back to article Bill Gates bans progeny from iPhone Nation

Our hearts go out to little Jennifer, Rory, and Phoebe Gates. Their mom and dad won't let them have an iPod or iPhone. But before you iPhone haters start cheering, we're talking about choice. Shouldn't Bill and Melinda's kids have a say in what digital-music player or texting-about-that-cute-new-kid-in-class device they use? …

COMMENTS

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  1. adnim Silver badge

    I was thinking.

    Perhaps he banned it because it is overpriced, over-hyped bling that attempts to lock the user into a proprietary closed system.

    Oh wait a minute, do his kids run Vista on their PC's?

  2. Andy

    Fair enough

    This is the flip side to being rich – you don't get to use competitors' products, even if they're really great. I can't imagine it really causes them too much pain...

  3. Paul
    Thumb Down

    The Gates Syndrome caused by...

    Viruses, Intruders, Spyware, Trojans & Adware

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    There is no title

    Well color me not shocked at all. His bunch having an iPhone or an iPod is tacit admission (and constant reminder) of his companies failures in those market segments.

    Paris cos even she is smart enough to figure that one out.

  5. b166er
    Coat

    Erm...

    Where I come from bling=chav, so what you're saying to Bill Gates is, go on allow your family to degenerate into a bunch of chavs?

    Noooo nononono, keep your kids well away from the iPied iPiper of iPoddery. The majority of Microsoft's hardware is excellent and extremely reliable, besides there are many alternatives to the Zune.

    I'm now slightly annoyed that your pointless trolling puff-piece has elicited a response.

    Mines the one with the http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/11/01/review_creative_zen_touch/ in the pocket.

  6. kain preacher Silver badge

    this is news why

    I mean that would a marketing execs dream. See even our competition uses our product.

  7. Robert Hill
    Gates Horns

    Well, I suppose...

    _somebody_ has to buy those Windows Mobile HTC phones after all...

    Seriously, it could be worse - at least the little Gates children can always call Daddy and say that they REALLY need a mobile app to keep track of massive collection of toys and small countries recieved as birthday presents, and could he just have a few geeks at the factory knock one out for their Diamond HDs, please? By Friday?

    I mean, how much better is THAT than the AppStore?

    And who needs iTunes when you can have U2 play your birthday party, in your own backyard? And remember, if you HAD an iPhone you couldn't even video the concert on your mobile!

    Somehow, I think the kids are alright...yeah, the kids are alright...

  8. Gordon Crawford

    They are PC

    so may I recommend PC Linux ! IT works and is not um , fruity .

  9. P. Lee Silver badge
    Happy

    His Billiness' worst nightmare!

    Their software and interface is so good, people are willing to pay over the odds for mediocre hardware just to get it.

    It appears that no amount of money can make windows-based gadgets desirable.

    Forget the gadgets, just wait until a rebellious teenager walks into school with a Macbook Air...

  10. Heff
    Coat

    Are you fucking kidding me?

    @ b166er

    "The majority of Microsoft's hardware is excellent and extremely reliable"

    You're having a laugh, arent you? from the 30gig brick zunes to the RRoD-nation of 360 owners, Microsoft has proved they cant make reliable hardware. even on a closed, proprietary system, they still cant make software that reliably works for that system.

    MS owns the OS market for the same reason Intel handed the beatdown to AMD back when AMD was turning out superior hardware ; MS has its hand so far up resellers asses that Dell et al may as well be glove puppets. Dont tell me its due to quality hardware and software, you just sound like a drone doing it.

    as for Bill not letting his kids get iphones, I think thats a pretty shitty thing to do, to take your job home and inflict your work on your children. Grow up, Bill. you have the money. you're the big man, you won already. you won, bill. Dont be a fuckhead to your kids just because the Mighty mighty MS didnt win in the making-a-walkman-mkII war.

    apart from it being a black mark in my mind against him as a father, I really dont think the kids are going to suffer. Im sure they'll cry all the way to the bank.

    Mines the one with the best product in the pocket, regardless of the label on it (oh, Diamond Rio, where art thou....)

  11. WonkoTheSane

    Matriarch?

    Matriarch is a FEMALE leader, surely the author means PATRIARCH?

  12. al
    Paris Hilton

    @wonkothesane

    Matriarch was interned - read the whole article grep for "lusting" to get the context.

