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  1. Bill Gates Says His Preference for Android Over iPhone is Due to Pre-Installed Software Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates this week participated in his first meeting on Clubhouse, the increasingly popular invite-only conversation app, where he fielded a range of questions as part of an ongoing book tour. Gates was interviewed by journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin, and given that the Clubhouse app is currently only available on iOS, naturally one of the questions that came up was whether Gates regularly uses an iPhone and if he prefers iOS over Android. "I actually use an Android phone," Gates said. "Because I want to keep track of everything, I'll often play around with iPhones, but the one I carry around happens to be Android." "So Android vs Apple – is this a religious thing?" asked Sorkin. "Some of the Android manufacturers pre-install Microsoft software in a way that makes it easy for me," Gates replied. "They're more flexible about how the software connects up with the operating system. So that's what I ended up getting used to. You know, a lot of my friends have ‌iPhone‌, so there's no purity." Clubhouse co-founder Paul Davison, who was also in the room briefly, told Gates and Sorkin that an Android version of the app is the "top feature" that they're currently working towards and are most excited about. In a 2019 interview, Gates admitted that Microsoft losing to Android as the standard non-Apple phone platform was "one of one of the greatest mistakes of all time" for the Redmond-based company. In fairness to Gates, it was Steve Ballmer who served as Microsoft's CEO between 2000 and 2014. Ballmer infamously laughed off the ‌iPhone‌, but Apple had the last laugh, as Windows Phone failed to ever gain any significant market share among mobile operating systems and was ultimately abandoned. During the Clubhouse meeting, Gates admitted he had an uneasy relationship with Steve Jobs, but called the former Apple CEO "unique." Other topics that came up in Wednesday's online discussion included the global health crisis, climate change, and Gates' new book "How to Avoid a Climate Disaster." The full interview is available on YouTube. Source: Bill Gates Says His Preference for Android Over iPhone is Due to Pre-Installed Software
  2. Revisiting the spectacular failure that was the Bill Gates deposition In the 1990s, Microsoft wore its disdain for antitrust on its sleeve. Now, not so much. Enlarge Aurich Lawson 144 with 91 posters participating When Microsoft backed a key motion filed two weeks ago in Epic Games’ antitrust lawsuit against Apple, it raised a few eyebrows. Two decades ago, the US Justice Department, 18 states, and the District of Columbia sued Microsoft on allegations the Windows operating system represented a monopoly that the company was wielding to prop up its then fledgling Internet Explorer browser, in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890. The suit expressly claimed that Microsoft was using Windows to freeze out the Netscape browser and, more tacitly, Sun Microsystems’ cross-platform Java platform as well. The software maker vehemently bristled at the allegations and claimed that the action represented a government intrusion brought at the behest of companies that couldn’t compete on the merits. Microsoft warned that the action would set a dangerous precedent that could stifle innovation for years to come. The company's legal response was one of the most vigorous I’ve covered in my 25 years as a journalist. The PR campaign reached shock-and-awe proportions, as well, with handlers at one point arranging a poorly executed astro turf campaign intended to galvanize public opinion against the legal action. Now, in 2020, a Microsoft executive has submitted sworn written testimony in support of plaintiff Epic Games alleging that Apple has a “complete monopoly over the distribution of apps to the billion users of iOS … to coerce app developers into using Apple’s payment platform.” The legal declaration, from Microsoft Gaming Developer Experiences General Manager Kevin Gammill, came in response to Apple's threat to deny Epic access to software development tools it needed to develop its Unreal Engine game platform for use on iOS. Apple made the threat after Epic tried to use its own payment system in the iOS version of Fortnite to get around Apple's 30-percent platform fee. That move quickly got the game pulled from the Apple App Store and led Epic to file a lawsuit in response. Gammill said that any move harming development of Epic's Unreal Engine on iOS would hurt Microsoft's business, because "in Microsoft’s view there are very few other options available for creators to license with as many features and as much functionality as Unreal Engine across multiple platforms, including iOS." Role reversal While Microsoft’s filing expressed no opinion on the underlying antitrust claims, the declaration nonetheless illustrated a dramatic about-face for a company culture that once wore its contempt for antitrust law and theory on its sleeve. No longer the Goliath it once was—in large part because of the ascendance of companies like Google, Facebook, and Apple made possible by a settlement Microsoft signed—Microsoft was now comfortable supporting the Davids of the tech industry. The August filing also represented a major reversal of another sort. In the mid to late 1990s when the events leading to the antitrust suit were playing out, Apple was on life support. Microsoft knew this, and according to the government suit, the company used the maker of Macs as a pawn in a bid to blunt the threat Navigator and Java posed to the Windows monopoly. Now, Apple represents the Goliath Microsoft was helping to slay. All of this got me thinking about the one of the most memorable parts of my coverage of Microsoft antitrust trial—the videotaped deposition of Bill Gates, the company’s cofounder and at the time its CEO and chairman. At its most basic level, the deposition underscored the utter contempt he had for an action he believed impinged the ability of his company—and others to follow, he warned—to design products and conduct business as they saw fit. The strategy during the three-day deposition was classic Microsoft. Obstruct. Paint the government as out-of-touch policy wonks who had no idea how tech and real markets worked. And above all, deny even the most basic of premises in the government’s case. The plan from Gates’ army of lawyers and PR handlers seemed to be to wield his image as a software wunderkind who dropped out of Harvard to bootstrap his company and went on to become the world’s richest man. Team Gates planned to use that same domineering force of will to beat back government lawyers. A spectacular failure By day 2, it became clear that strategy was failing spectacularly. As New Yorker writer Ken Auletta once noted, Gates had never in his life groveled for a job or suffered many of the indignities most of us experience on a regular basis. He regularly berated reporters for asking what he’d say were stupid questions. Publicly lauded as the wise sage, consummate businessman, and industry visionary, Gates was accustomed to being treated with obsequious deference from all but a small number of peers. As such, he had little or no experience tolerating—let alone encountering—dissent, criticism, or