Bill Gates may no longer be running Microsoft but that doesn’t mean he can’t help his company out in his spare time. Ars Technica reports that the Microsoft cofounder is helping Intellectual Ventures, a patent-holding firm that has in the past sued the Google-owned Motorola, acquire more patents and is listed as a co-inventor on 93 patent applications filed by the firm since 2008. Intellectual Ventures, which was cofounded by former Microsoft CTO Nathan Myhrvold, has around 70,000 patents in its portfolio even though it doesn’t make any products of its own. Indeed, the firm itself told Ars that its mission was not to make products but to “invest in ideas themselves and make them available to other companies” for a licensing fee.
Bill Gates has a long history of philanthropy in Africa and he’s decidedly unimpressed with Google’s initiative to help more people in Africa get Internet connectivity through the use of weather balloons that act as ad hoc wireless networks. During an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek, Gates said that Google’s African Internet initiative would do very little to help people on the continent who are suffering from disease and starvation, which he says are the main problems that most rural Africans face. More →
Bill Gates and late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs are among a small group of people who helped shape the technology industry over the past 40 years and in a new interview conducted by 60 Minutes’ Charlie Rose, the former reflects on his final visit with the latter. Gates recently sat down with 60 Minutes to discuss his work at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and although it didn’t air in CBS’ broadcast, the conversation veered off topic for a few moments as the Microsoft co-founder got emotional while recounting his last visit with friend and rival Steve Jobs in May 2011. No spoilers here — the unaired footage from the Gates interview follows below. More →
The iPad may have the highest customer satisfaction ratings of any tablet in the world, but Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates thinks that many of its users are “frustrated” because it doesn’t come with a physical keyboard and it lacks access to Microsoft Office. Business Insider reports that Gates, while being interviewed on CNBC on Monday, said that a lot of iPad users “are frustrated, they can’t type, they can’t create documents, they don’t have Office there.” As an alternative, Gates plugged Microsoft’s own Surface tablet that features the “portability of the tablet but the richness of the PC” and that not coincidentally has a physical keyboard accessory and access to Office. Of course, given how weak the Surface’s early sales have been compared to the iPad, it’s tough to argue that any frustration with Apple’s tablet is prompting consumers to flee to Windows-based tablets.
It’s not exactly surprising, but Microsoft (MSFT) chairman Bill Gates is a big fan of his company’s first tablet. During an in-house interview posted on Monday, Gates said that the Surface is an “unbelievably great product” that delivers “an even better tablet… that also has what you’d expect in a PC.” Gates said that he just got his first Surface RT device recently and praised the device for “the richness of the swiping” that “takes the touch interface to a whole new level.” Gates also said that he loves showing the Surface off to people, especially the click-in keyboard that folds into the tablet and makes it more of a highly-portable computer than a plain old tablet. A full video of Gates’s interview is posted below. More →
Bill Gates was recently in London for the 2012 Summer Olympics when a group of fans noticed him and asked for a photo. The only problem? They pulled out an iPad to take the picture. Bill’s wife Melinda started screaming out, “You can’t use an iPad!” but quickly said she was just kidding and the photo was taken. Video after the break. More →
Microsoft may be going it alone in making its first tablet but company chairman and founder Bill Gates says that Windows PC original equipment manufacturers shouldn’t feel spurned. As Julie Bort of Business Insider notes, Gates was interviewed by PBS’s Charlie Rose on Monday night and was asked about the advantages of a software company building its own devices versus relying on third-party OEMs. Gates said that one approach doesn’t necessarily preclude the other. More →
In the year 2062, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs will be a distant memory and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates will be celebrated across the world, according to “Outliers” author Malcolm Gladwell. In a recent appearance at the Toronto Public Library’s Appel Salon, Gladwell discussed the work of both men in the context of time. “I firmly believe that 50 years from now, [Bill Gates] will be remembered for his charitable work. No one will even remember what Microsoft is,” the author said. He continued, “And of the great entrepreneurs of this era, people will have forgotten Steve Jobs. Who’s Steve Jobs again? There will be statues of Gates across the third world.” 2062 is a long way off and while Gladwell’s predictions could certainly pan out, it’s also possible that John Gruber Jr.’s claim chowder file just got its first entry. A video of his interview follows below, with the aforementioned part beginning shortly after the 9-minute mark. More →
On April 4th, 1975, two young programmers named Bill Gates and Paul Allen formed a partnership called “Micro-soft.” Gates was 22 years old at the time and Allen was just 19. The two young men had been friends since attending high school together in Seattle and after Allen took a job with MITS in Albuquerque, New Mexico in January 1975, Gates dropped out of his sophomore year at Harvard and moved to Albuquerque to form what would later become Microsoft. The pair moved from New Mexico to Bellevue, Washington in January 1979, and Microsoft would go on to incorporate on June 25th, 1981. The first Microsoft-powered IBM PC was unveiled later that year running Microsoft’s 16-bit MS-DOS 1.0 operating system, and the rest as they say, is history. Gates and Allen’s Microsoft went on to drive the personal computing boom that has taken place over the past three decades, and the firm’s upcoming Windows 8 OS looks to continue what the company’s founders started through the post-PC era and beyond. Happy birthday, Microsoft.
Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was no stranger to legal battles involving the patent system. Apple is currently waging war on a number of Android vendors and the company’s former CEO vowed to crush Google’s mobile platform before his untimely passing last year. “I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong,” Jobs said, according to Walter Isaacson’s biography of the Apple boss. “I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.” But more than a decade before the iPhone even existed, Apple was locked in patent battles with Microsoft that would end up saving the company from the brink of bankruptcy. Read on for more. More →
Owners of Apple’s iPhone and iPod touch can now enjoy a remake of the first-ever PC game, co-written by Bill Gates himself, which came pre-installed on several IBM computers in 1981. First released late last month, XVision’s DONKEY.BAS is a terrific recreation of the PC game by the same name. Players control a race car as it advances up the screen. Donkeys repeatedly come into view, and the simple goal is to switch lanes before colliding with any curious creatures. “We did this game as a tribute to the original,” XVision founder Johnny Ixe told BGR, noting that the firm added a number of new features to the game in order to distinguish it from the original. The spirit of the game remains, however, and gamers looking for a bit of nostalgia would be hard-pressed to find a better blast from the past. DONKEY.BAS is available now in the App Store for $0.99. More →
Former CEO and current chairman of Microsoft, Bill Gates, recently testified in an antitrust suit brought against the company by Novell in 2004. According to the Associated Press, Novell is arguing that Microsoft originally said it would sell Novell’s WordPerfect software as a feature of Windows 95, but then turned around and launched the operating system without WordPerfect built-in. As a result, Novell had to sell the word processor alone, taking a $1.2 billion loss on the deal. Reportedly, Microsoft’s Windows 95 software engineers warned Gates that WordPerfect would crash the OS and that Novell could not provide software that was better than Microsoft’s own Word application in time. As we all know, Word took off and WordPerfect slowly disappeared. “We worked super hard. It was the most challenging, trying project we had ever done,” Gates said, speaking of Windows 95 and his goal to be the first to put a PC on every desk in every home. “It was a ground-breaking piece of work, and it was very well received when we got it done.” The Redmond-based company has asked U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz to toss the suit but, despite Novell’s “thin” claims, Motz said he will leave the verdict up to a jury. More →
When Forbes publishes its 2011 list of billionaires on Wednesday, William Henry Gates III will not be at the top. This is by design, however — the world’s richest man title may have been lost after, but a far more important title remains: the world’s top philanthropist. Gates is not new to this title according to the Global Philanthropy Group, and it finally cost him his spot as the world’s wealthiest man last year. Gates has reportedly given away a third of his wealth at this point, and the majority of this astonishing sum has gone to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. When Forbes’ list is published on Wednesday, Carlos Slim will sit at the top again with approximately $60 billion, up from his 2010 sum of $53.5 billion. Gates will occupy the No.2 spot with $49 billion followed by Warren Buffet, another renowned philanthropist, who is now worth roughly $47 billion. According to David Lincoln, director of global valuations at wealth research firm Wealth-X, Gates would currently be worth $88 billion had he not given away any money. More →