    Apple envy was euphemism for err.. banana envy.

    Paris, coz she engulfs anything she envies.

  13. Chris C

    re: Are you fucking kidding me

    "You're having a laugh, arent you? from the 30gig brick zunes to the RRoD-nation of 360 owners, Microsoft has proved they cant make reliable hardware"

    Don't forget the piece-of-shit Microsoft keyboards. The Microsoft Natural Elite (one of the first split-style ergonomic keyboards) was so forward-thinking, they redid the positioning of the arrow keys and the home/end block so that you could no longer hit keys by feel/memory. But hey, at least they had all of the keys, instead of what appears to be the new fad of removing the [INSERT] key entirely from that block.

    Then there's the newer Microsoft Natural Keyboard Pro that I got because I needed a split keyboard with a USB connector. It looked like a good keyboard until I used it. It turns out there are quite a few three-character groupings that you cannot hold down at once. Hold down one or two keys, and there's no problem. Try holding down a third key, and it will refuse to recognize the third key. The combinations I specifically recall are L-I-C, I-N-C, and I-S-C. That was a problem for me because when I type, I'm usually hitting one key before my finger is completely off the previous key (or before the keyboard controller acknowledges the release). As as result, I was constantly misspelling words and had to force myself to slow down (words such as "since", "licensed", "application", etc). I've had other keyboards with similar limitations that I noticed when playing FPS games, but nothing that even came close to the limitations of the Natural Keyboard Pro.

  14. LaeMi Qian Silver badge

    While the iPhone probably isn't bad,

    you can and always have been able to get far better music players than iPods for a good deal less money. You don't get the brand recognition, of course, but P.T Barnum was quite wrong, it is actually several a second.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    Retarding their own kids

    Just for the sake of keeping the monopoly going.

  16. Duncan Hothersall
    Heart

    @ WonkoTheSane

    Except that Billg, the patriarch, didn't express any "Apple envy"; the article quotes Melinda Gates as saying "Every now and then I look at my friends and say, 'Ooh, I wouldn’t mind having that iPhone.'" There's your envious matriarch.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    dogfood

    hey, have we checked up if the messiah of the fruity market does or does not enforce his chums to use or not use fruits?!

    besides, i think we should start bitching & head-fucking the fruit-market for a change. vole is aging, and will probably die before the fruits get saggy.

  18. eek
    Thumb Up

    Read the article...

    @WonkoTheSane

    "Microsoft matriarch suffers Apple envy"

    "But you know she's conflicted when she goes on to say: "Every now and then I look at my friends and say, 'Ooh, I wouldn’t mind having that iPhone.'""

    Notice the use of the word she. I'm pretty sure the author meant exactly what he wrote.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You see..

    "RRoD-nation of 360 owners,"

    If you bother to actually do some reasearch there are a great load of people (myself in cluded) who have never had a RROD issue, the people who seem to get them, seem to get the multiple times!

    Doesn;t this maybe tell you that thees a environmental factor involved, like maybe they are putting it into a area with no airflow then getting in a tiz before it overheats!

    Not saying it doesn;t happen, just saying the problem is made to look worse than it is, same with a lot of ms products due to teh hatred out there for them.

    remember, unhappy people shout load, happy, contented people stay quiet!

    P.S. I own a ps3,360 and a wii before anyone shouts fanboy!

    "as for Bill not letting his kids get iphones, I think thats a pretty shitty thing to do," <-- its a marketing thing, if steve jobs kids used windows pc would cause marketing hell.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Errr Right

    Heff or Hoff who can tell the difference

  21. Paul

    Damn iPods

    Maybe he is saving his children the pain of buying an iPod only to have a new one come out two weeks later and never get bug fixes or software updates.

    Just like my 160Gb iPod. So many annoying issues and not the faintest chance in hell they'll ever bugfix the firmware. That's right, audiobooks, I'm looking at you.

  22. Trygve Henriksen
    Coat

    Thank you BillG...

    For keeping the riff-raff out.

    In fact, if BillG wholeheartedly endorsed a product, I'd probably avoid it as the plague...

    @WonkoTheSane; I think Matriarch fits well. ;-)

    Mine's the one with the 5GB 1Gen iPod and a set of Sennheiser headphones in the pocket.

