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BBC Solicts Questions to Ask Bill Gates 210

James Hunt writes "The BBC are doing an interview with Bill Gates on Sunday 17th October at 8pm BST on BBC2, and are looking for questions people might be interested in putting to him. Heavy hitting BBC interview veteran Jeremy Paxman - known for not holding back on interviewees is conducting the interview. Email: to submit your questions. " <preach> Remember polite and incisive question will do a better job than flame. Let's be grown-ups. </preach>
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BBC Solicts Questions to Ask Bill Gates

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  • by BootHead ( 41384 ) on Tuesday October 12, 1999 @04:49AM (#1621229)

    Bill, how many times a day do you read slashdot? And does the borg thing bother you?

  • Has the prospect of being locked in the bathroom after Y2K, in any way prompted you to stock your bathroom with a secret stash of comestibles?
  • Mr. Gates, what if the government does choose to split up Microsoft into an operating system division and a Software division. Which division would you choose to stay with?
  • by Epeeist ( 2682 ) on Tuesday October 12, 1999 @04:53AM (#1621233) Homepage
    Paxman is not known for treating his interviewees lightly. He is a very bright, ruthless interrogater with impeccable manners.

    If you are going to submit questions then make sure they are "opening" so they allow Paxman to follow up.

    I really hope the BBC makes a webcast of this for you people on the other side of the pond.
  • An interesting question might be, whether he bill gates sees modularity as the future, or that he thinks tight, specific code is better in the end.
  • Really, anyone think Bill will give straight answers?

    At least it might provide some comedy.

    My question:
    What was your reasoning for using the backslash ("\") as the directory delimiter in MS-DOS instead of the industry standard slash ("/")? I find the slash easier to type (at least on an American keyboard).

    "Man könnte froh sein, wenn die Luft so rein wäre wie das Bier"
  • Q: Mr. Gates... How much is enough?
    A: Ummmm...

    (What's the emoticon for leaning over and rocking in your chair?)

  • why not make windows open source? i mean, you could keep the MS name and make tons of money off of that. think of the improvements to the operating system open source could provide. remember it isn't all about your stock value and other material things, its about a good OS from what could be a very good company.
  • he was being clever.. the dicrepancies in the slashes insure that dos is incompatible with the IS.
  • Mr. Gates, will Microsoft change it's policy on aquiring new companies, or will it continue to assimilate anything it comes across?
  • Yea yea I know im supposed to email it to him. But the question is something that is valid to consider. Bill Gates being president of both companies wouldnt make a split up Microsoft much different than a unified Microsoft. Actually I am much more afraid of 2 header dragons than 1. At least when they are only 1 division the government can keep hitting them with the Monopoly law suits. When they are split you have a much more difficult set of laws that need to be applied to prove unfair buisness practices.
  • by mattz ( 82905 ) on Tuesday October 12, 1999 @05:00AM (#1621242) Homepage
    ...entirety, or did satan allow you to sell just chunks....i figure if a kidney can get 1.5M, then your left chakra should be about worth 25million years in hell?
  • 1. Mr Gates, given that the vast majority of micro-computer owners use Windows, how come Microsoft keeps on releasing buggy and insecure software? Don't you think quality should be your main corporate concern?

    2. Mr Gates, given your immense fortune and undeniable intelligence, how come you have given so little of your own money to worthy cause? I know you have set up a "Bill & Melinda Gates" foundation -- but it has been pretty much absent from the news. Don't you think you are setting a bad example for the younger generations by flaunting so openly your wealth and your greed?

    Yes, I know, that's *four* questions -- but they are really lumped together in two categories... =)
  • 1) Do you run Windows on your own computer?

    1b) If so, what do you say when you get a crash, a hang, or an other event that causes data loss?

    2) Have you ever done anything illegal?

    2b) What would you be willing to do if (say) some upstart operating system came along and threatened to cost Micorsoft hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue over the next decade or two?

    3) Do you believe your own bullshit, or is it just for public consumption?

    3b) Do you really think we're that stupid?

    4) Wouldn't you rather have a Mac?

    It's October 6th. Where's W2K? Over the horizon again, eh?
  • You say NT is better than Freenix, The *BSDs and Linux. If so, why does Hotmail and many other microsoft sites run FreeBSD?