challenges to his authority. The lack of experience played right into the government’s hand. Instead of portraying a leader in control of his domain and confident in his case and his company’s legal and ethical righteousness, the courtroom videos showed a side of Gates that had never been on public display before. He was petulant, petty, flustered, and dour. He was ineffectual. He was, in a word, beaten. During three days of intense questioning, Gates often feigned ignorance of his own company’s policies and actions. He parsed everyday words or phrases such as “concern,” “support,” and “piss on.” Gates seemed to use the strategy to evade tough questions about whether his company abused its entrenched Windows franchise to kill off emerging competitors, such as Navigator and Java. To the surprise of him and his many attorneys and image handlers, Gates came off as argumentative, petty, and someone badly losing ground to a more formidable rival. One example came in this exchange with David Boies, the private attorney hired by the Justice Department: Boies: What non-Microsoft browsers were you concerned about in January of 1996? Gates: I don’t know what you mean “concerned.” Boies: What is it about the word “concerned” that you don’t understand? Gates: I’m not sure what you mean by it. Boies: Is— Gates: Is there a document where I use that term? Boies: Is the term “concerned” a term that you’re familiar with in the English language? Gates: Yes. Boies: Does it have a meaning that you’re familiar with? Gates: Yes. Not particularly responsive Justice Department lawyers played portions of the deposition during opening arguments and then periodically during as the trial progressed. Gates' attorneys were visibly vexed. Sitting in the gallery of the federal court room in Washington, DC, reporters broke into laughter more than once. Some of them had spent entire careers listening to Gates regularly launch verbal broadsides or wage one-sided arguments. For the first time, the tables were turned. At one point, Thomas Penfield Jackson, the judge hearing the case, chuckled, too. When Microsoft lawyers argued during a closed-door session that the deposition was turning into a side show and government lawyers should be barred from showing any more segments during the trial, the judge denied the motion, saying: "If anything, I think your problem is with your witness, not with the way in which his testimony is being presented." Jackson continued: I think it's evident to every spectator that, for whatever reasons, in many respects Mr. Gates has not been particularly responsive to his deposition interrogation. Everybody at your table has reflected skepticism as the testimony is presented. Not long afterward, Gates appeared before reporters in a video news conference in Washington and told them Boies was "out to destroy Microsoft." Greatest hits I’ve compiled some of the videotape segments that captured some of the more memorable deposition moments. Narrowing more than a dozen hours of video down to a handful of clips was challenging. In fairness to Gates, I mainly chose exchanges that showed him at his worst. The first two examples, taped just before and just after a lunch break on August 28, 1998, are telling for Gates’ evasion and belligerence as he parses industry standard words such as “API”—short for application programming interface—not to mention everyday words such as “support” and “concern.” During one of these exchanges, Boies asked about the terms for Microsoft giving Intuit an icon on the Active Desktop—the term for the Windows 98 home screen—that would allow users instant access to the tax preparation site. I ntuit CEO William Harris’s office had already told government lawyers that Microsoft conditioned the placement on the bundling of IE with Intuit products and on not promoting Netscape on Intuit's websites or allowing Intuit's website customers to access Netscape's products or services. The legal significance of such a policy was that Microsoft was using the monopoly power of Windows to promote IE, in violation of antitrust laws. Here, Gates tries to deflect questions about whether Will Poole, Microsoft’s senior director of business development, ever required Intuit to give preferential treatment to IE and less favorable treatment to Navigator. Bill Gates Deposition Degrading Netscape In the months following the deposition, Gates’ reluctance to answer became clear. In February 1999, Justice Department attorneys called Poole as a witness and obtained his testimony that Microsoft routinely required companies that wanted top Active Desktop billing to create Web content that gave a “degradation in appearance” when viewed with non-IE browsers. Poole went on to say that Microsoft’s deal with Intuit required the latter to develop “some differentiated content” on its website with “acceptable degradation when used with other browsers.” Gates' exchange with Boies starts to turn testy around 1:41:00 (or 11:48 am as noted in the video itself) after Gates repeatedly asks for a definition of the word “support.” Bill Gates Deposition Another tense moment starts around 9:23 (deposition clock time August 28, 12:47pm) in this segment as the topic turns to Java and whether Microsoft set out to kill its “write-once-run-anywhere” promise by creating a version that wasn’t compatible with Sun’s. Boies presents Gates with an email from Ben Slivka, the Microsoft manager responsible for executing the Java strategy. The email notes that Gates recently “had a lot of pretty pointed questions about Java,” one of which was, “How do we wrest control of Java away from Sun?” Bill Gates Deposition For more than six minutes, Gates is unable to concede even the most basic of facts. That Slivka is working on behalf of Microsoft to forge its Java strategy, that Gates even received the email. Then Gates uses a non-denial denial when asked if Slivka was accurate in saying one of Gates’ questions involved Microsoft “wresting” control of Java from Sun. Shortly afterward, Gates takes a similar approach when asked about an email, with the subject “Java schism,” that Gates received from Microsoft VP Paul Maritz. The stalling lasts more than six minutes. Bill Gates Deposition Things come to a head at 21:41 when Gates parses the words “proprietary API” and debates Boies on the semantics of the phrase. Boies finally snaps. Bill Gates Deposition Boies: Mr. Gates, is the term proprietary API a term that is commonly used in your business? Gates: Let me give you … Boies: all I’m trying to do is … Gates: … the common meanings that those words could have and you can pick one of them and ask me a question about it Boies: no Gates: Do you want me to define proprietary API or not? Boies: No, I don’t want you to define proprietary API. I didn’t ask you to define proprietary API. I asked you a simple question about whether the term proprietary API was commonly used in your business. Now I’m prepared to sit here as long as you want to to answer questions that I haven’t asked. But I have a certain number of questions that I am going to ask at the end of these other answers. Now this is a simple question. You can say yes, no, or it is used in lots of different ways. But then I can choose what to follow up on. Or you can simply make whatever statements you want and I’ll go back to my question afterwards. Now, is the term property API a term that is commonly used in your business? Gates: