to have someone 'legitimate' pushing the NGA in a more Libertarian direction, at least a little bit.

    ----------------------
    Freedom or Evil: Freevil.net [freevil.net]
    G. W. Bush says, "You decide!"
  • This is news? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by prisoner-of-enigma ( 535770 ) on Friday July 30, 2004 @09:56AM (#9843211) Homepage
    OK, other than the class warfare angle that plays so well to anti-capitalist-types on Slashdot, exactly why is this news? Bill Gates threw a ball for a bunch of current and ex-government types. He paid for it with his own cash. If he got "government" guards, it's because government guests were present. Duh! The Slashdot "article" on this reads like a bit of Bill-Gates-is-rich-and-evil propaganda.

    Look, I don't like the guy and I don't like Windows, but what he does with his own time and his own money is his business. You don't see a Slashdot article about "John Kerry and John Edwards host celebrity-laden post-convention gala with celebrity personal security" do you?

    I mean, I know Slashdot is heavily biased, but you ought to go back to at least trying to hide it.
    • I agree that the security is not important news, but I am bothered by the party itself. It seems that since Gates is rich, he is able to buy the support of politicians using fancy parties. That doesn't seem fair to me.
      • Re:This is news? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by YrWrstNtmr ( 564987 ) on Friday July 30, 2004 @10:17AM (#9843393)
        Have you taken note of all the million dollar parties at the Democratic Convention this week? DO you think the companies and organizations paying for these parties are doing it out of the kindness of their hearts? HA. Buying access and influence.

        As it always has been.
      • >It seems that since Gates is rich, he is able to buy the support of politicians using fancy parties.

        You get as much support as Gates does by getting involved with politics just like Gates.

        You can write/talk to them for FREE.
        You can join political groups.
        Most importantly, you get to choose who next year Gates want to be talking to.
    • Re:This is news? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by fermion ( 181285 )
      Class warfare plays well to capitalist types as well. Look at the Republican commercials over the years. The are laden with class demagoguery.

      Of course, since the courts of the land has deemed MS to a monopoly, there is little relation between MS and the free market. Unless, of course, you don't believe in law and order. In which case I must assume you are a democrat or a socialist or a communist. Just joking.

      But seriously, the issue is that a few people with a bunch of money is not free market or

      • Of course, since the courts of the land has deemed MS to a monopoly, there is little relation between MS and the free market.

        Umm, sorry, but I have to call BS. Find me a court decision where Microsoft was decreed to be a "monopoly." You'll fail, because no such thing ever happened. The DOJ is investigating MS for unfair competition, not being a monopoly. The two are not equal.

        In fact, Microsoft can't be a monopoly, and you yourself prove it. A monopoly requires the absence of competition, yet last I
        • Re:This is news? (Score:3, Insightful)

          by DunbarTheInept ( 764 )
          Where you even alive a few years ago? At all? The old Netscape vs Microsoft ruling *did* find Microsoft to be a monopoly. Absolutely. It's just that being a monopoly is not a crime by itself. It opens up the possibiilty for types of crimes that would otherwise be impossible, but it is still possible to be a monopoly and not get in trouble for it if you watch your behaviour carefully. And no, 100% marketshare is not the definition of a monopoly.

          So, to put it in your own words, "you're either misinform
    • Let's look at the article again:

      The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced a "temporary security zone" earlier this month around Gates' Lake Washington home ... Security zones prevent any person or watercraft from entering the area without explicit government permission. They're normally used to tighten security around military bases and naval facilities, and it's exceedingly rare for them to be erected around a private residence.

      The government guests amounted to much less than national security

      • The government guests amounted to much less than national security. The National Governors Association in town did not get the same treatment elsewhere. Indeed, only the President of the United States, aka the leader of the free world, merits such attention.

        In this day and age of terrorism, any gathering of a bunch of rich or powerful is cause for extraordinary security, not just the PotUS. The Oscar have no heavy political figures present, but security was tight as a drum. Ditto for the Golden Globes.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Influence peddling?

    Special treatment of Gates?

    Taxpayer money wasted on a private party?