    Mmmmm WindowMaker []. Small, fast, and feature rich.
  • by ebcdic ( 39948 ) on Tuesday October 12, 1999 @05:08AM (#1621248)
    For those who don't know, Jeremy Paxman is the interviewer who recently asked Henry Kissinger if he felt like a fraud for accepting a Nobel peace price considering his support for Pinochet, the Chinese government and the bombing of Cambodia.
  • I don't know, he may be willing to admit that he has those Star Trek doors.
  • Mr Gates, do you believe that all cryptographic export restrictions should be scrapped?
  • You say NT is better than Freenix, the *BSDs and Linux. If so, why does Hotmail run FreeBSD? I know that you bought Hotmail with it running Solaris. You then put NT on it. Finally, FreeBSD took the cake and has remained ever since. The reason seems clear to me. I'm curious as to what you have to say?


    Mmmmm WindowMaker []. Small, fast, and feature rich.
  • People put alot of faith in their OS & apps, and alot of work needs to be redone when they go wrong like Word 5.

    BG may be richer than Croessus, but it doesn't seem that money suffices. With MS so dominant, why should we believe BG has his customer's interest at heart? Don't his shareholders come first?

    -- Robert
  • by sparks ( 7204 ) <acrawford AT laetabilis DOT com> on Tuesday October 12, 1999 @05:16AM (#1621253) Homepage
    You say you are just flaming. But those questions are very much in the Paxman style. He likes to make people squirm. But he isn't abusive, trivial or sensationalist; his subjects squirm because the questions are usually very perceptive.

    I can easily see him asking "Are you ever going to produce a product that saves more time than it wastes?" or "When will you realize that stability is important?"

    There was one famous interview where he asked a senior politician the same question thirteen times in a row until he got a straight answer. I look forward to seeing that same no-bullshit style used against Uncle Gates' carefully prepared marketing drivel.

  • Do you worry about, or plan for, being sued over losses resulting from an instability in NT?
  • Slash was not available as a directory separator because they'd already used it for command options, in the way Unix uses a minus sign (/d instead of -d).

    Not sure why they used slashes for options. Presumably CP/M and QDOS did. Perhaps to be different from Unix, perhaps to be similar to VMS (which uses [, ., and ] in file names instead of /).

  • Bill, there was a time when you talked about "information at your fingertips"(tm).
    The Internet has delivered this promise and yet for years Microsoft ignored the potential
    of the Internet. Was the desire to own the worldwide computing infrasructure blinding Microsoft to the possibility of realizing this vision through open interoperable protocols ?

    Isn't Microsoft doing the same by keeping it's Office and Win2000 products tightly controlled ?
    Will "information at your fingertips" be realized (in the new millenium) by Linux, Java and the open Internet rather than Microsoft's Win2000, DCOM and tightly controlled application architecture ?

    Overall, have open architectures delivered on Microsoft's "information at
    your fingertips" vision far better than
    Microsoft ever could ?

    Note :- the phrase "information at your fingertips" is trademarked by Microsoft.
  • I had lunch with a developer at Microsoft recently. After quite a heated discussion, we started talking about improvements to Linux vs Microsoft. Microsoft appears to be doing a push to reduce the time it takes to boot windows. Shouldn't MS be concentrationg on not forcing a reboot by crashing or needing to reboot everytime you change a setting?
  • With the relese of the HandSpring visor, and the success of the Palm devices how do you see this effecting the WinCE devices, and will microsoft continue to compete in this arena?

    Over the next one or two decades what do you beleve will be the role of the desktop PC compared to portable web-surfing gadgets, and other netPCs?(either tv-top or desktop)
  • by coyote-san ( 38515 ) on Tuesday October 12, 1999 @05:19AM (#1621259)
    You know, I really don't care what Bill Gates says about anything... and that should terrify him.

    This isn't a casual statement, I did give thought to a question. And I might still submit it, or a variant:

    A&E Biography recently named you the 41st most influential person of the past 1000 years. That is quite an honor... but Robin Williams in the same show attacked your truthfulness in a series of one-liners about several honorees. A well-regarded computer trade journalist (whose name I forget!) has commented that no one would throw Microsoft and the truth into the same room for fear of a matter-antimatter explosion.

    Doesn't it concern you that Bill Gates and dishonesty are becoming as synonymous as John DeLorean and cocaine trafficking?

    But the sad truth is that I simply don't give a damn what Bill Gates has to say about anything. There is simply nothing he can say that will interest me because I know, from a decade of Bill-watching, that it will be self-serving, vaporware, or both.

    I wish Jeremy Paxman the best of luck, but I honestly think it would have been easier to interview Richard Nixon shortly after Watergate than Bill Gates today.
  • ... " *preach* Remember polite and incisive questions will do a better job, THEN??? flame. Let's be grown-ups. */preach*

    shouldn't you change the "then" to "than" before some overzealous individual acts politely and THEN FLAMES? Just a note. Don't flame me.
  • He was being short-sighted; MS-DOS v1 didn't have any directories at all, and hence didn't need a directory seperator character. So they used the slash as the command-line switch character, as in fdisk /mbr. Remember, under DOS the space between the command and the switches are optional. So fdisk/mbr would be legal.