I don’t know how common it is. It has many different meanings. Getting Apple to undermine Sun Apple also played a prominent role in the deposition, as it did in the trial as well. With Apple's future hanging on a thread in the mid to late 1990s, the Mac maker was eager to secure a commitment from Microsoft to develop Office for Macintosh. Microsoft knew this, and in an email dated August 8, 1997, Gates asked Maritz: “Do we have a clear plan on what we want Apple to do to undermine Sun?” Watching Gates rock forward and backward in a conference room chair, taking swigs of diet Coke and sparring with Boies, it’s impossible to deny the comedic gold in the exchange starting about about 32:30 of this segment. Gates is so dug in against Boies and the lawsuit he’s prosecuting to concede even that Microsoft would have been the company that produced the email he sent to Maritz. Bill Gates Deposition Another passage with comedic value occurs a few minutes later when Gates—referring to Apple cofounder Steve Jobs’ 1997 return to Apple after resigning eight years earlier—says: “Steve called me up and said that he’d become the CEO of Apple, sort of, and that the Gil Amelio wasn’t the CEO of Apple. And he raised the question of was there some beneficial agreement we could enter into different than we’d been discussing with Gil.” Bill Gates Deposition A few lines later, Gates reminds Boies that Microsoft at the time was the biggest software developer for the Mac. “As the largest developer of software for the Macintosh, is what you do important to Apple?” Boies asked Gates responded matter of factly: “Sometimes it doesn’t seem like it.“ A “perfect club” to use on Netscape Humor aside, Gates once again appeared either out of touch or disingenuous in the segments involving Apple. He said he didn’t remember what he meant when, as reflected in an email from Maritz, he had asked if Microsoft had a clear plan for what it wanted Apple to do to undermine Sun. The tone turned serious, even somber, when Boies presented Gates with a different email sent between lower-ranking employees Don Bradford and Ben Waldman and and cc’ing Gates and Maritz. Bradford wrote: Apple wants to keep both Netscape and Microfsoft developing browsers for Mac, believing if one drops out the other will lose interest and also not really wanting to pick up the development burden. Getting Apple to do anything that significantly materially disadvantages Netsecape will be tough. Do agree that Apple should be meeting the spirit of our cross-license agreement and that Mac Officis is the perfect club to use on them. Bill Gates Deposition Boies: Do you have an understanding of what Mr. Bradford means when he refers to Mac Office as quote ‘the perfect club to use on Apple,’ closed quote. Gates: No. Boies: Was it your understanding in February of 1998 that Microsoft was trying to get Apple to do something that would disadvantage Netscape? Gates:No. Reality sets in It’s at about this point that you can see the combativeness drain Gates and slowly be replaced with resignation. Boies Do you know why Mr. Bradford would have written this in February of 1998 and sent a copy to you? [Long pause] Gates: I’m not sure. Boies: Did you ever say to Mr. Bradford in words or in substance, in February of 1998 or thereafter: “Mr. Bradford, you got it wrong. We’re not out to significantly or materially disadvantage Netscape through Apple”? Gates: No. Boies: Did you ever tell Mr. Bradford or anyone else in February 1998 or thereafter that they should not be trying to get Apple to do things that would significantly or materially disadvantage Netscape? [Long pause] Gates: No. Boies may not have gotten answers, but his questions and the responses they evoked spoke volumes about Gates. For the many reporters in the room that had been browbeaten by the CEO or whose questions had been sidestepped over the years, the exchanges were pure comeuppance. And many years later, they now serve as a time capsule of a very different Microsoft. Revisiting the spectacular failure that was the Bill Gates deposition
  3. The billionaire philanthropist, however, says the antibody drugs used on President Trump could significantly curb the death rate for COVID-19 patients. Bill Gates has been among the vocal figures in discussing how to deal with the coronavirus. Bill Gates is still criticizing the state of COVID-19 testing in the US, calling it a "truly sad thing" at The Wall Street Journal CEO Summit this week. But he offered a glimmer of hope, noting that the antibody-based drugs used in President Donald Trump's coronavirus treatment could dramatically curb the death rate from COVID-19 once they're approved by regulators and made available to the public. This isn't the first time that Microsoft's co-founder and now full-time philanthropist has railed against US testing, which has faced slower-than-hoped turnaround times throughout the pandemic. "The majority of all US tests are completely garbage, wasted," he told Wired in August. Gates noted in the interview that the reimbursement system set up by the federal government pays at the same level for all tests, which means companies providing them just administer as many as possible. But the government could fix this if it changed the system to pay extra for results within 24 hours, a normal fee for 48 hours and nothing if it goes longer. "They will fix it overnight," he said. Gates also noted that COVID-19 tests don't necessarily need to jam deep into your nose, as they commonly have been. He said that a self-test that just reaches inside the top of your nose with a cotton swab is equally effective. At the WSJ CEO Council Summit, Gates expressed optimism for drugs developed by companies such as Regeneron Pharmaceuticals. "The reduction in death rate there could be pretty high, and those will be out in volume by the end of the year, at least in the rich countries," he said. The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives. Source
  4. Aunty Mabel on Facebook thinks he is a Bond baddie (spoiler: he's not) Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates stuck an oar into tinfoil-hat-infested waters once again today with a pretty reasonable plan to deal with the ongoing global pandemic. In an opinion piece for Tortoise Media, His Billness laid out a three-part plan for eliminating the grim threat of coronavirus and, unsurprisingly, it all hinges on those pesky vaccines. Gates reckoned that likely more than one vaccine will be available by the early part of next year, but dealing with the pandemic would first require the capacity to make enough of the stuff, and then ensure a global reach for dosages. "Right now," he said, "most of the world's supply of COVID-19 vaccines is slated to go to rich countries." Those countries at the other end of the scale are not so lucky: "As things stand now, these countries will be able to cover, at most, 14 per cent of their people." Taking the ethics and morality of the situation aside, the result, according to Gates, is the virus continuing its rampage through large chunks of the world and wealthy nations risking reinfection because, after all, not everybody will leap at the chance of a needle stuffed full of special sauce. "The only way to eliminate the threat of this disease somewhere is to eliminate it everywhere," insisted Gates. "New modeling from Northeastern University helps illustrate what will happen if vaccine