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Gates' Last Day At Microsoft 467

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the keep-it-clean dept.
mrogers writes "Today is Bill Gates' last day as a full-time employee of Microsoft. After 33 years at the company, the one-time richest man in the world will be retiring at 52 to spend more time guiding the charitable Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. What would you buy him as a retirement gift?"
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Gates' Last Day At Microsoft

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  • by clang_jangle (975789) * on Friday June 27, 2008 @04:13PM (#23973027) Journal

    What would you buy him as a retirement gift?"



    A shiny, new laptop loaded with Vista, of course. He's earned it!

    • So... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 27, 2008 @04:15PM (#23973061)

      When can we look forward to a day without Ballmer? That would truly be a day to celebrate.

      • Re:So... (Score:5, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 27, 2008 @04:34PM (#23973453)

        But it's so much fun to watch him run Microsoft into the ground. Don't take that away!

        • Re:So... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Zwicky (702757) on Friday June 27, 2008 @06:09PM (#23974767)

          I know you're joking ("funny cos it's true" humor?), but - and maybe I'm not giving Ballmer enough credit here[0] - I really can't see Ballmer keeping Microsoft afloat in the long-term. Call it a gut feeling. The man is but an ogre really.

          If anything saves Microsoft - aside from its stockpiles of cash - it will be Bill's advice imparted on his one-day-a-week-on-Microsoft-business.

          I am certainly not enamored with Gates by any means, but I do recognize that (in my view) he was the brains behind the outfit: Ballmer is Robin to Gates' Batman; Cashman and Dobbin? "Holy developers, developers, developers, Cashman!"[1]

          Personally unless Microsoft pull something exceptional out of the bag I expect to see them decline as 'market leaders'. I am interested in hearing others', perhaps more informed, thoughts.

          Anyway that's how I see it from my point of view but IANABA (business analyst).

          [0] Stop laughing, I'm trying to be impartial :)
          [1] That right there is why I don't write comic books.

          • Its funny how.. (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Its funny how gates probably devoted an entire millisecond thinking about slashdot and the fossie zealots that live here, but to any lay person, the commenters on this otherwise benign looking news aggregator seem to be excessively obsessed with gates and his little company.

            So while gates continued making shrewd business decisions and generating billions of dollars for several decades, all the people here continued to do is bitch and moan, whilst keeping up with the newest 'net memes, ofcource. I wonder if

          • Re:So... (Score:4, Funny)

            by gadget junkie (618542) <gbponz@libero.it> on Saturday June 28, 2008 @09:47AM (#23980377) Journal

            [...]

            If anything saves Microsoft - aside from its stockpiles of cash - it will be Bill's advice imparted on his one-day-a-week-on-Microsoft-business.

            I am certainly not enamored with Gates by any means, but I do recognize that (in my view) he was the brains behind the outfit: [...]


            Yes, Gates was the brain behind the outfit. But the real Father of Microsoft will remain hidden in an obscure paper file at IBM: " Nah, Dr-dos costs too much, the guy wants 50 bucks per copy. Let's give the contract to the boy with the funny glasses."

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by notaprguy (906128) *

          Do you know how to read an income statement? I suggest you check out http://www.microsoft.com/msft/earnings/FY08/earn_rel_q3_08.mspx#income [microsoft.com]. If by "run Microsoft into the ground" you mean grow revenue $7 billion from March 07 to March 08 and grow net income by $2.3 billion then I guess you must have very high standards. Or maybe you can't do math.

          PS. Yes, I know there is more to running a company than revenue and income but that's certainly a good start.

          • Re:So... (Score:4, Interesting)

            by HappySmileMan (1088123) on Friday June 27, 2008 @08:18PM (#23976077)
            And how did he do that?
            Was it by making better products?
            Was it by gaining market share?
            Or was it by making Vista cost shitloads more money than XP?
      • Re:So... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Gewalt (1200451) on Friday June 27, 2008 @05:50PM (#23974547)
        Bill Gates has been bullied around by Steve Ballmer ever since Windows 1.0. The reason Gates' work is never realized is because he's never been in charge. He has done precisely what Steve has told him for years. And Steve ruined his entire image and turned Microsoft from a beloved entity into a corrupted and one of the most hated companies.