    Then when MS-DOS v2 came along and needed to support directories, they couldn't use the slash as it would be ambiguous. So the "other" slash was used instead... the one which was already used as an escape character in UNIX. Which, to cut a long story short, is why Samba users everywhere regularly type four backslashes before their server name :)

  • How can you go to sleep at night, after doing what you do?
  • Yay quciktime TV! Part of qucik time TV is the BBC so everyone should be able to catch this interview (although maybe if would be better if everyone had a high speed connection).
  • I wonder if Gates will stomp out too?
  • by Gab ( 9164 ) on Tuesday October 12, 1999 @05:25AM (#1621268)
    Dear Bill,

    The OMG ( is a standards body with a membership list of over 800 companies - one which reads like a who's-who in the industry. It's mission is interoperability - helping different vendors software work together.

    Microsoft is a member and yet appears to ignore the resulting standards. Microsoft continues to push it's own propriority solutions.

    Does Microsoft really believe these 800 other companies are wrong? Or is it safe to conclude that Microsoft is not interested in interoperability, the innovation that releases and the customer choice that this engenders [1].


    [1] For instance there is one vendor of the Microsoft 'Application Server' solution (DCOM) - Microsoft, and about 20 vendors of application servers based on the OMG standard (CORBA).

  • As this programme is being broadcast to Joe Public I reckon the questions are likely to be broad rather than deep. Though this would be an interesting question Paxman is likely to focus more on BGs wealth and influence rather than the specific nature of the products. The BBC are running trailers for this programme showing how much BG earns every hour (squllion dollars)
  • Of course Gates wouldn't want the crypto restrictions lifted. We've heard of the 'supposed' (and I do suppose) NSAkey in Windows. Microsoft always has great crypto to all of their products. Don't you think that there's an under the table deal? I do. If other companies could use crypto as strong as the M$ crypto then that means better competition and what businessman wants that. Seriously though, who here thinks Bill reads /. regularly. I do.
  • Go to the Apple website. se/live/ [] There's a link to the BBC stream.

  • This looks like a great opportunity to ask intelligent, critical questions. I sure hope these won't be slashdotted to smithereens with megabytes of hatemail.
  • by albalbo ( 33890 ) on Tuesday October 12, 1999 @05:27AM (#1621273) Homepage
    This is how it should go...

    [Dong] Do, do do do do do do do...
    It's Universally Challenged, with your host Jeeeeeeeeeeeremy Pax-mannnnnnnn.

    (Jeremy) And here's your starter for ten. In the 'development lifecycle' of software, what comes after marketing?


    (Jeremy) Oh really now, come on.

    [Bzzt! Gates, Harvard drop-out]

    (Bill) Testing?

    (Jeremy, pulling face) No, no, no, no, really now.

    .... etc

    (For those over the pond, Jeremy Paxman is also a gameshow host for 'University Challenge'. He asks ridiculously hard questions, and then harries the contestants and ridicules them when they (inevitably) get one wrong. 'Don't be silly' is a typical response, as is 'Of course it isn't', and 'No, no, no, no, no, no [shaking head]'.)

    And the stuff about him asking a polititian (Michael Howard, then Home Secretary I think) the same question 13 times - he later admitted it was the director's fault. "Fill, Jeremy, fill!" he was shouting down the earpiece. Jeremy couldn't think of anything else to ask him, but was relieved when he realised he wasn't getting a straight answer and could keep asking the same question.
  • Paxman is a political interviewer, he won't be comfortable getting into anything which even smells technical. Clever questions about the M$ monopoly, and (if we are really lucky) free software, might make it in if they are phrased in a political way. I suspect though that the interview will probably focus more on Bill's wealth than how he obtained it.


  • Is there going to be a webcast of this? Where can you get the BBC in the States?
  • If you saw $50,000 sitting on the floor, assuming it takes you 3 seconds to pick it up, would you make a loss by doing so?

  • It would have been (and still could be) a good idea to submit the best questions from this discussion to Auntie Beeb as "official slashdot questions".
  • ...what is Paxman (a wizard with political issues, but probably not too confident when it comes to techie stuff) going to ask Bill? Is he going to start challenging him on technical issues? Of course not. Paxman doesn't like to be made look a fool - Bill used to be a hacker. He will stick to more general political issues, probably talking quite a bit about Bill's wealth (for example, challenging him on why he doesn't give more to charity). If we are going to persuade the BBC to ask anything about Open Source or Monopolies, it must be phrased in a sufficiently non-technical way that Paxman will go for it.