distribution is so unequal. The researchers there analyzed two scenarios. In one, vaccines are given to countries based on their population size. Then there’s another scenario that approximates what’s happening now: 50 rich countries get the first 2 billion doses of vaccine. In this scenario, the virus continues to spread unchecked for four months in three quarters of the world. And almost twice as many people die." "This would be a huge moral failing. A vaccine can make Covid-19 a preventable disease, and no one should die from a preventable disease simply because the country they live in can’t afford to secure a manufacturing deal," he added. As well as upping manufacturing capacity (and noting the unusual sight of pharmaceutical companies sharing facilities), Gates also called for more funding to pay for both the vaccines and infrastructure to get doses to patients. "There's a lot to be learned from the ongoing effort to eradicate polio," he said. And the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation knows a lot about polio. Gates has been forced in recent months to deny that his support for vaccine research is actually a cover for something altogether more nefarious. Lurking within the recent Windows XP source code leak were all manner of conspiracy videos, and social media posts concerning Gates' involvement in the spread of the virus have fanned the flames licking up those 5G (or, indeed, 4G) masts. When asked in a recent interview if he wanted to use vaccines to implant microchips into people, the billionaire responded simply: "No." Indeed, in terms of tracking people and controlling their moods, the social media giants are already way ahead of the game. Gates went on to point out that building the system to identify and eliminate COVID-19 regardless of a nation's wealth will also give the world a running start when the next pandemic rolls around. "The self-interested thing and the altruistic thing," he said, "are one and the same." Source
  5. Key Points Microsoft co-founder and former CEO Bill Gates told CNBC on Wednesday morning he had been naive about the government scrutiny that comes with getting large when he was running Microsoft. “The rules will change somewhat,” Gates said about the possibility of Big Tech antitrust regulation. “I’d say the chances of them doing something is pretty high.” Microsoft co-founder and former CEO Bill Gates told CNBC Wednesday morning he had been naive about the government scrutiny that comes with getting large when he was running Microsoft and said the chance of Big Tech antitrust regulation is “pretty high.” “Whenever you get to be a super-valuable company, affecting the way people communicate and even political discourse being mediated through your system and higher percentage of commerce — through your system — you’re going to expect a lot of government attention,” Gates said in the “Squawk Box” interview. Last week, the House Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust released a report concluding that Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google hold monopoly power. “I was naive at Microsoft and didn’t realize that our success would lead to government attention,” Gates said, referring to Microsoft’s antitrust challenges from more than 20 years ago. “And so I made some mistakes — you know, just saying, ‘Hey, I never go to Washington, D.C.’ And now I don’t think, you know, that naivete is there.” Gates stepped down as Microsoft CEO in the middle of the U.S. Justice Department’s antitrust case, which charged the company had tried to monopolize the web browser market when it bundled Internet Explorer with Windows. The company settled with the DOJ in 2001. Gates’ successor at the time, Steve Ballmer, recommended on CNBC last week that Big Tech companies should go to Washington and proactively engage with regulators, but also said he would “bet money” Congress won’t break them up. “The rules will change somewhat,” Gates said in contrast about the possibility of future regulation. “I’d say the chances of them doing something is pretty high.” “We have to get the particulars,” said Gates when asked about the risk of additional regulation cutting down on innovation. “Is there some rule about acquisition? Is there some rule about splitting parts of the companies, either — to create open availability of those resources?” Anti-competitive “killer acquisitions” was one of the House subcommittee’s concerns, and the report looked into whether Facebook acquired Instagram to eliminate a competitor. Splitting up such acquisitions may be one possibility of future regulation. “We’re in uncharted territory here,” said Gates. Source
  6. Bill Gates calls Microsoft’s TikTok deal a poisoned chalice Microsoft’s complicated deal even has Gates wary Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has described the company’s potential TikTok deal as a poisoned chalice. In a wide-ranging interview with Wired, Gates makes it clear that Microsoft acquiring parts of TikTok won’t be easy or simple. “Who knows what’s going to happen with that deal,” says Gates. “But yes, it’s a poison[ed] chalice.” He also notes that being a big player in the social media business “is no simple game,” as Microsoft will have to contend with a whole new level of content moderation. Asked if Gates is wary of Microsoft getting into the social media game, he suggests that Facebook having some more competition is “probably a good thing” but that “having Trump kill off the only competitor, it’s pretty bizarre.” Gates seems as confused as the rest of us about how this potential TikTok deal is proceeding, especially with President Trump suggesting the US Treasury will need some type of cut from any acquisition. “I agree that the principle this is proceeding on is singly strange,” says Gates. “The cut thing, that’s doubly strange. Anyway, Microsoft will have to deal with all of that.” Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates. Photo by Ryan Manning / The Verge Gates’ comments come just days after Microsoft confirmed it was pursuing a deal to buy TikTok’s operations in the US, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. Reports have also suggested Microsoft might be considering buying all of TikTok’s global operations, with the Financial Times suggesting talks around this particular deal are at the “preliminary” stage. President Trump also claimed last week that he was a day away from banning TikTok in the US, before later setting a deadline of September 15th for Microsoft to conclude its potential acquisition and avoid TikTok being banned. It’s a complicated deal that would give Microsoft a big presence in the social networking space at the risk of being part of a larger trade war between the US and China. Gates is clearly wary of the acquisition, but we’re about a month away from seeing if it becomes a reality. Bill Gates calls Microsoft’s TikTok deal a poisoned chalice