        I would LOVE to see Ballmer on the way out instead of Bill. Most of what people really dislike about Microsoft is Ballmer's doing, Gates just didn't have the spine to stand up to him and reel him in.

        • Re:So... (Score:5, Informative)

          by Hojima (1228978) on Friday June 27, 2008 @06:26PM (#23974957)

          Bill Gates

          The WSJ has an article looking at the struggle Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer had in switching around their Junior/Senior relationship.

          Things became so bitter that, on one occasion, Gates stormed out of a meeting in a huff after a shouting match in which Mr. Ballmer jumped to the defense of several colleagues, according to an individual present at the time. After the exchange, Mr. Ballmer seemed "remorseful," the person said.

          Once Gates leaves, "I'm not going to need him for anything. That's the principle," Mr. Ballmer says. "Use him, yes, need him, no."

          Linus Torvalds

          Ballmer is also known as a vocal critic of competing companies and their products. He has referred to the free Linux software system as a "[â¦] cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches." Ballmer was trying to articulate his concern that the GNU GPL license employed by such software requires that all derivative software be made open source.

          [edit] Lucovsky/Google

          In 2005, Mark Lucovsky alleged in a sworn statement to a Washington state court that Ballmer became highly enraged upon hearing that Lucovsky was about to leave Microsoft for Google, picked up his chair and threw it across his office. Referring to Google CEO Eric Schmidt (who previously worked for competitors Sun and Novell), Ballmer allegedly said, "Fucking Eric Schmidt is a fucking pussy. I'm going to fucking bury that guy, I have done it before, and I will do it again. I'm going to fucking kill Google," then resumed trying to persuade Lucovsky to stay at Microsoft.[14][15] Ballmer has described the incident as a "gross exaggeration of what actually took place."

          Cut directly from wikipedia (probably one of the reasons Microsoft wanted to merge with yahoo)

          • Re:So... (Score:5, Funny)

            by Jarik_Tentsu (1065748) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @12:30AM (#23977951)

            Things became so bitter that, on one occasion, Gates stormed out of a meeting in a huff after a shouting match in which Mr. Ballmer jumped to the defense of several colleagues, according to an individual present at the time. After the exchange, Mr. Ballmer seemed "remorseful," the person said.

            Really makes you think - what happens behind the closed doors?

            Ballmer: We will create a monopoly. The next version of Windows will not run any non-Microsoft software! Muwahahaha!
            Gates: But that is wrong! That destroys the market!
            Ballmer: What did you say to me boy!?
            Gates: B-B-But that'll lower the quality of our product. W-W-We need to take care of our customers!
            Ballmer: *narrows eyes* You've been reading Slashdot, haven't you boy?
            Gates: N-No!
            Ballmer: Don't make me use the chair on you...Have you forgotten all I've taught you?
            GateS:N-No!
            Ballmer: Then tell me, what matters?!
            Gates: Developers?
            Ballmer: Indeed. Now run along now. And if I hear any of this nonsense again, I bring out the chair.

            ~Jarik

            • Re:So... (Score:4, Insightful)

              by that this is not und (1026860) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @01:07AM (#23978143)

              You distilled out the one point Ballmer makes that matters, and just shuffled it into your parody without noticing.

              'Developers' is really, really important. The lack of developers is what killed BeOS. It is one of the only things saving Linux...

              Criticize Ballmer and Microsoft for many things. The 'Monkey Dance' was just a ludicrous delivery. The message was VERY valid.

              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by Jarik_Tentsu (1065748)

                Oh yeah, agreed. Developers are really really important.

                But Ballmer seems focused on forgetting about end-consumers. He seems to be more focused on how to push the OS on the consumer than making a quality product the public want to buy.

                ~Jarik

        • Re:So... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by ConceptJunkie (24823) on Friday June 27, 2008 @07:26PM (#23975535) Homepage Journal

          The idea of Ballmer standing on Gates' concave chest and dangle-spitting on his face until he gives in his bullying, triple-Y chromosome demands is quite amusing, but Microsoft was corrupt and hated long before Ballmer was in charge. Or does nobody remember Andrew Schulman exposing Microsoft's monopolistic abuses with "Undocumented Windows" almost 20 years ago?