  • Dear Mr Gates,

    Will Microsoft ever commit to following open standards for the web like HTML, XML and Cascading Style Sheets? Even Internet Explorer version 5 has severe bugs in its CSS level 1 support, and lacks several features in HTML 4.0. Not to mention the HTML output from products like FrontPage and Word. Has Microsoft any plans on making sure their products outputs documents that are easy to access regardless of platform or system?

  • He'd probably save time that way. After all if it's cash, it'll save him at least one trip to the ATM machine. (Or however he gets cash.)
  • by Effugas ( 2378 ) on Tuesday October 12, 1999 @05:42AM (#1621285) Homepage
    Mr. Gates:

    Two questions:

    First, I do not villify you. I do not consider you a "Great Satan" of the world, nor do I plot your downfall or anything of the sort. However, there are people out there who have some extremely negative reactions to your success, and the perception that you've gotten where you are through legal chicanery, false advertising, and outright bullying not only appears to be a common sentiment but also one justified in a disturbingly large amount of evidence. My questions to you are as follows:

    First, if you had the power to do so, what would be three things that you would go back and change about the ways in which your company has done business over the years? Or, so as to not put too many words in your mouth, are there three things over the past twenty or so years of Microsoft's "ascent to stardom" that you regret on a personal level, an ethical level, or a simple bottom line profitability calculation?

    My second question to you is more subtle, and probably won't engender me too popular with my Slashdot brethren. Your programming team which composed Internet Explorer 5 did an outstanding job creating a browser that, while not perfect, easily can stand on its own as a significant advance in any number of web technologies. Unfortunately, their work was marred by relatively horrific enforcement of your company's mandate to eliminate Netscape at all costs--one incident led to Compaq recieving official termination of its licensing agreement for all Windows operating systems; another led to Gateway 2000 practically thanking Microsoft for the right to allow Netscape to be a customer choice in an extremely limited circumstance. As a leader and perhaps a role model to the engineers of Microsoft, how do you justify the apparent denegration and distrust in the quality of their work, even when they create products of excellent quality?

    That's what I'd like to know. Knowing a few of you here on Slashdot, you probably think I was paid off by Microsoft, or am really some 35 mid forties PR schmuck hired to defend The Man.

    Nope. Email me or check my web page, and don't even try to get all geekier-than-thou with me :-)

    Yours Truly,

    Dan Kaminsky
    DoxPara Research

  • Who was this Bill Gates person? Never heard of him.
    Zat the one who called Winders an operating system? If so, running KDE, do I have an operating system on top of another operating system?
    Zat the one who declared darkness the new industry standard?
    Zat the one re-doing the cream cake number?
    Or is He dah driving force behind free software? (if his winders were that clean, who might have wanted to invent a mop for them?)
    Be it as it may, some later generation will have to praise him for his marketing powers, or his near-to-godlike talent of combining stealing and selling. Where's the line between people like him and a common crook?
    (In no way I want to convey the impression I am not a true admirer of lawyers, behave!)

  • If you were a flower, what kind of flower would you be?
  • Even if he had a conscience, I think $100 Billion will buy a lot of downers.
  • Should we first be polite and Then flame ?

    Actually, "First be polite, then flame" appears to be accepted practice among political interviewers. Since the interviewer in question is Mr. Paxman, I think that - typo or no typo - it is appropriate. :)

    "I am Blair of EU^H^HBorg. Surrender your currency and prepare to be assimilated."
  • If you've ever seen paxman up against some smart arse politician then you would want to see this.

    The DOJ questioning should seem like a walk in the park.

    I wonder if paxman knows a *good* definition of innovation.

  • Certainly, but I can still try can't I? :-)
  • Bill,

    Why in heck did you create an OS that you have to REBOOT in order to change the IP?

    Why do you need to REBOOT to change the hostname?

    Why in god's name must you REBOOT five gazillion times to install NT?

    Do you expect to get out of the bathroom soon?

  • > He's bloody good at his interviews though -
    > even if a bit doggedly persistant.

    All hail the quality of Radio 4's today programme. Although, I have to say, if I were to pick anyone to interview The Bill it wouldn't be Jeremy, it would be "BBC Rottweiler John Humphries" (as the tabloid press in this country is want to call him).

