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An Open Letter To Bill Gates  - posted 3/11/07 7:55pm
 

Mr. William H. Gates III

Microsoft Corporation

Redmond, WA, USA

 

My Dear Mr. Gates;

 

In light of recent actions and statements on your part… It is my considered opinion that your grasp on reality has been adversely affected by the simple fact that you sir … Have too much money.  At your level of wealth… You have absolutely no concept of  the effects that your decisions … nay … your very whims can have on the vast majority of your fellow humans.  You seem to have lost sight of the fact that less than 1000 of the 6,500,000,000 people on this planet have even the same designation as you.  And of that 1000… Only 3… That is THREE… can even look at the world from your perspective.

 

Do you honestly think that you are even remotely capable of perceiving the world as it really is with even the vaguest, remotely relative conceptualization as your fellow humans?  Do you honestly believe that your retainers and lackeys dare to tell you anything other than what you wish to hear?

 

Of course not!... You’re a self made man… You’ve never worked for anyone vaguely approaching your wealth.  So you don’t… couldn’t…  recognize the levels of toadyism that people will commit to in order to claim the benefits that proximity to wealth such as yours confers.

 

That said.. There are two points of contention that you should be made aware of…. One… Momentous and fraught with consequence for hundreds of thousands of people and ultimately billions.  The other… not so much… But significant to point out the fantastic level at which you are out of touch with every day facts of life.  Perhaps, by pointing these issues out to you in an open letter… There’s an even chance that you might accidentally come upon these words. 

 

Firstly… You have long advocated against immigration reform… To wit… the H-1B visa restrictions placed upon foreign engineers entering this country to work for Information Technology companies such as yours.  You keep advocating that there are no  good engineers domestically and that you need to import more and more engineers to work for you in order to remain competitive.  Competitive with what Bill?... You don’t have any competitors.  You act and speak as though there is some tremendous company out there poised to overtake Windows as the dominant factor in the computing world.  Just whom might you have in mind?

 

Apple?.. Not bloody likely.  Mr. Jobs and crew… while a thorn in your side as well as an unending fount of insanely great ideas for your company to appropriate… Is mainly useful to you only to keep the Feds from whacking MS with antitrust issues.  Otherwise you would have  crushed Apple out of existence long ago.  And although Apple may in fact make a few more inroads into your territory with its switch to Intel… It would still need many, many years to usurp the entrenched position MS holds worldwide.

 

Linux?... Oh please!.. Open source is a nice idea… But its time is not  anywhere near at hand.  And besides… It will take an actual company to organize what would amount to an unprecedented paradigm shift.  And what, if any company is even remotely poised or prepared to go down that road… Red Hat?.. Folderol!.. Oracle?.. pish posh!.. You’ve given Larry a taste of  what happens if Redmond is displeased, now haven’t you?  That brings us back to Apple… In which case; the preceding paragraph must be re-read.

 

There is however; An interesting phenomenon taking place over the last couple of years that perhaps you should take note of. 

 

Suppose... just suppose there was a concerted effort by several Asian nations that are friends of the U.S.: But competitors nonetheless?  Let's just say... How about... China, Japan and South Korea?  Say they got together and there were these three companies called Red Flag Software, HaanSoft and Miracle Linux.  Of course, there's no issues with these companies being unfairly backed by their governments... Because that has never happened before... Right?  These guys aren't that innovative... They wouldn't copy or improve upon some idea that we conceived... Would they?

 

And suppose these "companies" had reason to feel slighted due to some "inadvertent" oversight on the part of MS?  Or maybe they just sensed an opening and wished to do as all good capitalist do... Slit the throat of the top dog and eat his heart?.. Then again... Maybe just national pride would be enough.

 

OK... So these companies cook up an outlandish OS called Asianux ... I know... I know... Silly idea... But stick with me for a moment Bill. 

 

Then these companies beta test the heck out of this OS by ...say... Oh... I don't know... how about... schools? ... maybe the military?  And then?  Maybe they quietly and quickly start promoting this little goodie?  

 

Where do you suppose these upstarts would have gotten the balls.. The unmitigated gall to think that they could pull off some harebrained stunt like that?  After all.. We've been stealing their best and brightest for years... right?  And putting them to work cheaply in our most prestigious software development shops... Right?  And then when we've wrung all of their best ideas out of them... We send their butts right back where they came from... After all... an H1-b visa isn't permanent after all... Right? ... You Betcha!