          Remember "It ain't done 'til Lotus won't run"? That's not apocryphal.

          Hell, I ran into undocumented functionality with the first non-trivial Windows program I tried to write. It was a little utility to manage and assign icons in Program Manager, but I could never figure out how to extract the icon resources from executables because... it wasn't documented anywhere. At least in 1990 or so when I was doing this.

          Gates was always a total bastard of a businessman (and only marginally technical at best, just listen to anything he says, he doesn't have a clue) and I don't think you can give credit to the chair-tosser for his long reign of corporate evil.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Gewalt (1200451)
            That was all Ballmer... He joined Microsoft in 1980, that's 28 years ago. His last job before that was some type of assistant to the CEO of GE.
          • Re:So... (Score:5, Insightful)

            by drsmithy (35869) <drsmithy@gma i l . c om> on Friday June 27, 2008 @07:57PM (#23975823)

            Remember "It ain't done 'til Lotus won't run"? That's not apocryphal.

            Indeed, it's a myth without the slightest shred of credible evidence to back it up.

            "DOS ain't done until Lotus does run" would be a more accurate reflection of reality.

            Hell, I ran into undocumented functionality with the first non-trivial Windows program I tried to write. It was a little utility to manage and assign icons in Program Manager, but I could never figure out how to extract the icon resources from executables because... it wasn't documented anywhere. At least in 1990 or so when I was doing this.

            Undocumented functionality, in and of itself, is in no way evidence of "monopolistic abuses". It is completely normal in any non-trivial piece of software.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by ConceptJunkie (24823)

              Undocumented functionality, in and of itself, is in no way evidence of "monopolistic abuses"

              You're right, much of it can be attributed to Microsoft's pathetic documentation. Nevertheless, in 1990 you couldn't do many very basic things without reverse engineering. There are multiple books written on the topic that leave it beyond a doubt that only back in those days Microsoft or Microsoft's special "friends" had the information necessary to write software that could compete, performance-wise (as ironic as

        • Re:So... (Score:5, Funny)

          by jellomizer (103300) on Friday June 27, 2008 @09:38PM (#23976889)

          So Bill Gates has been held hostage at chair point.

        • Most of what people really dislike about Microsoft is Ballmer's doing, Gates just didn't have the spine to stand up to him and reel him in.

          Really? I've heard many anecdotes about Bill Gates, but none about him kowtowing to anyone. In the Time magazine cover story on him some years ago, his father talks about Bill, known as "Trey" in his family, butting heads with his late mother (by all accounts an extremely strong-willed woman) when he was a young teenager, and refusing to give a millimeter. There are also

    • by Gat0r30y (957941) on Friday June 27, 2008 @04:41PM (#23973583) Homepage Journal
      And a big bottle of scotch to drink - something nice, maybe a highland single malt number, that should ease the pain.
    • by stretch0611 (603238) on Friday June 27, 2008 @05:27PM (#23974259) Journal

      What would you buy him as a retirement gift?"

      Nothing. I have already given him enough money by paying for his OS when I want to run linux.

    • by texaport (600120) on Friday June 27, 2008 @10:19PM (#23977173)
      Ten years ago I bought some shares of Microsoft stock shortly after the release of Windows 98 -- I'd buy him a gift with every penny he earned me as a shareholder since that day.
      If you had just bought 36200 shares of MSFT stock back then for $999,844 plus a $362 commission, it would now be worth ONE MILLION DOLLARS today.
  • by xmas2003 (739875) * on Friday June 27, 2008 @04:14PM (#23973033) Homepage
    ... that runs Windows ...
  • A Mac (Score:5, Funny)

    by Dolohov (114209) on Friday June 27, 2008 @04:14PM (#23973041)

    (I mean, judging from Microsoft's product lines for the last twenty years, it's what he really wants...)

  • Retirement Gift (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ilovegeorgebush (923173) on Friday June 27, 2008 @04:14PM (#23973045) Homepage
    Blatantly a tux toy [thinkgeek.com].