  23. Neil Greatorex
    Happy

    @Heff

    In the main you are right, however there's something I really must ask:

    Why would Microsoft put their collective hands up an <unspecified number> of Equus Asinas owned by Dell?

    Enquiring minds need to know.

  24. Jessica Werkz

    Why would...

    Why would Gates and family want an overpriced bit of bling like an iPhone or iPod when he could get a superior Nokia or Zune?

  25. Ken Hagan Gold badge
    Coat

    Re: Matriarch?

    "Matriarch is a FEMALE leader, surely the author means PATRIARCH?"

    The envious one is Melinda, and if we assume that Bill is male, then the evidence of the three kids suggests that she is female. However, the author's choice of word here jars with the article's assumption that Bill has imposed the ban on an unwilling family.

  26. Eddie Edwards
    Thumb Up

    Simple answer

    "Shouldn't Bill and Melinda's kids have a say in what digital-music player or texting-about-that-cute-new-kid-in-class device they use?"

    Simple answer: no. What kind of not-having-children-themselves idiot would think they did?

    Complex answer: yes. Of course they have a "say" in it. Which their parents are free to completely ignore as they make the decisions around here.

    Glad to see Bill and Melinda reinforcing the "not while you're living under my roof" policy.

  27. Steve Foster

    @Wonko

    Melinda Gates is the one showing iPhone envy, so Matriarch is correct.

    Or are you suggesting Melinda is really a man? (it doesn't sound like she wears the trousers!)

  28. Ascylto

    The kids ...

    will eventually grow up and they'll be able to buy what THEY want. Then the Gates' are truly fucked.

    Still, at least their kids WILL grow up. Unlike the kids targeted by Planned Parenthood (supported by the Gates' Foundation) ... they won't grow up or even be born!

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Ballmer is hilarious

    What a total and utter twat.

  30. Davey
    Stop

    Aren't they too young?

    His kids are roughly 12, 9 and 6.

    I wouldn't give kids that age a phone or an mp3 player, of any description.

    Why aren't their ages mentioned? Because then this wouldn't be a story, would it?

  31. Adam T

    Re: You see...

    "Not saying it doesn;t happen, just saying the problem is made to look worse than it is, same with a lot of ms products due to teh hatred out there for them."

    Yes, $1 Billion worth of worse than it is? Or are you thinking that's normal on the "Day in the life of AIG" scale?

    Blind Idiot.

    Here, step out of the closet:

    http://criticalstudiesofgames.blogspot.com/2008/06/rrod-cost-microsoft-one-billion.html

    "[Microsoft] relied upon its own processor-architecture knowledge in designing the graphics chip to save "tens of millions of dollars", then went directly to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. to begin immediate production of the 360's GPU. This shortcut proved to be a costly mistake for Microsoft. The faulty GPU ran too hot, warping the motherboards, unseating chips, and disconnecting heat-sinks in the console."

    "While Microsoft initially claimed only 3% of the original wave of consoles suffered from the RRoD, in reality, up to 80% of the 360s from the first production runs fell victim to Microsoft's costly error. "

  32. Sam
    Coat

    Matriarch, Patriarch?

    Surely it should be MICROiarch

  33. Francis Fish
    Happy

    If you sell a product you use that product

    FFS

    How many Merc dealers drive a Volvo? None.

    How many Volvo dealers drive a Merc. None.

    Why do car dealers give their staff nice big discounts?

    Anybody??

    And I regret getting an iPhone.... but stuck with it now ...

    Wouldn't get another one

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I won't allow an XBox in my house

    And my child that wants it is 18.

    Well, he thinks he's funny because what he really wants is me to buy it for him. No chance of that. I'm already paying his tuition at university -- he can spend his own money if he really wants it.

    Oh, and no PS3 either. The PS2 and the Wii are plenty, thank you.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Fair enough...

    because apple products are overpriced crap.

    If one of them ends up turning into an iDiot they might end up spending all of their parents' money on overpriced, underpowered white plastic.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    @P.Lee

    So that is why people are willing to pay over the odds for mediocre hardware just to install an application that allows them to run XP on it?...

    Sure it has nothing to do with the fact that they just want to mark themselves out as the kind of person who is a massive sheep with too much money and knowing nothing about computers then?

  37. Jessica Werkz

    @P.Lee @Anonymous Coward

    "Sure it has nothing to do with the fact that they just want to mark themselves out as the kind of person who is a massive sheep with too much money and knowing nothing about computers then?"