  7. Bill Gates says tech companies ‘deserve rude, unfair, tough questions’ He also told the Armchair Expert podcast that he considered Steve Jobs a “genius” Photo by Saeed Adyani / Netflix Bill Gates believes tech firms “deserve” the kind of scrutiny they got during Congressional hearings last month, and that the late Steve Jobs was a “genius,” he told the Armchair Expert podcast. “If you’re as successful as I am or any of those people are, you deserve rude, unfair, tough questions,” the Microsoft founder told host Dax Shepard. “The government deserves to have shots at you,” Gates said. “That type of grilling comes with the super successful territory. It’s fine.” Gates was referring to the July 29th hearing before the House Judiciary Committee where the CEOs of Apple, Google, Facebook, and Amazon were questioned about their business practices as part of an ongoing antitrust investigation. During the wide-ranging podcast interview, Gates talked about his foundation’s work on vaccines and what it was like starting Microsoft, but also spoke about what it was like being a celebrity of sorts; he says the idea of tech entrepreneurs being famous in popular culture took some getting used to. “It was crazy because I was nerdy and not very sociable, then to be rocket-shipped into this realm of ‘what does he say about this, what does he say about that, what he says is semi-interesting’ was like, whoa, what happened.” As for his late rival, Gates said he was not as “tough” as Steve Jobs, but admired how Jobs turned Apple around when he returned to the company. “Jobs was a genius, what he did, particularly when he came back to Apple... no one else could do what he did there. I couldn’t have done that.” Gates admitted he envied the late Apple CEO’s charisma. “He was such a wizard at over-motivating people— I was a minor wizard so I couldn’t fall under his spell— but I could see him casting the spell,” Gates joked. “I was so jealous.” Gates even spoke about what he considers to be a few of his personal shortcomings. “I’m not that great socially, I don’t know how to cook and I’m very embarrassed I don’t speak any [other] languages fluently,” he said. For those who haven’t listened, the Armchair Expert podcast has kind of a geeky fan tone to it (for example, cohost Monica Padman asks Gates his favorite color at one point. It’s blue), but the format may actually have allowed Gates to relax a bit; he admits to sharing Shepard’s affinity for Diet Coke, for instance, says he meditates using Headspace, and that he’s a big fan of the movie Spy Game, starring Brad Pitt. To hear a less-formal version of Bill Gates, you can check out the podcast here. Bill Gates says tech companies ‘deserve rude, unfair, tough questions’
  8. Bill Gates, the Microsoft founder who later pivoted to a career in being the richest man in the world, is losing his touch. If any of us were as bad at our jobs as Gates, we’d be on the bread lines faster than you can say, “guillotines are the future.” And this week, the man’s downward spiral continued. Bill Gates On Monday night, Gates slipped from the position of being the second-richest person on the planet. The Bloomberg Billionaires Index found that Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s personal worth had risen to $127.9 billion while Gates’s stagnating fortune of $127.7 billion left him ranked at number three. According to Bloomberg, Musk’s net worth has increased by $100.3 billion over the last year as the world’s economies have been hit with a devastating recession and the covid-19 pandemic has made life extremely difficult for workers. Musk’s move up the power rankings was fueled by a 6.7% increase in Tesla’s stock price, which hit an all-time high of $522.22 per share. It’s sad to watch a giant like Bill Gates lose his fastball but the man’s decline has been a long time in the making. Let’s take a look at the recent history of Gates fumbling the most coveted prize in the land: July 27, 2017 - With a net worth of $92.3 billion, Bezos passes Bill Gates to be the richest person on the planet, taking the crown that’s sat on Gates’s head since 2014. But Bill quickly recovers. August 30, 2017 - Amancio Ortega gains the title with an $85 billion fortune, but only holds on to it for about a day. October 27, 2017 - Bezos makes a comeback but Gates is triumphant by the end of the trading day. The Microsoft man pulls ahead with a net worth of $88 billion. November 29, 2017 - Bezos gets a toe-hold on the top slot as his worth rises to $101 billion, a development attributed to the nourishing powers of Thanksgiving. February 13, 2018 - Bill and Melina Gates say it’s unfair they are so rich. Exactly what a loser would say. February 20, 2018 - Bill Gates guest stars on the Big Bang Theory. The kind of thing one does when they have no interest in being the richest person on the planet. July 16, 2018 - Bezos beats Gates’s all-time record for personal net worth, hitting a high of $150 million. August 30, 2018 - Tech outlet Alphr asks, “Who Is Bill Gates,” signaling the beginning of Gates’s era as the forgotten man. October 10, 2018 - Jeff Bezos loses $9 billion in a stock market shakeup, wraps the day with $144.7 billion to his name, remains the richest man. February 12, 2019 - Bill Gates says he doesn’t “deserve” his fortune. Jeff Bezos agrees. A few months later, Bezos goes through the most expensive divorce in history but remains on top with a $110 billion net worth. July 17, 2019 - LVMH head Bernard Arnault surpasses Gates to become the second richest person. Gates falls to third place with $107 billion. November 6, 2019 - Gates shows a little life and regains the number two slot with a $106.8 billion squeaker. November 15, 2019 - When faced with a mid-life crisis, some men buy a Harley. Bill Gates decides to be the richest person in the world, once again. Gates held up a $110 billion middle-finger to Bezos’s face as the Amazon tycoon took his eye off the ball. March 13, 2020 - Gates steps down from the Microsoft board, the kind of thing someone does when they’ve lost the courage to fight. One month later, Bezos is crowned the king with $110 billion on the books. April 15, 2020 - Gates spends his time “laying out a road map for the next pandemic” while Jeff Bezos screams “mush you dogs!” at warehouse workers. August 26, 2020 - Jeff Bezos becomes the first person to be worth $200 billion dollars, a significant accomplishment for someone who wants to be the richest person in the world. And here we are today. Bezos still reigns supreme with a net worth of $182 billion. Gates is gaining on Musk and the two are currently ranked as tied in second place with $128 billion each. But as we’ve seen, Gates has had his ups and downs while his glidepath to nowhere becomes increasingly clear. For more on what it takes to be a god among men, stay tuned to the Bloomberg Billionaire Index. Source