    For all my *NIX & FOSS zealotry, I can't help but respect what he's brought to the world. His & MS's achievements have been broad and they've paved the way for multiple industries. Maybe I wouldn't be writing this on a Linux box if it wasn't for Windows :)
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by The Warlock (701535)

      Your Linux box's GUI might look different but I doubt much else would change: Linux was inspired by Minix, GNU, and UNIX, not anything from Microsoft.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Saedrael (880381)
        MS products provided the competition that Linux needed to advance.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Keyslapper (852034)
          Yah, right.

          In the form of backlash, maybe. If you do something poorly in this industry and try to rape your customers for the privilege, there are a thousand nerds out there that will find a way to do it better for less (or free).

          The real contribution is in that constant teasing of "You can do this" (as soon as our product stops sucking ...). At least initially.

          Eventually, when there was enough of a "footprint" of computers in common culture, it was guaranteed to get out of MS control.

          The thing ab
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Mr. Slippery (47854)

            none of us real software nerds (flattering myself again) would ever have thought of writing a program that lets you track your finances, write documents and typeset them

            I think you need a couple [gnu.org] of history [tug.org] lessons [dssresources.com].

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by clem (5683)

          And cheap commodity hardware. Ushering in the age of the desktop assured that.

      • Re:Retirement Gift (Score:5, Interesting)

        by rishistar (662278) on Friday June 27, 2008 @04:53PM (#23973773) Homepage
        Linux also benefited greatly from the fact that MS became de facto on the cloned PC market. All the other major vendors an the time had an apple like hardware and OS that were sold together. As IBM never got an exclusivity deal on MS-DOS, clones could run it, and thanks to this 'standardisation' the price dropped on the hardware thanks to the benefits of competition on the same hardware. Without that low cost of hardware Linux would not have taken off, and its extremely unlikely that as many people would have computers, internet access and slashdot accounts with which to slag off Microsoft.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Without MS DOS and later Windows, the computer world of today would look very, very different. I seriously doubt we'd have advanced anywhere close to where we are today without Microsoft. Though we might have gone even further, who knows.

        Don't get me wrong, I'm not an MS fan boy. But I have serious doubts that Linux would have ever been if Microsoft wasn't around. Would Linus have had the same exposure to computers? He might not have ever gotten that IBM PC, MINIX might have never been developed, hell

    • Re:Retirement Gift (Score:5, Insightful)

      by stretch0611 (603238) on Friday June 27, 2008 @05:44PM (#23974467) Journal

      ...MS's achievements have been broad and they've paved the way for multiple industries. Maybe I wouldn't be writing this on a Linux box if it wasn't for Windows :)

      I do not agree with that assumption. First off, Unix was not created because of MS and/or Windows and Linux was created as a Unix clone, not specifically to compete with windows. If the pc hardware was not around it would have been built on different hardware.

      Next, even without MS, IBM would have still been looking for an OS for its new computing platform. Because it was IBM, which at the time was the de facto standard/monopoly, there still would have been a clone market even without MS's help. If the clone market did not provide enough cheap hardware, there would have been cheap hardware from either the computers running CP/M or even the home market (Amiga and/or older 8bits computers)

      Linux evolved from someone's desire to clone minix, not from a need to use something other than windows.

  • by Foddz (1181575) on Friday June 27, 2008 @04:17PM (#23973089)
    Please tell me they're giving him the high tech 'security walk'!
  • 640kb!!!! (Score:5, Funny)

    by TheRealMindChild (743925) on Friday June 27, 2008 @04:19PM (#23973147) Homepage Journal
    A 386SX with 640KB of memory.
  • Many, many fscking years of therapy.