    On another, slightly more off-topic note, does anyone remember the time when one of the Universities kept getting questions wrong, 5 points deducted and were playing for ages with a negative score? Damn that Jeremy whooped on they asses. ;)
  • I disagree, I doubt Jeremy Paxman will allow his questions to be pre-vetted. This is the BBC after all ;-).
  • Yeah Peace to the world man!
    Come on people.....If you don't like the system DON'T install it. Besides if I had a couple of billions I'd sleep really tight, wouldn't care how much asses must be slashed.
    I'd rather know how he (640Kb is enough for everybody) has been able to stuff-it-down-our-throats-whilst-making-a-mean-pro fit all these years?
    So please do go on the 'we go and the change the world tour'. The hippies tried and failed, the punks tried and failed.....who do you think you are that you would succeed? can flame me ofcourse, but my threshold is on 2 anyway.
    #include "whatever.h"
    /* This code does everyting */
  • Mr Gates, Is resistance futile, must we be assimilated?

  • by Bud^- ( 70689 )

    Mr. Gates, if you where a Tree, what type of Tree would you be?
  • Of course he wants them lifted.

    Microsoft wants...NO demands that the restrictions be lifted so that microsoft is free to sell buggy insecure encryption software to *all* of the free world.

    James (apparently *under the influence*)
    let forever be

  • by Bud^- ( 70689 )
    If you had a nickel for every time Windows crashed, how much money would, I mean do you currently have?
  • what was the arrest for?
  • So which is it? Boxers or briefs?
  • Since the mindcraft tests were done, it's clear that NT is better than Linux at serving huge amounts of static pages. That said, is there anything NT's good for other than hosting porno sites?
  • Question 1

    If, despite your best efforts (see http://www.openso []), open standards prevail as the mechanism for intra-software communication and data storage how will Microsoft compete?

    Question 2

    Do you have any plans to use a subscription system or time-limited licenses for retail Microsoft software (not web based, I want to know about Windows and Office retail, etc...)?

    Question 3 (in 2 parts)

    When will the OS lineage built upon 'Quick & Dirty Operating System (QDOS)' (the name of the OS BG bought, before he renamed it to MSDOS) finally end?

    Why should we believe a word you say? (he had promised Win98 was the last, then Win98 2nd edition, and now Win Millennium; they are all GUI's which run on top of MSDOS).

    The deep cover agent we have inside the NSA says they're planning to get agents to insert malicious code in year 2000 fixes Las Vegas just as everybodys sitting down for Christmas dinner.

  • For you non-Britons who haven't heard of Paxman, he's a very formidable interviewer. He once asked Micheal Howard (then Home Secretary, I think) the same question fourteen times when he refused to answer it. There's a realvideo version of the interview at the bbc's website. Send in those questions!
  • Bad luck - It's BBC WorldService TV - not the real terrestrial stuff. You have to be a bona fide licence payer to get to watch this one.
  • I've just mailed off a load of questions and pointed the BBC to the coverage of MS on The Register :-

    now I cant wait for Sunday, if they use the info Bill and MS is going to look guilty of massive monopoly power and trying to usurp the courts, and yes Paxman is the man for the job, he makes politicians squirm all the time, now all we need are some suggestions for Bills resignation speach / suicide note ?

  • I think that you can see here [] that Mr. Gates cannot be accused of not giving any money to charity.

  • Since Microsoft is the most universally hated company amongst the technical community, is it becoming more and more difficult to find employees willing to work for you?

    I'm a CS Student in my final year. Based in Reading, UK, same as Microsoft. Memory says I could get to their place in about 20 mins from here by bike. Now, this time next year I'll be hopefully working in IT, and I'd like to stay in this area. Am I even considering applying to MS? No way - I'd be embarrassed to have any of their software on my CV, and embarrased to know that my life was partially payed for by the effective tax on PC use that is Windows.

    Do they really think no-one agrees with me?

  • by -=[ SYRiNX ]=- ( 79568 ) on Tuesday October 12, 1999 @06:38AM (#1621311) Homepage
    Mr. Gates, Microsoft is a business, and the primary goal of any business is to make money. However, your personal interest and enthusiasm about technology means that Microsoft is also strongly geared toward progress and technical advancement as an end goal.

    People who support the capitalist economic model would claim that it's a good thing for Microsot to be so profit-driven, because the profits that MS makes represent happy customers. But there is a growing anti-Microsoft sentiment outside of Redmond, composed not only of open-source enthusiasts but average users as well, who claim that profits and user satisfaction are not correlated closely enough, and that Microsoft is simply ignoring the desires of users by focusing so closely on profits.

    What argument would you make to convince those disgruntled users that the profit-driven corporate business model is actually the best way to produce software and satisfy users? Have you or others in the company considered trying out a small open-source project (maybe a game or a small tool or something independent from Windows or Office, etc) to see what the pros and cons of that development method might be?
  • Paxman: Do you run Windows on your own computer?

    Gates: Yes.

    Paxman: If so, what do you say when you get a crash, a hang, or an other event that causes data loss?