    Personally, I don't see something to be hugely concerned about here.
  • by Randolpho ( 628485 ) on Friday July 30, 2004 @10:00AM (#9843250) Homepage Journal
    Seriously, I love good alliteration. Big kudos for a cool title.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 30, 2004 @10:02AM (#9843268)
    I've argued at length with Bill Gates, He's sharp!

    It was a little over 10 years ago, and the man and i argued about computer technologies and programming.

    He had a variety of perfect angles at defending his position, and was fully up to date on all the latest trends and tools. This should not have been but was. Perhaps it was his hobby.

    Mevertheless the guy was packed with info and loved a heated loud debate with a non-employee.

    I will always respect that man's brain, even if I hate every microsoft product except some early mac products of theirs.

    By the way he had NO SECURITY DETAIL of any kind at this San Jose party. (This was before his pie in the face attack in Belgium, but after Bill Joy (?) abduction).

    Bill Gates is a super geek giant, and truly knows it all.

  • by Erwos ( 553607 ) on Friday July 30, 2004 @10:05AM (#9843298)
    So, basically, Gates throws a party, invites a bunch of rather important people, and then the government _dares_ to protect them for the night? This hardly seems wasteful - for once, the government is doing their job, and protecting people who really need to be protected. Keep in mind that Bill and friends face a much larger security threat than does the average /.'er.

    I mean, come on, guys. Save the outrage for the outrageous. Would you be happier if Bill hired a private army equipped with military weapons to do the protection?

    -Erwos
  • aaaaaaah (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 30, 2004 @10:06AM (#9843311)
    Sorry but I can't stand all this being nice to Bill stuff, This is /. for god's sake.

    Microsoft has reached and held on to the current position it occupies by destroying competitors in the most appalling and brutal way possible. They did it to Lotus making sure that 123 couldn't work on each new release of Windows, they did it to handwriting pioneers Go, they did it to Netscape (trying to destroy the reputations of a number of genuine innovators like Tim Bray who was subject to a vicious, deeply personal extended attack by Microsoft in which they tried to destroy his career and took lethal action against a small struggling company because his wife worked there, all because he'd signed a consulting engagement with Netscape), they more or less did it to Apple and they're having a damn good go at Sun, and they will do it to Linux if they can work out how to. Now if Gates, as the starry-eyed intern suggests, actually believed passionately in software and computing (as I do) he wouldn't work for a company that sets out to kill anything interesting or innovative that he comes across. Perhaps its all Ballmer's fault, but I doubt it.
  • gates is cool (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gotpaint32 ( 728082 ) * on Friday July 30, 2004 @10:08AM (#9843328) Journal
    This may be flamebait but who cares. Theres too many idiots on slashdot who just need a clue. Some slashdot people hate Bill Gates because he is the man behind Windows, ooh the evil microsoft company that attacks cool noble things like Linux. Jeez, give me a break. Open source zealotry has its place, but comparing the "good" the linux movement did versus what Bill is accomplishing now; I think Bills the clear winner.

    And despite all the useless mud that open source fanboys sling at Gates, I say Gate's effort in donating and founding organizations to promote education; world health as well as civic and arts organizations in perhaps the neediest regions of the globe makes him #1 in my book.

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Five years ago, in a story on Bill Gates' philanthropy, Salon asked the question, "Is Bill Gates a Closet Liberal?" At the time, Gates had not yet really opened the floodgates of his charitable giving, but a close look at the causes he had supported indicated he was interested in reproductive health and family planning issues, and fighting the spread of infectious diseases, with a focus on the Third World. Since then, Gates has publicly promised to give away 95 percent of his wealth -- $43 billion as of September 2002 -- and he appears to be living up to his words.

    In "Health, Wealth, and Bill Gates," a new installment of "NOW With Bill Moyers" airing Friday night on PBS, Gates talks at length about his involvement in global health issues. The interview is a fascinating, detailed look at how and why Gates is giving away his billions. And while it doesn't definitively answer the question of whether Gates is a liberal -- saving dying children is not the province of a particular ideology -- one thing emerges: Gates may go down in history as the single individual who did more to help the world's neediest people than anyone who has ever lived. In the interview, Gates comes off as knowledgeable, sincere and determined to use his wealth to effect massive change. Whatever you think of his business practices, when it comes to global health he is one righteous dude.