  • A handshake. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by b4dc0d3r (1268512) on Friday June 27, 2008 @04:22PM (#23973225)
    Without him, I am not sure that personal technology would have taken off, and it would only be at work that I could do things like waste time on the internet and argue with strangers.
    • But it would have. Remember, MS didn't create DOS, and Unix was before DOS. So rather then struggling with computers we might be able to use them.
    • Re:A handshake. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by intx13 (808988) on Friday June 27, 2008 @05:51PM (#23974557) Homepage

      How does this myth stay alive? There were personal computers before Bill Gates: Macs. There were personal computers during the early rise of Microsoft: Macs, OS/2, Suns. There were personal computers throughout the Bill Gates glory days: Macs, Linux, (and Suns, kinda). And there are personal computers today. And there would have been personal computers without Bill Gates.

      That's not to say his contributions are worthless, but let's not start patting him too hard on the back just because he's retiring. He used questionably ethical business practices to produce and sell products of questionable quality.

      On the plus side, he's going to spend the rest of his life giving away enormous sums of money to charity - there's not much to dislike about that!

      • Re:A handshake. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by ComputerSlicer23 (516509) on Friday June 27, 2008 @07:09PM (#23975365)

        All of which were very much proprietary. The key to the low cost PC as the competition among hardware makers. Go look at Sun, Macs, and PS/2 machines (Commodore, Amiga, and Atari should probably be added to that list of yours). From that era Suns and Macs were proprietary. The moment, Macs tried to license the hardware, the company very nearly went out of business. Sun sold great, solid equipment, and could never get it even close to the price point to compete (I also am not sure they wanted to). PS/2's? That whole line died a horrible death due to the proprietary bus (Micro Channel). The PC world thrived and took when the ISA bus was king, and IBM published all of the hardware specs for 3rd party cards (and thus the hardware that specs for the bus). The PC world thrived and took off when Compaq won the landmark case allowing them to reverse engineer the IBM Bios. The PC world thrived and took off when the Microsoft negotiated the deal with IBM to sell MS-DOS that was licensed to IBM as PC-DOS. The PC world thrived and took off when Intel got competitors in Cyrix, AMD, and other hardware makers creating x86 clone chips.

        It was the fact that there was stiff competition for virtually every part in a machine. It was the nasty world evil consumer that bought, cheap crappy hardware, that got the economies of scale going. If you look at the PC world, the PC used to cost $3,000 (probably $10,000, but $3K is what I paid for my first machine in '95). The competition in an open market place (read, not Mac's, not Sun, not IBM's PS/2), are what created and won virtually all of the market place. The competition eventually drove the price of a PC to under $500, all the while getting, better and better hardware. Eventually the price got low enough, that it started to add more and more features that used to be the sole purview of high end "Workstation", or "Server" class machines. There's a reason that Sun sells what is effectively, nothing more then a jumped up version of the modern day desktop machine as their entry level server. I'm here to tell you that, Bill and Co. have a place at that table of folks who were there and part of what made it happen.

        Does that make Bill a good person? No (but just because that doesn't make him good, doesn't imply that he's bad). Does that mean, Bill intended this move to accomplish that? Probably not. I think Bill Gates figured out fairly early on that hardware was rapidly becoming a commodity market, and that software was the thing that people had a true affinity for. If they could run the same software on different hardware, what did they care? In the end, he was correct. Just ask Apple. There's a reason Apple nearly went out of business when somebody else undercut their hardware (both because the model was setup all wrong, and that people didn't really care about Mac the hardware, they cared about Mac the interface). Most folks couldn't care less about the iMac, the Mac Mini, the iPod, or the iPhone in the hardware. What most of them really care about is how useful and easy the software is for them to use. I have a Mac and I hate the interface. I find it counter-intuitive, but only because I don't think "if I want this and that to work together, I should drag one to the other".

        Windows in all its incarnations, and all of it's vile issues. It filled in the gap that allowed the PC computers to be usable by folks who couldn't have otherwise. For that alone, Bill and Co. deserve a place in history and helping to drive the PC revolution. Would something else have filled that need? Sure, but Bill was there. Would somebody else have discovered gravity? Sure, but we give Newton credit, because he was there and did what he did. If the PC market had been left to Sun, Apple, and IBM, they'd be carving huge chunks of a smaller pie, at much higher profit margins. None of them got that if they sold crappy stuff that was just above the crappy line.

