Microsoft's Gates can't play guitar for U2,
talks tech instead
By Jason Bennert
February 20, 2008
Microsoft chairman and co-founder Bill Gates talked about his
philanthropy efforts and the key role that students and universities
play in technological innovation at Stanford University yesterday.
Stanford students and faculty members filled the university's
Memorial Hall to hear Gates, who plans to step away from a full
time role at Microsoft this year in order to concentrate on his
work with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Gates began his talk by playing a humorous video detailing his
post-retirement plans, one of which was to replace The Edge as
The video included numerous celebrity cameos including Bono,
who vainly tried to convince Gates there were no openings in the
band. It also included George Clooney, who told Gates he could
not star in "Ocean's 14'' because there were no plans to
make that film.
On a more serious note, Gates praised Stanford and other universities
for the role they play in innovation.
"One of the best investments any company makes is in its
research group and in the relationship its research group has
with universities,'' Gates said.
Microsoft announced today that it would make its software development
tools available for free to high school and college students.
"Students have really been at the heart of a lot of breakthroughs,''
Gates said. "It's a wonderful time to be a student.''
Gates alluded to the fact that he began Microsoft while a student.
He later dropped out of Harvard University as Microsoft began
to take off. Gates said much of his philanthropic work is concentrated
on curing diseases, especially those diseases that are life-threatening
in the Third World. He lamented how little money is devoted to
finding a cure for many of those diseases such as malaria, which
receives much less funding than the search for a cure for baldness.
"The ratio's about 50 to 1 for baldness, malaria of course
kills about a million people a year,'' Gates said.
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