    Source:
    http://www.salon.com/tech/feature/2003/ 05/09/gates /index_np.html
    >>>>>>>>>>>
    • by SlipJig ( 184130 ) on Friday July 30, 2004 @10:29AM (#9843522) Homepage
      The wife of a coworker of mine works for the CDC, and she travels all over the place doing field studies. She remarked of a recent trip to Haiti that people practically worship the Gates family for their support of health clinics. In fact I remember one story she told of an occasion when Bill and Melinda visited there, and some locals were dropping their pants to show them that they were healed of whatever diseases were affecting their genital regions. Needless to say, Melinda was pretty embarrassed ;-) Apparently people aren't very shy in Haiti compared to the U.S.
    • Re:gates is cool (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Zebbers ( 134389 ) on Friday July 30, 2004 @10:32AM (#9843549)
      He's helping people via money he gets by maintaining a monopoly.

      It's unimpressive....it's all about relative wealth and disposable income. The money he gives is a drop in a tiny tiny tiny bucket for him. While it is admirable that he is doing good things with extra money compared to others, it's not really out of his way.

      What irks me is that he, and microsoft, have so much cash and such a profit margin that they could retool their whole image and whole process and become a benevolent company. Instead they choose not to, and continue doing things like pushing around smaller companies and bankrolling sco.

      It just amazes me. It would be so easy for them to do a 180 and start becoming better in the publics eyes. And I'm not talking geeks. The majority of regular people are frustrated with the lackluster quality of the software even if they don't realize the monopoly or the practices.

      But, the reason Gate's got to where he is is his "never enough" mentality. While it may have made him one of the richest people in the world, and may have allowed him to do some good...the harm his company does by maintaining a monopoly and stifling innovation outweighs those benefits. It's called pulling a fast one people. Look, look I'm giving these people free cookies! Look! (Please don't look at the other people whom I'm beating down with my corporate moneystick.)
      • Re:gates is cool (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Rostin ( 691447 ) on Friday July 30, 2004 @11:41AM (#9844225)
        It's unimpressive....it's all about relative wealth and disposable income. The money he gives is a drop in a tiny tiny tiny bucket for him. While it is admirable that he is doing good things with extra money compared to others, it's not really out of his way.

        Call me when your net worth is tens of billions of dollars and you're giving away 95% of it. I really suspect the basis of this comment is a mistaken belief in your own decency, viz, "If I had billions of dollars, I'd give it all away except a couple of million to live on." Everyone SAYS that. I suspect it's much harder than it sounds. I might be way off the mark here, but if you are a working geek, chances are you have disposable income. What are you doing with it? It's a fair question because if it really is just about relative wealth and disposable income, some dirt farmer or kid going through the garbage in a third world country could justifiably look at you and say, "Wow! If I had that guy's cash, I'd be giving it away like mad!" And then he would wonder, unless I miss my guess, why you aren't.

        While it may have made him one of the richest people in the world, and may have allowed him to do some good...the harm his company does by maintaining a monopoly and stifling innovation outweighs those benefits.

        I could buy the argument that the ends don't justify the means. But to argue that the harm MS has done really outweighs the good Gates has done with his personal wealth is mindboggling. So some relatively affluent people have been put out of work (in a country where the government would take care of them, worse case scenario), and your favorite software isn't as popular as maybe it might otherwise be. A lot of the money he is shoveling out is going more or less directly to save people's lives. Do you really think the two compare?
    • Gates may go down in history as the single individual who did more to help the world's neediest people than anyone who has ever lived.

      You are exactly right. Compare that to Eric "it's mine mine mine and no-one else is getting a cent" Raymond's attitude.
  • by Anonymous Writer ( 746272 ) on Friday July 30, 2004 @10:08AM (#9843330)

    If your invitation to Gates' place got "lost in the mail", you can read about a Microsoft intern who got to have dinner with the big cheese.