        Kirby

  • And that was all he ever really wanted or needed.
  • by gQuigs (913879) on Friday June 27, 2008 @04:23PM (#23973243) Homepage

    Microsoft and proprietary software. What is good for Microsoft and proprietary software conflicts with a lot of good charitable work.

    Giving any poor organization the first copy of Microsoft software for no cost isn't going to help them in the long term.

    To do this, he needs to get rid of his stake in Microsoft stock.

    • by Applekid (993327) on Friday June 27, 2008 @04:35PM (#23973485)

      What is good for Microsoft and proprietary software conflicts with a lot of good charitable work.

      True. Although...

      When I was a kid I used to dream of being rich and famous. As I get older the famous part gets more and more obvious as being a hassle, and the rich part gets more and more "evil"... money scraped off the backs of others and hoarded for a life of excess (well, also as I get older, mostly for hookers, blackjack, and blow).

      Let's face it. There are no people who had amassed Gates' level of wealth by writing a bunch of checks and being nice people.

      He did have a vision, and did contribute to some massively impressive things in computing, and got swept up in his business. A lifetime of Embrace, Extend, Extinguish. Setting in motion the wheels of a kind of proprietary software golem. Point being, maybe he saw that bit of The Simpsons:

      "How do you sleep at night?"
      "On a pile of money surrounded by beautiful women."

      Thing is, if you had that much wealth and power and you grew a conscience (or at the very least it got a hand free and escaped its bindings), how would you fix it? How would you stand to the side of your parents' graves and say, "I've made you proud, and the world is a better place for you having birthed me"?

      He can't tear down Microsoft. It's a beast onto it's own. All that's left is to try and compensate for some of that evil elsewhere. Charity is a pretty good spot to recoup karma, IMHO. Certainly better than hookers, blackjack, and coke.

      • Charity is a pretty good spot to recoup karma, IMHO. Certainly better than hookers, blackjack, and coke.

        The "Charity" is a front. It makes for-profit investments and has pledged not to review its investments for their ethical acceptability. Everything you need to know about the Gates foundation can be summed up by their response to Dark cloud over good works of Gates Foundation [latimes.com], an LA Times investigative article (I know, I was as shocked as you must be) which tells the story of the Gates Foundation's investment in big oil that is killing people in the places in which they claim to try to be saving them. This is my favorite paragraph:

        The Gates Foundation has poured $218 million into polio and measles immunization and research worldwide, including in the Niger Delta. At the same time that the foundation is funding inoculations to protect health, The Times found, it has invested $423 million in Eni, Royal Dutch Shell, Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp. and Total of France â" the companies responsible for most of the flares blanketing the delta with pollution, beyond anything permitted in the United States or Europe.

        Now, keep in mind that the Gates Foundation is not restricted to making holding investments, they are allowed to make them for profit. The profit ostensibly goes right back into charity, right? But here's the issue. As of January 2007 (when the article was published) they'd spent nearly twice as much on sucking oil out of the region (killing people in the process) than on actually helping anyone! And let's not get into what percentage of that money spent is actually applied effectively...

        Bill Gates is not interested in helping anyone. Remember how the idea of a presidential bid for Gates was floated in the media? That was not a mistake. It was a test. It did not go over well; millions of the best-connected people on the planet certainly spoke their mind on the issue on every public forum they could find. Now, he is sitting on top of one of the largest fortunes on the planet, in charge of doling out money both to the greedy companies raping the land, and to help people who are being harmed by them. If you follow the money, though, you can see where priorities lie.

        Gates has placed himself in a position of power which makes his former position at the top of Microsoft look like the elementary school yard bully on top of the pitcher's mound winning a game of king of the hill, and this is not a cause for celebration. He is not there to do good deeds.

        • by dhavleak (912889) on Friday June 27, 2008 @08:23PM (#23976157)

          Don't you think this is a little unfair?

          I mean, its obvious that most of BillG's wealth given to the foundation must have been MS stock (or some stock anyhow). Given that, the foundation will just bleed dry if they don't invest for maximum profits. And the more profitable their investments, the more impact the foundation can have.

