Arise Mr Gates
January 26, 2004 3:38 AM   Subscribe

Bill Gates to receive honorary Knighthood. Apparently for his contribution to enterprise in the UK and charity work. He will not be able to use the title "Sir" but will be entitled to put the letters KBE after his name
posted by MintSauce (30 comments total)
The full title is Knight Commander o'th'Empire and L33t hAXx0r of the Commonw3alth.

As the greatest philathropist of all time he certainly deserves recognition, even if it is of an amusingly archaic nature.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 4:05 AM on January 26, 2004

Even aside from the enormous harm he has done by his predatory practices and the extortion he commits on Universities and (which go a very long way to erase any 'good' he may do later), he hardly qualifies as the greatest philathropist of all time when each dollar is trumpeted with an 8 page press release and every tax break is exploited.
posted by RavinDave at 4:48 AM on January 26, 2004

Seeing as he's giving away 95% of his wealth, any tax breaks seem a bit irrelevant. I'd rather the money went to combat malaria than to the Bush administration. Even if you think he's harmed the computer industry, you can surely see that his saving of lives worldwide is more important, press releases or not.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 4:59 AM on January 26, 2004

KBE means "Knight Commander, The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire", although I do wonder if he's going to be able to sell the title on eBay along with his EverQuest Gold Bars.
posted by seanyboy at 5:05 AM on January 26, 2004

In the past, I've compared it to frat rats who act like asshats for 364 days of the year -- then hold a canned food drive for orphans and expect people to marvel at their altruism. And the harm he's done runs much deeper than the computer inductry, btw.
posted by RavinDave at 5:13 AM on January 26, 2004

frat rats who act like asshats
Dr... Dr Seuss... Is that you?
posted by seanyboy at 5:23 AM on January 26, 2004

does this mean that, from now on, millions of angry Microsoft users will be able to officially consider themselves "royally fucked"?
posted by matteo at 5:24 AM on January 26, 2004

KBE means "Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire" - at least that's what Liz thought she was handing to Giuliani in 2002.

By the way, the 'the magic words "Arise, Sir -"' are fictitious (third para from bottom).
posted by daveg at 5:26 AM on January 26, 2004

No... They have to consider themselves "Fucked by Royal Appointment." There's a difference.
posted by seanyboy at 5:26 AM on January 26, 2004

Ending malaria my arse, this is about the huge pots of cash he's thrown at Cambridge University.
posted by biffa at 5:30 AM on January 26, 2004

daveg: Google agrees with you. I wonder what the history is there?
posted by seanyboy at 5:34 AM on January 26, 2004

I definitely remember when he was the richest man in the world AND hardly a contributor to charity - not the best public image for that anti-trust trial thingy he had in ... could it be 1999?

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was set up in 2000.


Knight my arse, lizzie.
posted by magullo at 5:47 AM on January 26, 2004

It's probably not worth getting worked up over really. This means nothing at the best of times, but when you are already the richest man in the world, it's hardly going to open any more doors for you.
posted by chill at 6:09 AM on January 26, 2004

It just better be legitimate, because if it's not he's fucked once he tries to upgrade to Bill Gates KBE-SP1.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:14 AM on January 26, 2004

It's an unpopular opinion, but I sincerely doubt we'd have the level of computer usage we have today without the efforts of Bill Gates, for better or for worse.
posted by SiW at 8:29 AM on January 26, 2004

oh noes!!!11 teh gate$ is evil!

sure, he's donated millions upon millions to help educate children, address the Malaria/AIDS/Schistosomiasis/etc. problems in Africa and other troubled countries, and helped provide internet access to Native American sites and Mexican residents...

but he made our computers bad!

posted by lotsofno at 8:33 AM on January 26, 2004

SiW; not so much unpopular as unprovable -- there are such a dumbfounding number of factors involved in such what-if-he-had-never-been scenarios that such speculation is meaningless.

But the most obvious take is that if he hadn't been around, IBM would have sourced their OS in some other way, and someone else would have had the chance that Gates got. Gates is notable more for his incredibile ability to exploit opportunity than for any substantial contribution to uptake, usability or what he is pleased to call "innovation". Certainly MS was a very reluctant latecomer to the Internet party -- Gates either didn't get it, or more likely, saw it as a threat to MSN. Either way, I don't think we owe him a damn thing. For what he's "given" us (and vanishingly little of it is unique or original), we've paid very, very handsomely, and still do every day, and there's no evidence at all that someone else couldn't have done it at least as well.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:14 AM on January 26, 2004

teh gates is a sniveling attention sponge. "i'm going to end spam within two years". yeah - right after he walks on water (WOW 2.0).
posted by quonsar at 10:32 AM on January 26, 2004

I think SiW is referring to the Microsoft Flight Simulator. That's probably the only killer application MS ever made themselves. People were actually buying PCs so that they could play that game.
posted by ikalliom at 11:25 AM on January 26, 2004

For those who doubt he's evil keep in mind he stole most of the money he is giving away by illegally operating and expanding a monopoly.

As to where we'd be if he wasn't around I have no doubt it would be a better place. Bill and Microsoft's anticompetive behaviour have done way more to harm personal computing than help. It's not like there was any lack of 8086/8088 operating systems in 1980, many were less busted than DOS. The IBM PC would have gone ahead even if it meant running CP/M or something home brewed by IBM.
posted by Mitheral at 11:39 AM on January 26, 2004

Can we now make Clive Sinclair a Lord to compensate?
posted by kerplunk at 12:02 PM on January 26, 2004

In related news, Bill Gates held a press conference to disclose that his life, hereto not enriched by royal titles, has finally got meaning. He will henceforth dedicate his life to helping the poor, er, write secure software.

posted by madman at 12:27 PM on January 26, 2004

I hate their software, but I do consider Microsoft to have been a necessary evil. Like IBM used to be, and look at them now.

Oh, and being a brit, Uncle Clive already gets to be Sir Clive Sinclair, and thus infinitely cooler than plain old Bill Gates KBE, who, to the uninformed, doesn't sound much different to my old boss, Jez San OBE.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 12:45 PM on January 26, 2004

MS didn't create Flight Simulator; they bought it.
posted by NortonDC at 12:49 PM on January 26, 2004

Yep. Bruce Artwick originally wrote it for the Apple II and published it through his company, SubLOGIC.
posted by kindall at 1:10 PM on January 26, 2004

All Americans who bow to be knighted by the monarch of Great Britain are traitors to the revolution.
posted by jamsterdam at 1:24 PM on January 26, 2004

I stand corrected. Maybe the reference was to MS Bob, then. I can't think of anything else.

Nevertheless, I tend to think that the computer world ruled by Microsoft is a better place than one ruled by Apple. Call it a gut feeling.
posted by ikalliom at 2:35 PM on January 26, 2004

able to officially consider themselves "royally fucked"?
[Thom bows to matteo]
posted by thomcatspike at 4:41 PM on January 26, 2004

I tend to think that the computer world ruled by Microsoft is a better place than one ruled by Apple.

Fortunately there is a 'neither' option.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 5:22 PM on January 26, 2004

I propose we give the world computer crown to a triumverate consisting of Linus, Theo, and Bruce.
posted by Mitheral at 9:30 AM on January 27, 2004

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