    Gates: Damn, I shoulda requested a taped appearance...

    Gates: Eh....Uh...Hm...cough...Eh...

    Paxman: Excuse me?

    Gates: Sorry, I guess I have caught a cold recently...what have you just said?

    Paxman: What do you say when you get a crash, a hang, or an other event that causes data loss?

    Gates: Eh....Uh...Hm...cough...Eh...WHAT?

    Paxman: Let's put it at the end. Mr. Gates, have you ever done anything illegal?

    Gates: Being the Chairman and CEO of the world's powerful, and hence the most ethical software company, of course I haven't done anything illegal - speeding doesn't count, though - you know, being in this fast-changing industry, you'll be promptly taken over if you aren't fast.

    Paxman: What would you be willing to do if (say) some upstart operating system came along and threatened to cost Micorsoft hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue over the next decade or two?

    Gates: Eh...Uh...this question is irrelevant, since I can't see any competent operating system that threaten to cost us any amount of money, anytime in the future.

    Paxman: Have you just said that you'll promptly be taken over if you don't act fast in this fast-changing industry? How can you be so sure that there won't be an operating system that will threaten you?

    Gates: cough cough cough excuse me, the cold's strike again.

    Paxman: Heh, anyway, do you believe your own bullshit, or is it just for public consumption?

    Gates: Of course it is primarily targeted towards our brainwas...TCO-conscious customers and enterprise. Of course, the more people believe in us, it would be easier for us to rip'em off...Mwahaha...

    Paxman: Pardon?

    Gates (realizing it's live): Oh. Did I say anything? Oh yeah. We value our customers over everything else. The buck stops here.

    Paxman: Do you really think we're that stupid?

    Gates: me?

    Paxman: Wouldn't you rather have a Mac?

    Gates: Definitely not. I think this is going grossly offtopic...let's talk about the exciting *new* features that will appear on Windows 2000 that we've implemented last week with 433,569 lines of new code!!! What's more...

    Paxman (calling for commercial): We'll take a break for now. We'll be back 5 minutes later and ask about how Mr. Gate has caught this mysterious virus that sometimes filters what he hears.

  • You can't interview Bill Gates, only his PR team.
  • The BBC's Jeremy Paxman is not known for politeness. This is the interviewer about whom Henry Kissinger said "If this is your idea of a kind and gentle interview, I'd hate to be on one of your other shows" ("Start The Week" on BBC Radio 4).

    Think of the rudest question you can without actually swearing or veering off topic, and Jeremy WILL ask it.

    For the first time in my life I pity Bill Gates.

    Paxman Bio []
    Pax man denounces politcal conferences []
    No more Mr. Nice Guy []


  • I don't know about any body else, but if I just replace a "/" where a "\" would normally be, Samba works just fine. So intead of typing:
    I would type:
    Try it out!

  • Considering the recent well publicized security problems with Hotmail and the less well-publicized security problems with the Internet Information Server and Microsoft's ODBC; how much faith should people have in Microsoft's ability to protect their confidential financial information in the Passport(tm) system?

    It took almost 5 years in grad school to learn to write a sentance that long :-)

  • From the trailers that the Beeb has been running of this so far (and they're pushing it quite a bit) the main focus seems to be more about him being the Richest Man In The World and his role as a 'visionary' (okay, I know) in the computing industry.

    There is almost definitely going to be approx. 20% DOJ case questions and some kinda 'monopoly' focus by Paxman.

    Reality check here: I expect *VERY LITTLE* mention of Linux as a serious threat - instead it will most likely be lumped in with 'the competition' when mentioned by Paxman.

    The Beeb are going to keep this interview very mainstream, unlike Channel 4 (also terrestrial) which prefers to honor the special interest groups better (e.g. 'Triumph of the Nerds', etc).

    Nonetheless I still hope the Linux questions will be fired at him, and Jeremy Paxman won't make these questions easy - if they come. A transcript of the interview would be nice - the BBC website may post this afterwards - their website content is usually quite good.
  • Dear Mr. Gates,


    Well, it is a question... :-)
  • Won't be able to challenge Gates on technical issues? From what I can see of Gates's technical skills, my scrotum could challenge him. Remember Paxman's a clever interview and will be sure to research his stuff well.
  • Your Linux Myths was an excellent read. Do you have any plans for publishing more good fiction?

    Perhaps a Plan 9 Myths page? A PDP/11 Myths page? A /. Myths page?
  • > Gates (realizing it's live): ... The buck stops here.

    About 100,000,000,000 bucks have stopped with him, last I heard.