          Now owning stock in some company that does bad/evil stuff hardly makes you the perpetrator of the crime. I mean, the company is not going to behave different with/without the investment from the foundation. It makes to difference to them who actually owns their stock (unless it's a question of controlling stakes, proxy votes etc. -- and that didn't seem to be the case in the article you linked).

          On top of that, it's really unfair when you say

          Now, he is sitting on top of one of the largest fortunes on the planet, in charge of doling out money both to the greedy companies raping the land, and to help people who are being harmed by them.

          Because again -- he did not dole out money to the company -- he has not made a loan or a gift to these companies. He's simply using the profits generated from their share price appreciation. And poetically, it goes into the people being harmed by this corporation.

          I'm not sure where you got the presidential campaign thing from. And why you're so cynical about his intentions. Have you heard his Harvard speech last year?
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zXCVYtYWVyU [youtube.com]
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R4Q1T70VwfM [youtube.com]
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXKrQBxJViQ [youtube.com]
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rh9Aj7WsKE [youtube.com]
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gnHkUDxfmXE [youtube.com]

          And have you seen the progress being made by GAVI (Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization)? They have already prevented over 2.5 million children's deaths in the third world. The Gates Foundation was an active partner in creating and funding GAVI.

          When you listen to Gates talk about solving problems for people in the most wretched of conditions, you'll realize -- he's got a different and fresh perspective compared to people who have worked in this field before. He's got a lot to learn from them, but he brings unique skills to the table, and a unique problem-solving ability.

      • by corbettw (214229) <corbettw&yahoo,com> on Friday June 27, 2008 @05:22PM (#23974191) Journal

        Bill Murray once observed, if you want to be rich and famous, try being rich first. See if that's enough.

  • A card begging him to find someone more capable to run the company then Balmer. Someone who cares about software and customers.
  • by electricbern (1222632) on Friday June 27, 2008 @04:26PM (#23973289)
    An account on Slashdot. But no trolling, please.
  • by amliebsch (724858) on Friday June 27, 2008 @04:27PM (#23973305) Journal
    A donation has been made in his name to the Human Fund.
  • A UNIX manual, of course!
  • by Eberlin (570874) on Friday June 27, 2008 @04:36PM (#23973493) Homepage
    1. A gaming rig so he can keep pwning n00bs.
    2. an iPhone, a mac, and an iTunes account.
    3. some GOOG stock 'cause you gotta take care of that 401K SPECIALLY after retirement.
    4. A seat in the OLPC project's board of dudes that make decisions...it's only a matter of time.
    5. Ubuntu...and by that I mean "humanity to others" -- actually, a wish of good luck as he concentrates more in philantrophy. As much as I (and c'mon, I can't be alone here) enjoy Microsoft bashing, I think the Gates foundation could (continue to) actually do a lot of good.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Locutus (9039)

      # Ubuntu...and by that I mean "humanity to others" -- actually, a wish of good luck as he concentrates more in philantrophy. As much as I (and c'mon, I can't be alone here) enjoy Microsoft bashing, I think the Gates foundation could (continue to) actually do a lot of good.

      One problem here, his foundation does not stick to healthcare issues. That's right, they spread alot of Microsoft software around and from what I've heard, you get those Microsoft software deals as long as you agree to reject open source software. So Bill is not going to be spending more time helping the world, he's just moving to spread Microsoft Windows and MS Office to more children. You know, like a crack dealer looking for future revenue except the crack dealer isn't preventing customers from getting t

  • A nice book to read (Score:3, Interesting)

    by kwabbles (259554) on Friday June 27, 2008 @04:37PM (#23973519)

    "What would you buy him as a retirement gift?"

    http://www.amazon.com/Beginning-Programming-Dummies-Wally-Wang/dp/0764508350 [amazon.com]