    Anyone wonder if this Bill (antitrust guy) gets as close to his interns as the other Bill (impeachment guy)?
  • Dang, he'll hang with the interns before he'll hang with us contractors.

    Oh well, gotta keep humpin' for that blue badge and those great child adoption benefits. (a little personal goal)

  • Excerpts from the meeting:

    Dart^C^C Bill Gates:

    • "Present and former members of the Senate, Powerbrokers of the free world, if I am elected, I promise to put an end to corruption..."

    Newt Gingrich:

    • "Now they will elect a new Chancellor - a strong Chancellor. One who will not let our tragedy continue."

    The security is actually the clone army in disguise!

  • ...To the left was a room with a design so powerful that it could only exist in the home of the richest man in the world....

    Am I the only one wondering what the hell this room looks like? Thanks for providing so little detail - now I won't be able to sleep for days ;-)
  • The home of the world's richest man was a 'temporary security zone' when he held a party for members of the National Governors Association.
    Bill Gates isn't the world's richest man. Ingvar Kamprad [yahoo.com], the founder of Ikea, is.
  • by alanxyzzy ( 666696 ) on Friday July 30, 2004 @10:37AM (#9843586)
    Read the Department of Homeland Security's notice of the Security Zone Regulations it enforced for Elliot Bay and Lake Washington, WA.

    See aerial photos of his house.

    (mirror site) http://cryptome.sabotage.org/gates-eyeball.htm [sabotage.org]
    (main site) http://cryptome.org/gates-eyeball.htm [cryptome.org]

  • A suggestion (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jandersen ( 462034 ) on Friday July 30, 2004 @10:39AM (#9843599)
    - which I'm sure will get me modded down in the eyes of various goverments: Why not just drop all this protection of big and important politicians? Yeah, I know why, but just think about it - the average guy in power wuld have to put a bit more effort into not creating enemies, for one thing.

    I remember a story about the Russian Czar visiting the king of Denmark; and they went to look at one of the famous landmarks in Copenhagen, the 'Round Tower', which is a church tower with a (at that time) advanced observatory at the top and no staircase inside (another story is that one king used to drive his carriage up there, but I'm not so sure about that). The story goes that the Czar wanted to demonstrate his absolute power over his soldiers as well as their courage, so he ordered a young lieutenant to climb over the balustrade and jump to his death (they were standing at the top of the tower), and the man started doing so, somewhat reluctantly I imagine, but none the less.

    The King promptly got this stopped, of course - he didn't want to have that kind of spectacle in his city, but he admitted that he was impressed. 'But I have another kind of power', he said, 'I can go out into the countryside, unarmed, to any farmhouse, rich or poor and stay the night, and the farmer will be my personal guard. When hearing this, the Czar fell silent.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    If you catch anyone in the right shade of light (so to speak) they can appear to be nice people, you can even be tricked into beleiving George Bush has a brain - but thats another story.

    Yes applaud the fact that Bill Gates is a caring father (so are a lot of other males on the planet) and yes he has pursued the American (capitalist) dream to its greatest (clap clap clap) but the fact remains the company he founded and still has a strong controlling interest in has some very bad business practices. Software
  • by Chokai ( 10224 ) on Friday July 30, 2004 @10:53AM (#9843717)
    Well the intern made the single largest mistakes most newbie interns (I hope he's a newbie) make the first time they goto Bill's house. I think he'll learn though. :-)

    Either way, I was a MS intern for 5 years, the first year I couldn't go but by my second party I had figured out that you don't talk to Bill for very long least for more than maybe 15 minutes. The reason? Because everyone else from MS, and then some is there, for example Tom Brokaw was at one of my parties because of MSNBC. I would ask you this question? When else in your life are you going to have a chance to talk one on one with a senior VP for MS for 4 hours, yes 4 hours. Or for that matter someone like David Cutler or Michael Kinsley (who was my choice as I am interested in politics) You can either do that or stand in the donut around Bill and ask two or three questions and get short one sentence answers.