    These desperate arguements are getting more and more pathetic the more popular the eye-fone gets.

  38. Heff
    Go

    replies:

    @ chris C : dont get me started on microsofts keyboards. and as for dicking with the home key block, if I ever lay my hands on the PFY gonk at logitech that thought moving my insert and delete keys around was a good idea, Im gonna cut him in the parking lot.

    @ the Heff/Hoff AC ; you're down to insulting my internet handle? seriously? Good job.

    @NG : I dunno, man. Maybe MS is _really_ pushing for the asiatic market?

    @ Davey : I can see the arguements for not giving your kids unfettered net access or a TV in their room, and to some extent a phone, but 12 years old and no walkman*?

    @ apple haters ; Im not particularly blown away with Apples desktop hardware either (I cant really justify dual-booting either; I'd dualboot for games, and whats the point unless you have a decent GFX card?), but then, having spent a lot of time dicking around with their software, the hardware is'to-task', in that it does whats needed of it.

    *yes, Im still calling them walkmen. its a little device you carry on you that plays music. its a fkin walkman, no matter what silly damned name you give it.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Two points...

    1) the iPod and iPhone are shit - their dad's a techie so he would know this and has therefore made a sensible decision on this basis

    2) as a Microsoft man, the publicity caused by some paparazzo snapping one of his kids using an Apple product would be detrimental to his business, and he has therefore made a sensible decision on this basis

    So this isn't really a story at all is it?

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    @Ascylto

    So you're saying that birth control is a bad thing?

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    @ascylto

    I missed your post earlier. You are a convincing argument for planned parenthood with your attitude of restricting people's freedom of choice.

  42. b166er

    Clarification

    Every piece of Microsoft hardware I've owned has been flawless, including Xbox 360, various MS Mice over the years, MCE Remote, Sidewinder. (never had a Microsoft keyboard, but then I'm a 2 finger typist, but even then I expect they've got a high MTBF per key).

    If what Adam T quotes is correct, then it's hardly Microsoft's fault surely? You design a processor then subcontract that to a massive chip foundry and they fuck it up. At least Microsoft did the honourable thing and replaced them all.

    Did you mean the Rio Karma? Unfortunately, when I picked up the Zen Touch for the knock-down price of £85, the Karma was no longer on sale. I looked at that and the Cowon.

    For the record, Microsoft owns the OS market due to good business acumen and the fact that Apple were too stubborn to reduce the price of the Macintosh accordingly. This is why William Gates III had to allegedly bail them out with large cheques periodically to avoid a dust-up with the Monopolies Commission. The world is yours for the taking, Bill Gates just did exactly that. He's also now benevolent enough to give a lot back to the world.

    http://www.wired.com/gadgets/mac/commentary/cultofmac/2006/01/70072

  43. Paul Bruneau
    Jobs Halo

    Lucky for all of us...

    It's lucky for all of us that he didn't force his "R&D" departments to go without Apple products, else we'd all still be messing around with autoexec.bat instead of getting work done.

  44. Eddy Ito Silver badge
    Gates Halo

    I never would'a thunk it.

    I'm impressed. Finally Bill has his head on straight.

    "Oh, you want an iPud do you? Start a business you lazy punk. Here is a little startup capital in the form of a washer, a dryer and a little soap. I even made a business plan for you that includes protection money to pay the butler to keep the maid off your ass. Now get to work!"

  45. Fubar
    Gates Horns

    @ Francis Fish

    "How many Merc dealers drive a Volvo?"

    You miss the point, it not about Bill buying an ipod. How many Merc dealers kids and Wives drive Mercs? Seems you think its 100%.

    @AC 13:01

    "I won't allow an XBox in my house ..

    And my child that wants it is 18."

    18 year old aka an adult, bet life is a barrel of laughs round your house.

    PS my xbox is off with M$ after falling pray to RRoD, just like the other 80% of owners.

  46. kain preacher Silver badge

    @ascylto

    Still, at least their kids WILL grow up. Unlike the kids targeted by Planned Parenthood (supported by the Gates' Foundation) ... they won't grow up or even be born!

    So what do you propose to do with these unwanted kids. are you willing to adopt them ?? Does your concern stops once the child is born ?