  • A nickel... (Score:4, Funny)

    by wandazulu (265281) on Friday June 27, 2008 @04:39PM (#23973543)
  • Gift Card (Score:4, Funny)

    by PawNtheSandman (1238854) on Friday June 27, 2008 @04:42PM (#23973589)
    $25 gift card to Applebees.
  • Containing orange (or green) flip-flops, bermuda shorts, a shirt with either pineapples or tropical fish on it, some cheap sunglasses, a straw hat, some sun-screen nose rub (preferably blue) and a can of macadamia nuts.
  • by Crane Style (1196643) on Friday June 27, 2008 @04:47PM (#23973685)
    I would get him a big hug. Without Gates, my parents and grandparents wouldn't be using computers for email today. It'd be a lot harder to live across the country where the fun jobs are without that...... I guess they might be using computers, but at least now they have an OS with built in sound drivers that work ;)
  • by information_retrieva (1058952) on Friday June 27, 2008 @04:55PM (#23973805)
    ...did security walk him to the door after his exit interview?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by LordEd (840443)

      In other news, a printer was found in an empty field. The printer was severely damaged and was broken into many small pieces. No witnesses have come forward to provide clues to the incident.

  • by rishistar (662278) on Friday June 27, 2008 @04:55PM (#23973807) Homepage
    A Belgian anarchist style party....complete with custard pies! [c2000.com]
  • by wandazulu (265281) on Friday June 27, 2008 @05:02PM (#23973889)

    ...who helped him carry his boxes to the car. Steve? Ray?

  • by Aaron England (681534) on Friday June 27, 2008 @05:03PM (#23973917)
    Obligatory video [youtube.com] from CES 2008 for those who haven't seen it. Here's to you Big Bill. Thank you for your sense of humor and your charity. And thank you for inspiring so many including myself to pursue a career in computers and technology.
  • by mapkinase (958129) on Friday June 27, 2008 @05:32PM (#23974325) Homepage Journal

    I blatantly do not have any awe or gratitude to that person expressed in top comments.

    My work is entirely related to computers and without PC it would be more productive, because I would not spend so much time socializing, playing games, watching news, playing with novelties, feeling up needless forms and documents.

    Restriction is good, freedom is bad. At least for me.

  • by Zwicky (702757) on Friday June 27, 2008 @05:50PM (#23974541)

    In the BBC documentary How a Geek Changed the World, did anyone see the part where Gates leaped over a chair from a standing start? That must have been a very useful skill when working alongside Ballmer!

    (I've been unable to find the clip online so I can't post a link.)

  • Obligatory Mac reply (Score:4, Interesting)

    by stewbacca (1033764) on Friday June 27, 2008 @06:54PM (#23975205)
    Hear me out, because this is serious and not intended as flamebait.

    I'd get him a 20" Intel-based Apple iMac computer installed with the last version of Office (not the newest one, but one before). That way, Bill could at least see that a decent-spec'd, moderately priced yet still well-designed computer CAN actually be a pleasant experience for the overwhelming majority of normal computer users. Maybe then Bill can realize that sometimes less is more and that a long laundry list of half-assed features is no good compared to a shorter list of features that work well.

  • by walbourn (749165) on Friday June 27, 2008 @08:37PM (#23976357)

    retiring the stupid BillG as The Borg icon! ST:TNG has been in reruns since 1994, there isn't a Star Trek show in production, he hasn't been involved in the daily running of MSFT for years, and as of today he isn't even an employee.

    I'm not suggesting that anyone in the /. community consider updating their perceptions of the company for the last 10 years; to acknowledge that anyone who has gone to work for the company since 2000 has had any influence on the company's approach to business, markets, customers, or technology; or to suggest that the investment in software engineering practices, security tools and training, developer outreach, or a monstrous R&D spend could have any value what-so-ever to the PC industry, the software industry, or have improved any MSFT product. It does seem, however, like today would be a good day to update the thumbnail to something that at least reflects the cultural constructs of the 21st century.

  • CBC has an article (Score:3, Interesting)

    by kbahey (102895) on Friday June 27, 2008 @08:59PM (#23976589) Homepage

    The CBC has an article titled Bill Gates in Canada: a checkered legacy [www.cbc.ca].

    There are some choice quotes on anti-trust, Michael Cowpland (Corel founder and the WordPerfect debacle), recruiting from University of Waterloo, establishing a Richmond, B.C. campus, ...etc.

    Worth a read.

  • by theurge14 (820596) on Friday June 27, 2008 @10:06PM (#23977073)

    I think he at least deserves an unlimited login session on a PDP-10.

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