    It's October 6th. Where's W2K? Over the horizon again, eh?
  • The Register published a story here [] revealing that MS and Bill's charitable donations are nothing more than a PR exercise.

    Hmm, this one's getting sent to the Beeb...


  • First: the emoticon for rocking

    ~ o--|=)

    (I know it's not the best)

    My question for Bill Gates:

    Mr Gates, what do you prefer - Lemon Meringue or coconut cream? And do you like a flaky pastry crust or graham cracker?
  • Honestly. Every interview with Gates I've read has proven that he's either clueless when it comes to what computers are capable of doing -- or several years behind in the technology. And he's obviously not going to give us the answers we want to know about Microsoft's future plans & how it is going to respond to Open Source software.

    I would consider it a truly bad day to be stuck on an elevator with Bill Gates, & forced to have no one but that pathetic twerp to talk to for hours. If it were any other computer industry figure I can think of, the time trapped together could be spent talking about coomputers, or the weather -- or simply ignoring one another (which would prolly piss of Larry Ellison to no end ;-). I figure with Gates almost any topic I would bring up would end with one of his Famous Childish Tirades (tm) in my face, with my loosing my temper, then my beating the crap out of him.

    Quite simply, I don't want someone as aggressive & lacking in common courtesy as he in my world. And those characteristics apparently are his entire personality.

    And while I might not be bright enough to win an argument with Bill Gates, I am bright enough to know you just don't beat the crap out of the world's richest man & expect to enjoy much of a life afterwards.

  • Um, I realise that these questions are probably vetted by technical chappies before getting to J. Paxman, but even so, how many BBC viewers would really understand the question, and how many of those would care?
  • And who can forget (if they saw it) him asking Michael Howard (Home Sec.) the same questions 14 times in a row because refused to give a straigt answer. It went something like

    JP: "Did you ask the Director of Prisons to resign?"

    NH: blah, blah, avoid issue

    JP: "Did you ask him to resign?"

    NH: more of the same

    JP: "Did you ask him to resign?"


    Great stuff

    BTW It was obvious that Kissinger hadn't been told was to expect from our Jez (even if it was 9:00am on a Monday morning).

  • Considering that the world today is becoming so heavily reliant on computers for
    every aspect of life, a trend that will only continue as we move into the 21st century,
    do you think that the domination of the computer industry by any one company or
    organization (no matter how well intentioned they may be) places too much power in
    the hands of a single, non-elected body? Could this power over the computerised
    world pose a threat to other institutions in the real world, such as other companies,
    whole industries, or even, potentially, entire governments? Should moves not be
    made now to prevent this possibility and protect our democratic institutions, even at
    the expense of inovation and the free market?

    bil (but not that one!)

  • Dear Mr. Gates,

    A lot of the memos during Microsoft's anti-trust trial have shown that a lot of Microsoft's day to day operations are micromanaged by your hand. During your deposition, you denied or claimed to have forgotten being involved in the decision making process.

    Does the fact that all of your charitable contributions are channelled through your personal foundation rather than being given directly to non-profits demonstrate a fundamental need for control (even to point of subverting your charitable human instincts)?

  • In fact it was sixteen, and he still didn't get a straight answer. Made the politician in question (Michael Howard, the then Home Secretary) look like a total Rodney. He also hosts a discussion programme (Start the Week) on BBC Radio 4 (like the US's NPR) on which he asked Henry Kissinger (on the program to plug his book) some fairly hard questions including: "Did not you feel something of a fraud taking the Nobel Peace Prize?" So there is no reason to hold back on a question just because you think the interviewer will not have the cojones to ask it - he will! Paxo (as he is fondly known in Rightpondia) known no shame. Cakes
  • Paxman (calling for commercial)
    Erm, BBC? Its only redeeming feature...
  • Or we could mail Microsoft's press office and ask whether Bill would mind stripping naked and fighting a pack of rabid dogs with only a half-brick in a sock to defend himself. We might be more likely to get a response :-)
  • Mr. Gates,

    I know Microsoft is a business and businesses make money.
    But I've heard that you are interested in increasing innovation and
    technology. If this is true, then a heterogeneous environment is
    the more productive than a homogeneous one. To do this we
    need to form standards: standards in communication, standards
    in document format, and standards in user interfaces. Standards
    should be configurable to suit most environments. This doesn't mean
    that standards should benefit one environment over another.

    It's good to push for standards, but I see Microsoft pushing those
    that will benefit Microsoft while damaging other environments.
    This is not a Good Thing(TM). Standards should be used to
    help different environments interact and not to improve ones
    market share. The former is a perspective of a technical person,
    the later is the perspective of a marketer.

    My question: Are you a technical advocate, or are you just
    here for marketing?

