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Bill Gates talks philanthropy, Bing, and rock in Reddit AMA

The Microsoft chairman's Q&A session has earned 28,000 comments so far.


Mike Fenn


Posted on Feb 12, 2013   Updated on Jun 2, 2021, 1:21 am CDT

Don’t worry, Weezer: Bill Gates still loves you.

The Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist acknowledged his enjoyment of the alternative rock band during a Reddit AMA on Feb. 11. The session was an immediate hit for the subreddit, earning thousands of upvotes and receiving more than 28,000 comments. Currently, it is r/IAMA’s hottest link.

During the exchange, Gates discussed his philanthropy work, history in computing, and even his thoughts on late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.

“What do people give you for your birthday, given that you can buy anything you want?” (Salacious)

“Free software. Just kidding.
Books actually.”

“What are your thoughts on the push against the open and free Internet that we have been seeing in the recent past and present (such as sopa, etc)?” (squatly)

“There are two things this could reference. One is the free/pay for software mix. The Internet has benefited from having lots of free stuff and lots of commercial software. It has been interesting see people inventing hybrid models. Even stuff that is pretty commercial often has free versions for some audiences. Even the most open stuff often have services people choose to pay for.

“The second thing is the anonymous versus identified tension. This is another one where both will probably thrive since you want anonymity for some things and full identity for others. I am surprised how little progress has been made in the identity space but it will improve.”

“Do you guys really use Bing? I mean seriously…” (Fozzy420)

“Seriously Bing is the better product at this point. Try the challenge. I am biased but the work to make Bing better has been amazing.”

“How was your relationship with Steve jobs? I always hoped that y’all were really good friends and competitors.” (U_Cant_Touch_This)

“He and I respected each other. Our biggest joint project was the Mac where Microsoft had more people on the project than Apple did as we wrote a lot of applications. I saw Steve regularly over the years including spending an afternoon with him a few months before he tragically passed away…”

“Is Weezer still your favorite band?” (Sindi182)

“Weezer…. Actually U2 is a favorite.. I keep waiting for Spinal Tap to go back on tour…”

“How did you feel about your portrayal in Pirates of Silicon Valley, and who do you want to play you next in a movie?” (loucatelli)

“That portrayal was reasonably accurate…”

“How do you measure the success of the foundation? How does the foundation differ from other large philanthropic organizations? Thanks for all that you and Melinda have done and continue to do!” (killfirejack)

“Our goals are focused on helping the poorest (globally) and improving education (in the US). We spend half of our money on global health. One metric to look at is reducing the number of children (under 5) who die. My annual letter talks about the amazing progress that has been made on this. Amazingly as health improves families choose to have less kids so paradoxically population growth goes DOWN as you improve health helping with almost every issue – from stability to the environment.

“The Rosling video I posted on Sunday talks about this.”

Photo via Lori Tingey/Flickr

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*First Published: Feb 12, 2013, 10:50 am CST