 

OK, Mr. Gates... Is your head starting to hurt yet?  I'm sure that's just the same way President Bush feels when some Liberal, America Hating, traitorous wretches start doing "what ifs" on the "War on Terror"... Send a toady out for an aspirin... This won't take much longer.

 

OK... So to recap... We've "imagined" that some bad ol' companies would dare to think that they've got anywhere near the brainpower to pull off a ridiculous stunt like replacing MS on a big chunk of the world's PCs (Mac's too, if that makes you feel better).  But... They couldn't because we steal all of their best and brightest... Work their butts off, and send 'em home, Right?

 

But... What would we do if some outlandish thing like that could... in some parallel universe maybe happen?  Why... We'd just fire up the good old American brain trust and out think and out innovate those treacherous Asian devils and teach them a lesson... But good! ... That's what we'd do by golly!  But here's another "But",  Bill... You've already said that we don't have enough engineers ...remember?  And our schools aren't up to snuff anyway.

 

And of course You... You  couldn't conceive from your lofty perch in the universe... That no kid or parent in his right mind would waste money on an education for employment a field in which he or she stood a smaller chance than of you going broke tomorrow; of getting a decent job in the field of IT engineering or computer science.  In fact ...What incentive is there for U.S. schools to even offer those degrees if the vast majority of the folks doing those jobs get their education at foreign schools? Of course you couldn't see that coming... College meant nothing to you... You dropped out... You did well anyway.  Tell me Bill... Could you even recognize an application for higher education financial help?  Would you know why they exist?  When's the last time you saw a gas bill?.. A mortgage payment book?  Thought about "Can I get another year out of the old Clunker?"...  "I 've gotta meet next semester's payment for Junior. "

 

This is what people think your attitude is Mr. Gates... in case you were even mildly curious:

 

"I've made billions in this industry, but if you try to work your way up from intern in my company to my level I'll fire you and replace you with somebody who spent 1/10th your cost growing up and getting an education, regardless of skill, because it's better for my bottom line."

 

“With attitudes like this among our upper class, can anybody blame high school kids for not going into computer science?”

 

“Every programmer out there who lived through the depression in our industry of 2001-2005 is asking "Where was Bill with these jobs then?", and unfortunately the answer is Bangalore.”

 

“I suggest that to change this image, for every H-1b Microsoft hires, Bill Gates donates a $60,000 scholarship to an American high school student to study computer science, or a $50,000 scholarship to an unemployed American programmer to update their skillset and get a higher degree. Then maybe we'll believe what he says on this topic. Until then, he's just lobbying for the Cheap Labor crowd, which includes his own business.”

Slashdot - Wednesday March 07

 

I have to say Bill... That I agree with the above statements.  You make enough money in 1 month from the interest on your fortune to send 10 kids from every high school in the USA to a top notch school on a full ride scholarship in the courses of your choosing.

 

Then ... you'd not have a reason to expect the government to bail you out and you'd be carrying something like your own weight. (which is considerable...true... but would you even feel it?)

 

Of course if you're above being an American and see yourself as beyond a citizen of a single country... Well... Then we're into territory that maybe only you ... of all the people on the planet understand.

 

But... Unless you're willing to enlighten we lower forms of life on your perspective... We're going to keep thinking that the Emperor has on no clothes.

 

Which brings me to my second bone of contention with you... This relates to the thinking that you lead an extremely isolated existence in the seeming fact that you have no idea of the issues with your main product.  I fully expect that someone handles all of the upkeep on your own PCs and you can't be bothered with antivirus updates and spam and having your machines taken over... But Bill!  Good Lord Man! ... When you go around making statements like this:

 

"Nowadays, security guys break the Mac every single day. Every single day, they come out with a total exploit, your machine can be taken over totally. I dare anybody to do that once a month on the Windows machine."

 

 

People are quite sure that you've gone around the bend!  My personal opinion is that you're simply handled way too deftly for your own good.  But it's a good bet that No one has ANY idea where you got your info about the exploits on the Mac happening daily.  And how you can dare people to do that on a Windows machine with a straight face?... Dude!... Go into any Best Buy... Ask strangers!  Do a Google search... "Windows Viruses"  Around 60,000?!?   Now go find some "real" Mac viruses... Try less than 30… You’re the guy who takes the credit for and gets paid the lions share for your product… If you publicly go out and make statements that the vast majority of computer users on the planet experience to be untrue… You’re perceived as either a nut or a liar… I for one will very charitably continue to think that you are simply very deftly handled… It would collapse my faith in the human race to be convinced that a total dullard had gotten to the pinnacle of the heap.

 

Remember the lesson of Howard Hughes. 

 

 

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