Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Microsoft's Bill Gates Comes to Silicon Valley


No, not as the conquering hero of Yahoo yet, but to give a talk to students at Stanford University about topics Gates often focuses on.

In a speech titled “On Software, Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Giving Back,” Gates will address the young folks gathered tomorrow afternoon at Stanford’s Memorial Auditorium, as well as to a contingent of media. And he will do a question-and-answer session with only students.

A temporarily muted BoomTown will be there, so here’s a shameless offer to any hoodie-wearing student: Free latte to anyone who asks Gates about the Yahoo bid.

Actually, we kid. That’s because Gates actually spoke out on the issue yesterday in an interview with Reuters.

While the software giant’s founder and chairman has taken a back seat to CEO Steve Ballmer in the Yahoo bid, Gates wasted no time in tempering expectations if Microsoft (MSFT) failed in its effort to buy Yahoo (YHOO).

Calling the Yahoo offer “very fair”–uh-oh, maybe the $35-per-share offer is not in the mail–Gates insisted the company would continue to invest copiously in search to try to catch rival Google no matter what.

“We can afford to make big investments in the engineering and marketing that needs to get done,” Gates told Reuters. “We will do that with or without Yahoo.”


But Gates also threw Yahoo a tasty compliment, noting: “But we also see that we’d get there faster if the great engineering work that Yahoo has done and the great engineers there were part of the common effort.”

And that’s got to be worth, in the wise words of J. Wellington Wimpy, at least a few samoleans.

(Completely unrelated factoid, except as it pertains to Wimpy: Gates loves hamburgers too, especially In-N-Out Burger, and has been known to seek the chain out when traveling down south of Seattle.)

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work