    I will admit that the house is quite impressive, when I was there I was informed by security that it's really two houses in one. The "conference center" part which is where you spend your time and a more intimate "living" part where the family actually spends thier time. I found the private little bungalow down by the beach with the adjacent boathouse the most interesting though, complete with lazy boys, a chess board and an interesting selection of books scattered around.
  • Dichotomy (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Without betraying any confidences (especially by not logging in!) I can pass on some secondhand impressions of Bill the human. I live in Seattle (but have never worked for Microsoft) and have friends whose kids are in the same classrooms as the Gates kids. I've never met the guy but these friends say the Gates are a perfectly nice family, the kids are just normal kids, and that playdates at the Gates' house aren't a lot different than with any other schoolmates. BillG may be all the things people say he
    • ...the sense of entitlement and superiority one sees in those with inherited wealth, such as we see in folk like as President Bush.

      Or John Kerry and his wife.
  • The Big Cheese (Score:3, Informative)

    by jpu8086 ( 682572 ) on Friday July 30, 2004 @11:28AM (#9844079) Homepage
    How Bill Gates came to be known as the big cheese [panam.edu] (story includes the trouble that follows).
  • by mclove ( 266201 ) on Friday July 30, 2004 @12:18PM (#9844686)
    I too got to have dinner with Bill a few years ago. (though they didn't hire me full-time, so I can now spill corporate secrets with impunity :-) The basic format was pretty much as Metanoya describes, but here are some more notes:
    • The event actually took place over the course of four different nights - they opened it to all Microsoft interns who were graduating the following year, and as Bill's backyard is not all that enormous it would have been difficult to squeeze us all in there at once.
    • I didn't get a tour of the insides, but from the outside and the staircase/walkway the house looks like a big expensive log cabin - a very sleek and polished-looking one, but nevertheless burdened by the fact that the overall theme the architect was given was "log cabin". Which I suppose makes it a very good metaphor by Microsoft's products :-) I give it high marks for blending in with the overall surroundings/style of the area, but there are dozens of other much less monstrous houses around there that blend in just as well.
    • The backyard was exquisitely landscaped - there was a little path on one side through some trees and over a little bridge with a waterfall, an impressive-looking (and fenced-off) private playground for the kids, and the sand on his private beach was raked like a Zen garden.
    • One other interesting house detail: through one of the glass windows you could see an exercise room, but the equipment was so piled up and crowded together that it was pretty clear that no one actually uses it. The indoor/outdoor swimming pool had a couple of pieces of pool equipment floating in it, though, so it appears someone is making use of that at least.
    • Security was indeed very tight - one intern managed to sneak a camera in past the security guards, but all of us got a pissed-off e-mail about it the next day and that particular intern was never seen or heard from again :-)
    • Bill and his toroidal structure actually weren't the only attractions - most of the Microsoft brass seems to have made it a point to show up to at least one of these, and I got to have an interesting conversation with Microsoft speech recognition guru and former Apple VP Kai-Fu Lee. I don't think Ballmer showed up to any of them, but if I remember the schedule sheet correctly most of the other VP's like Allchin, Ayala, et al did come to one of them. (plus all the XBox people, in spite of the appalling difficulty of getting a job with that group)
    • The food was quite good - I was disappointed that it was caterers and not Bill himself out there with a spatula and a "hail to the chef" apron, but still one of the best hamburgers I've had that wasn't cooked on a 30-year-old grill.
    • I didn't spend much time with Bill but here's one little throwaway comment: some wag asked him where the bathroom was and he said he didn't know. I don't know whether he was reacting to the guy being a smartass or genuinely didn't know where the guest bathroom was, but it seemed funny either way.
    • Also, according to Bill there are fifty-some copies of Windows running at various locations in his house. (though bear in mind that they use it for eHome demo's too)

    That's about all I can think of at the moment, it was an interesting experience but I didn't come away as impressed as some people have. If I had that much money to spend on a house I'd have hired a better architect and told him to do something genuinely innovative.

We can found no scientific discipline, nor a healthy profession on the technical mistakes of the Department of Defense and IBM. -- Edsger Dijkstra

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