    PS: when will Windows(tm) GUI be able to push back a window.
    If I have a window full screen in front of other windows, I would like
    to just push it to the back (under other windows). All other
    I've used allow this, but Windows is yet to do
    Steven Rostedt
  • I have a studio audience ticket for this interview. It will take place at 2.30pm Wednesday 13th Oct ie tomorrow. I assume it will be broadcast on Sunday. Better get those questions in fast . I don't expect Paxman will be able to ask anything too technical as he won't understand the answer. Hopefully he will open the questions to the audience at some stage and we'll get a chance to make Bill squirm.
  • Perhaps this is the quote you're looking for:

    "I probably wouldn't even be asking these questions had it not been for an established pattern of deception. After all, how do you give Microsoft the benefit of the doubt when you know that if you throw it into a room with truth, you'd risk a matter/anti-matter explosion?"

    --InfoWorld columnist Nicholas Petreley
    http://www 3-38.126.htm []
  • With the antitrust trial not over, I would be very surprised to see any honest answers at all. In fact, I'm surprised he's even doing this interview at all.

  • #1, Does Mr. Gates believe his company makes products with a high degree of quality?

    #2, If so, why does his company refuse to offer any sort of warranty on said products if they fail? (witness the End User License Agreement, from any version of Windows: "Microsoft Corporation hereby disclaims all warranties and conditions with regard to the software, including all implied warranties and conditions of mechantability or fitness for a particular purpose.")

    If a company truly believes that they make a quality product, should they not be willing to back-up that belief with a warranty stating that the product will (at least) do what it was advertised to?

    (nb. before anyone points out that GPL does pretty much the same thing, keep in mind that GPL software can be obtained for free (beer) - MS sells it's wares for money.. and since (in theory) I'm handing over my cash, I should be able to expect some guarantee that the damn thing will at least do what the box says.)
  • Microsoft purchased the rights to republish Spyglass's web browser *way* back in the day. Anyone who played around with Internet Explorer 2(didn't even support *frames*) will remember that, while somewhat fast, the browser was broken beyond belief.

    IE3 was the first build that actually impressed me, and stands to this day as one of the fastest and slickest products to leave Microsoft.

    I can't imagine, after seeing the quality level of IE3, how Microsoft could have so little faith in the skills of their coders that they had to lie, cheat, and steal their browser into dominance.

    Everybody says Microsoft can't code...I find it almost tragic that Microsoft agrees.

    Yours Truly,

    Dan Kaminsky
    DoxPara Research

  • Remember, this is the Microsoft Software Life Cycle... it goes like this:


  • Because I (and others) have to decide how to make our client's systems work in the real world. If we decide that MS isn't suitable for the project, we don't use MS. If the company insists on it, we smile and tell them to call us if they change their mind, but there's no guarantee that we'll be available and willing to clean up the mess. It sounds harsh, but we're all tired of working 60+ hour weeks because someone else picked the wrong tools for the job.

    But we're professionals and recognize that sometimes MS is the correct solution... but the distortions over the past few weeks has been so transparent that we're left wondering if there's *anything* we can trust. In our situation, that question answers itself. If we don't have confidence in our tools we don't use them, and if we don't have confidence in the companies we don't bother paying attention to what they say.

    Microsoft can make all of the claims it wants, but businesses have to find local staff to actually make their projects work. These people bring their own experiences to the job, and don't dismiss a major vendor out-of-hand lightly. But when they do, any sane company will ask *why*. It doesn't matter if the CTO thinks that Bill Gates is the hacker's god if he can't find the senior people who can actually bring a project to completion.

    If you think I'm overstating the case, I invite you to compare the number of sites writing code in Pascal (or even Pascal, Modulo-2/-3, and Ada) vs. C. There are a lot of deep similarities.
  • "If you had to choose money or power, which would you choose?" (followup) "How are you making that happen?"
  • > "Flaimbaiter" gets Score 4! I'm impressed!

    I suppose it would have been flamebait if he had posted it to, but in the present context it happens to make perfect sense.

    For that matter, I agree with him. When was the last time BG did anything significant for IT, other than switching Micorsoft toward the internet when he discovered he had missed "the road ahead" ?

    If he wasn't sitting on $100G and didn't have enormous influence at that 900 pound gorilla in Redmond, no one would care a fig about his opinions. Those of us who are able to keep Micorsoft at arm's length don't care already. The "flamebaiter" has it exactly right, at least for some of us.

    He's out of my life, except to the extent he can damage open protocols and suppress innovation. And I think those days are waning rapidly.

    It's October 6th. Where's W2K? Over the horizon again, eh?

Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it is too dark to read.