  9. It may make you feel like you’re doing something, but those climate activists screaming at investors to divest from those dirty fossil fuels could be wasting their time, Microsoft mogul Bill Gates has said. Gates, one of the world’s leading philanthropists, is telling the climate brigade that they would be better off abandoning their divestment crusades and instead encouraging investments in alternatives such as disruptive technologies that will slow carbon emissions. How many tons of carbon emissions has the divestment crusade reduced thus far? Likely zero, Gates told the Financial Times, in his most scathing remark to the climate activists. “It’s not like you’ve capital-starved people making steel and gasoline,” Gates said. While recent reports suggest that the global fossil fuel divestment movement has already shifted $11 trillion of investment away from oil, gas, and coal - the real impact is likely zero. A better course of action, suggests Gates, would be to invest in innovative businesses such as Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods—two businesses that Gates has backed. Gates, according to the FT, only invests in companies and start ups who have a plan to reduce greenhouse gases by 0.5%. Gates’ comments run contrary to the divestment crusade that has caught the media’s attention in recent years as new targets find themselves in the climate change crosshairs. There has been a conscious push by activists to restrict funds or ban oil pipeline builds, to ban fracking, and to increase taxes on oil and gas companies. Sovereign Wealth Funds, too, are pulling up stakes in the dirtiest of the dirty fossil fuels—coal. There is even a Global Divestment Day. According to Gates, though, these climate crusaders may not be getting as much bang for their buck as they could be, if they were to promote investments in clean energy and other fossil fuel disruptors. And Gates’ chiding doesn’t stop there. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has today released its latest edition of its Goalkeepers report, which attempts to measure progress towards the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. At a UN General Assembly meeting next week, meeting attendees are expected to commit to these new goals. The Foundation, however, unequivocally considers these promises to be entirely unrealistic. “We’re nowhere near improving fast enough to reach those goals,” Gates told FT. Source
  10. He argues that it just creates more companies that behave badly. Bill Gates is unsurprisingly very familiar with antitrust regulations of large tech companies, so how does he feel about the US government's ongoing competition review? He's not a fan -- though not necessarily for the reasons you might think. The former Microsoft CEO told Bloomberg in an interview that it was better to correct the specific practices than to break the companies up. If you split them, you now have two companies "doing the bad thing," he said. He wasn't completely averse to the concept, but there were a "narrow" set of circumstances where it would work. Gates also took a mixed approach to taxation. He agreed with tech giants that the current tax system is completely legal, but also felt that politicians should change the rules if they wanted to remove incentives to minimize taxes. He did agree that it was up to society (including government) to ensure that innovation in Big Tech didn't have harmful effects, such as radicalization and highly partisan news. Others would disagree. Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren, for instance, has called for the breakup of these companies in part because of their sizes. They use their clout to buy up would-be rivals and otherwise stymie competition, she argued, and the situation won't get better if they're allowed to hold on to all their acquisitions. And Microsoft President Brad Smith might not be calling for an explicit breakup, but he has warned that a lack of strong regulation could threaten the very foundations of democracy. Gates could have a point -- many would argue that the breakup of AT&T led to multiple poorly-behaving carriers. However, the answer might not be as clear cut as either side is arguing. Source
  11. It was a whirlwind day for Jeff Bezos. The world’s top billionaire briefly lost his spot as the richest man on Earth to Bill Gates on Friday morning, before recovering to reclaim the title by day’s end. The Amazon founder, who also owns the Washington Post, as well as aerospace firm Blue Origin among other holdings, fell to the No. 2 spot after the e-commerce giant’s stock price tumbled 7% in after-hours trading Thursday following a disappointing earnings report. It was the company’s first quarterly drop in profit since 2017, and it cost Bezos nearly $7 billion, lowering his net worth to $103.9 billion. Amazon shares roared back on Friday, however, allowing Bezos to finish the day with a net worth of $111.1 billion against Gates’ $107.5 billion. Bezos, 55, became the world’s richest man in 2018 with a net worth of $160 billion, ending Gates’ 24-year undefeated run in the top spot. The Amazon boss first joined The Forbes 400 list of richest Americans in 1998, a year after Amazon went public, with a net worth of $1.6 billion. Bezos’ brief slip Thursday wasn’t entirely due to his Amazon shares falling: He would never have lost the No. 1 spot if he and MacKenzie Bezos hadn’t divorced. In January, the pair announced their split, with MacKenzie, 49, receiving a quarter of their Amazon holdings in July. With a net worth of $32.7 billion, she is among the top 20 wealthiest people in the world. The Bezoses announced their split to fend off a news report about it — a report that included an embarrassing “below the belt” selfie Bezos intended for his mistress Lauren Sanchez. Gates, who debuted on Forbes’ first-ever billionaire list in 1987, with a net worth of $1.25 billion, stepped down as chairman of Microsoft in 2014, though he remains a board member. He is now the co-chairman of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Shares of Amazon finished the day down 1.1% at $1,761.33, a bounce back from the 4.8% down the stock was at the open, while Microsoft ended Friday up 0.6%, at $140.73. Source
  12. It's time for the government to step in and regulate big tech companies, says Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates. With tech giants like Google, Facebook, Amazon and others exerting so much influence over culture and the economy, not to mention users' daily lives, it's become necessary for lawmakers to become more involved in how those companies deal with essential issues like privacy and cyberbullying, Gates said in an interview posted online by Bloomberg on Wednesday. "Technology has become so central that government has to think: What does that mean about elections? What does that mean about bullying?" Gates said in the interview, which took place at the Economic Club of Washington, DC in June. "So, yes, the government needs to get involved." Gates expects that one area where we're likely to see additional government regulation of tech companies is around the issue of data privacy. Facebook, Google and other tech companies (Microsoft included) have been rocked by a series of privacy scandals in recent years that affected millions of users' personal information. "There will be more regulation of the tech sector, things like privacy … there should be, at some point, federal regulation that relates to that," Gates said. Meanwhile, the fact that more and more people today get their information online, including from social media platforms, has sparked concerns from regulators over whether or not tech companies are taking enough precautions to stop the spread of misinformation on their platforms. Count Gates among those who believe that government regulations could help ensure that the information being widely disseminated on many of those online platforms can be trusted. "The fact that, now, this is the way people consume media has really brought it into a realm where we need to shape it so that the benefits need to outweigh the negatives," he said in the interview. 1:37 Of course, Gates wasn't always such a fan of government oversight of the tech industry. As CEO of Microsoft until 2000, Gates and the company spent nearly a decade pushing back against the government's attempts at labeling Microsoft a monopoly. The Department of Justice began an antitrust investigation into Microsoft in 1992 before suing the company in 1998. Microsoft eventually reached a settlement with the government in 2001, with the deal imposing multiple rules the company had to follow for several years, including sharing the company's records and source code with competitors. In the interview posted online by Bloomberg, Gates pointed out that newer tech companies might have learned a lesson from Microsoft's past actions. Tech companies today are "very engaged" with the government, Gates said, as tech leaders like Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg have expressed a willingness to work with the government on creating more tech regulations. "I, for the early years of Microsoft, bragged to people that I didn't have an office in Washington, DC, and eventually I came to regret that statement, because it was kind of almost like taunting [government regulators]," Gates said. Source
