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My Last Newsweek Article

Sunday, June 22nd, 2008

It’s about Bill Gates, another guy who’s making a transition to a new job.  Here it is.  Also, on the website Newsweek has a healthy dollop of highlights from the two interviews I did with Bill G while researching this.
During the course of the article I went back and looked at a lot of my previous reporting about Gates.  It really has  been a long strange trip for him, but even the most virulent Microsoft hater, I believe, has to admire the fact that he’s going to be spending the bulk of his time now working for beyond-reproach causes such as eradicating diseases that strike poor people and improving high school education.  The most interesting stuff for me was when he talked about the kinds of choices he (and his team including his wife, his dad, and now the foundation’s new CEO Jeff Raikes) has to make in the new job.  Depending on the way the money is spent, thousands of lives could be saved.  This is, he says, quite a different matter than getting someone to move from WordPerfect to Word.

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A sidebar to the piece describes the reunion of The Microsoft Eleven, the employees pictured in the famous photo shot in Albuquerque in late 1978, before the company moved to Seattle.  (Photos btw, are from Microsoft.)    I had the chance to hang out at the reshooting of that picture and also to run a brief roundtable discussion, and it was great to hear those memories.  As you can see from the new picture, I think everyone looked pretty spiffy as well: check out, for instance that big grin on Paul Allen’s face.  One sad note was the absence of Bob Wallace, who died in 1992. (He’s the one in the top row center in the original picture.)  He was a terrific guy.   I met him in 1984 at the original Hacker Conference and then soon afterwards in Seattle, where he talked about his pioneering efforts in shareware, a term he coined.

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