  13. Bill Gates: Windows Phone could have defeated Android Microsoft founder laments missed opportunity due to antitrust investigation (Image credit: Microsoft) Microsoft founder Bill Gates believes the company would have dominated the smartphone world had it not been for an antitrust investigation it faced in the early 2000s. Speaking at the New York Times’ DealBook conference, Gates said he was too distracted by the case and missed a deadline to put Windows Mobile on a Motorola device by a matter of months. Microsoft dominated smartphones in the first part of the decade with Windows Mobile, but this first mover advantage was limited by the fact the market for such devices was so small. Motorola was a major device manufacturer during the period, meaning Windows Mobile could have gained significant traction in the market and would have limited the opportunity that Google seized with Android. Microsoft Mobile “There’s no doubt that the antitrust lawsuit was bad for Microsoft, and we would have been more focused on creating the phone operating system and so instead of using Android today you would be using Windows Mobile,” Gates is quoted as saying. “If it hadn’t been for the antitrust case... we were so close, I was just too distracted. I screwed that up because of the distraction.” The first Android devices were launched in the latter part of the decade and filled the vacuum left by Microsoft for a non-Apple mobile operating system. Android has effectively become to smartphones what Windows is to PCs. Windows Phone was critically acclaimed but released far too late to gain the consumer, vendor and developer support required to successfully challenge for the top spot. Not even the acquisition of former market leader Nokia could help arrest the decline. Gates has previously described Microsoft’s inability to capture the market as his biggest mistake, one worth hundreds of billions of pounds, but the company has at least made peace with its failure. A final low-key attempt to win share with a mobile version of Windows 10 has run out of steam, and Microsoft even plans to use Android in its upcoming Surface Duo device. Under Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s strategy is to get its services, such as Microsoft Office 365, onto as many devices as possible and drive subscription revenue. Source: Bill Gates: Windows Phone could have defeated Android (TechRadar)
  14. Bill Gates bought a Porsche, and then Elon Musk talked trash about him Apparently, the Porsche Taycan prompted Musk’s ire Photo by Ryan Manning / The Verge Bill Gates bought an electric car. But while he’s given Tesla credit for pushing other carmakers to go electric, it does seem notable that he didn’t buy from the company that pushed the innovation. He bought a Porsche Taycan. Someone alerted Elon Musk to this development, of course. And that got us a bitchy tweet from Musk: “My conversations with Gates have been underwhelming tbh.” It’s true that Musk likes beef; after all, he’s made cracks about Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. (Actually, it seems like Musk and Bezos have a lively rivalry going.) But the Gates fight strikes me as different — precisely because Musk’s dismissal of him is so broad. Both Musk and Gates are admirers of Nick Bostrom, the Swedish philosopher who has warned in his 2014 book Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies that machine intelligence could surpass human intelligence. Both men have appeared on The Big Bang Theory. Perhaps significantly, though, Musk is frequently compared not to Gates, but to Apple’s late CEO, Steve Jobs. The Taycan is also something of a sore spot for Musk, even though it has a smaller range than Tesla’s comparable vehicles. But the Taycan Turbo set the “four door electric sports car” lap record at Germany’s Nürburgring. (Though Musk has suggested on Twitter that the use of “Turbo” by Porsche is a misnomer.) And, apparently in response, Musk announced Tesla would run a Model S around the track. In November, Musk also picked a fight with Top Gear, a TV show that depicted a Taycan beating a Model S in a race. Source: Bill Gates bought a Porsche, and then Elon Musk talked trash about him (The Verge)
  15. Bill Gates says countries will probably use interviews and databases to track the coronavirus Photo by Nicolas Liponne/NurPhoto via Getty Images Bill Gates thinks most countries will fight COVID-19 with interview-based contact tracing and a central database to track exposure. Gates posted a paper today outlining potential pandemic treatments, vaccines, and containment strategies. He calls contact tracing, which helps identify and isolate people who could spread the virus, an “ideal way” to stop the pandemic. But he downplayed the importance of decentralized tech-only options like those proposed by Apple and Google, focusing on more traditional methods combined with large-scale data analysis. Gates believes privacy concerns will stop many countries from adopting GPS tracking like that used in South Korea and China. He also seems lukewarm on Bluetooth-based contact tracing systems, especially ones that operate without experts getting access to the data. “If most people voluntarily installed this kind of application, it would probably help some,” Gates writes. But he points out that someone can leave the virus on a surface where it’s later picked up by another person, even if the two never come near each other. These systems also require large-scale adoption that can be difficult to get. “I think most countries will use the approach that Germany is using, which requires interviewing everyone who tests positive and using a database to make sure there is follow-up with all the contacts. The pattern of infections is studied to see where the risk is highest and policy might need to change,” writes Gates. This raises obvious privacy questions and would require huge numbers of interviewers, something Gates acknowledges. “Every health system will have to figure out how to staff up so that this work is done in a timely fashion,” he writes. “Everyone who does the work would have to be properly trained and required to keep all the information private. Researchers would be asked to study the database to find patterns of infection, again with privacy safeguards in place.” While Gates doesn’t mention it, Germany is one of the prime drivers of a Bluetooth-based contact tracing initiative called the Pan-European Privacy-Preserving Proximity Tracing project. The system is similar in some ways to Apple and Google’s plans for a tracking system built into iOS and Android. But the anonymized data would be held on a central server, while Apple and Google have favored a system that’s supposed to store as much data as possible on users’ devices. (There’s still a lot we don’t know about its process.) Meanwhile, a separate group of experts has proposed a system called Decentralized Privacy-Preserving Proximity Tracing. American health authorities are attempting to rapidly scale up a contact tracing interview system that may require an “army” of disease detectives. Massachusetts recently budgeted for 1,000 people to interview infected citizens over the phone and determine who they’ve been in contact with. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also sent contact tracing teams to eight states. Tracing efforts also depend heavily on having a robust testing system, which the country has been slow to roll out. Gates’ views on the pandemic are fairly mainstream, but he’s become a target of conspiracy theorists in recent weeks. Former Trump adviser Roger Stone made headlines for repeating a baseless claim that Gates wants to microchip people who receive a novel coronavirus vaccine, misinterpreting a comment the Microsoft co-founder made in a Reddit AMA. This week, right-wing extremists circulated a list of email addresses and passwords that included members of the Gates Foundation, prompting claims of a hack — but the credentials appeared to be cobbled together from past data breaches. Source: Bill Gates says countries will probably use interviews and databases to track the coronavirus (The Verge)
  16. At a recent event hosted for founders by the venture firm Village Global, one of its most prominent investors, Bill Gates, sat down with Eventbrite cofounder and CEO Julia Hartz to discuss founding a company and the tough decisions necessary at nearly every turn in order to create and sustain a thriving enterprise. As part of that conversation, Hartz asked Gates about his views on work-life balance, and whether they have evolved from an earlier point in Gates’s life, when he has said that he “didn’t really believe in vacations.” His reply, in short: no, not in a company’s earliest years and especially not if that company is building a software platform. As Gates told Hartz, “I have a fairly hardcore view that there should be a very large sacrifice made during those early years, particularly if you’re trying to do some engineering things that you have to get the feasibility” or proof that a project can be performed successfully. In fact, Gates is still kicking himself for taking his eyes off the ball and allowing Google to develop Android, the “standard non-Apple phone form platform,” as he describes it. “That was a natural thing for Microsoft to win.” You can find their entire chat below, but here’s Gate’s full response to whether he thinks it worth it to focus narrowly on work or whether early-stage founders can strike a better balance: I think you could over worship and mythologize the idea of working extremely hard. For my particular makeup — and it really is true that I didn’t believe in weekends; I didn’t believe in vacations; I mean, I knew everybody’s license plate so I could tell you over the last month when their card had come and gone from the parking lot — so I don’t recommend it and I don’t think most people would enjoy it. Once I got into my 30s, I could hardly even imagine how I had done that. Because by then, some natural behavior kicked in, and I loved weekends. And, you know, my girlfriend liked vacations. And that turned out to be kind of a neat thing. Now I take lots of vacation. My 20-year-old self is so disgusted with my current self. You know, I, I was sure I would never fly anything but coach and you know, now I have a plane. So it’s very much counter revelations and taken place at high speed. But yes, it is nice if during those first several years, you have a team that has chosen to be pretty maniacal about the company, and how far that goes, you should have a mutual understanding, so you’re not one person expecting one thing, and another person expecting another thing. And you’ll have individuals who, who have, you know, health or relatives or things that [distract them]. But yes, I have a fairly hardcore view that there should be a very large sacrifice made during those, those early years, particularly if you’re trying to do some engineering things that you have to get the feasibility. You know, in the software world, in particular for platforms, these are winner-take-all markets. So, you know, the greatest mistake ever is the whatever mismanagement I engaged in that caused Microsoft not to be what Android is, [meaning] Android is the standard non-Apple phone form platform. That was a natural thing for Microsoft to win. It really is winner take all. If you’re there with half as many apps or 90% as many apps, you’re on your way to complete doom. There’s room for exactly one non-Apple operating system, and what’s that worth? $400 billion that would be transferred from company G [Google] to company M [Microsoft]. And it’s amazing to me, having made one of the greatest mistakes of all time — and there was this antitrust lawsuit and various things that, you know, our other assets, Windows, Office, are still very strong. So we are a leading company. If we got that one right, we would be the company. But oh well. So this idea that just small differences can magnify themselves doesn’t exist for a lot of businesses. You know, if you’re a service business, it doesn’t exist. But for software platforms, it’s absolutely gigantic. And so that’s partly where you have the mentality of every night you think, ‘Am I screwing this up?’ And eventually, we did screw up a super important one. Source
  17. Bill Gates says there needs to be an Elon Musk in every sector Just days after Bill Gates launched his new book, How To Avoid A Climate Disaster, the Microsoft founder and former CEO has said that we need innovators like Elon Musk in every sector - naming steel and cement specifically - to help tackle global warming. Musk’s contributions to climate change include pushing the limits of electric vehicles with Tesla and developing reusable rockets. Gates made the comments in an interview with CNBC while being quizzed over whether or not he has been shorting Tesla stock, to which he said that he doesn’t discuss his investing practices. In the interview with CNBC, Gates said: “I think what Elon’s done with Tesla is fantastic. It’s, you know, probably the biggest single contribution to showing us that electric cars are part of how we solve climate change. We need a lot of Elon Musks, including ... ones who work on these super hard categories. ... I think he should be very proud of what he’s done.” Heavy industries such as steel and cement produce more carbon dioxide emissions than the entire United States, according to New Scientist, but the development of new technologies could significantly reduce the carbon emissions in these sectors. Gates clearly thinks that those industries need people that will experiment and improve on nascent technologies as Musk has done with electric vehicles and rockets. As an Amazon Associate, Neowin may earn commission from qualifying purchases. Bill Gates says there needs to be an Elon Musk in every sector
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