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    Maybe he's banned those items

    and a lot more because he wants his kids to be literate, critical thinkers, and most of all, not dependent on non-critical technology.

  48. Ascylto

    @kain preacher and @AC

    No, voluntary family planning is fine by me ... I'm talking about the One Child policy in China with forced surgical contraception and abortion which removes the rights of the putative parents and denies children the right to have a brother or sister at the behest of the state. Also, Planned Parenthood's origins are in Eugenics ... originally to erase black people from the planet. Gates' father was an avowed eugenicist (as was a certain Mr A Hitler).

  49. edwardecl

    Overpriced

    Yeah the iPods nad iPhones are overpriced for their spec, like Bill says it's the software that makes the products what they are. Not only the software but the overall design as well.

    Apple products do well because they are better than anything else on sale, sure there are players and phones that offer more features and higher specifications, but usually they are poorly designed in some way.

    As for forcing your own products on your children, thats just dumb. It's not as if he is short of money. I guess he dosn't own anything made by sony either, and does he check devices before he buys them incase they run Linux? I know my toshiba TV runs a linux kernel so is that off his list too? Then again I do doubt he has a TomTom LOL.

  50. N1AK

    Xbox RRoD

    My 360 is 2 years old and works fine, I know over a dozen who haven't returned 360s because of RRoD. I know two people who have, one broke it themselves then intentionally made it RRoD to get it replaced and the other used the thing on a nice deep carpet. Now anecdotal evidence doesn't prove a whole hell of a lot but I really don't think failure rates are near what some people say they are.

  51. Dave

    Bill himself

    As I recall, at least in the older days, Bill himself was fairly famous for using a Mac as his own personal computer. Still MS Office of course, but still sounds like double standards to me.

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ moron - i mean Fubar

    "PS my xbox is off with M$ after falling pray to RRoD, just like the other 80% of owners."

    Err well done for misreading figures, its not 80% of owners that would have meant in a one month peroid when they sold 310,000 units in the us, about 248000 would also have been returned for errors in the us that month.

    NO business, even ms could handle that level of returns, so quote better figures please k thnx.

    It was "apparently" (although there are lots of other studies out there that quote lower figures) 80% of the INITIAL RUN, but again, doesn't take into affect people who crammed them into small spaces, agreivating the factor by providing no ventalation.

    Also @ Adam T

    "Yes, $1 Billion worth of worse than it is? Or are you thinking that's normal on the "Day in the life of AIG" scale?

    Blind Idiot."

    I think your the blind one here, he quotes "RRoD, in reality, up to 80% of the 360s from the first production runs fell victim to Microsoft's costly error" but doesn't actually provide any EVIDENCE to prove his point. I can say that 90% of the people in the world can fly by flapping there arms but it doesn't prove its real. All we can see is a anti ms stance in the article as it also critizes the business practices. So well done for proving my previous point about MS haters!

    Again, not saying it doesn't happen, but have a fair few mates with 360's a few with ps3's and a couple with WII's as well. The ONLY 360's that have failed from my group was the modded ones,a failed wii and a ps3 in need of a restore for some reason.

  53. kain preacher Silver badge

    @Ascylto

    I'm talking about the One Child policy in China with forced surgical contraception and abortion which removes the rights of the putative parents and denies children the right to have a brother or sister at the behest of the state.

    That's no what you said

    Also, Planned Parenthood's origins are in Eugenics ... originally to erase black people from the plane

    Show me proof and not from some Christian web site either .

  54. Ascylto

    @kain preacher

    You're right, I didn't say that. But more importantly I didn't say what you presumed me to say ... in other words, I don't fit into the box you have prepared and labelled for me.

    I have no intention on showing you proof and furthermore I don't frequent Christian websites. As a matter of fact I am not a religionist of any description. Do your own research.

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @Jessica Werkz

    So the brand recognition / peer pressure issue becomes more laughable as the number of people who have iPhones etc goes up?

    Nope, that's not how it works Jessica.

    And if BillG allowed his kids to use Apple products it would be a horrendous marketing problem. Unless they found how to Windows Mobile on the iPhone and XP onto the MacBook

  56. Jim

    @Steve Foster

    "Posted Tuesday 3rd March 2009 10:05 GMT

    Melinda Gates is the one showing iPhone envy, so Matriarch is correct.

    Or are you suggesting Melinda is really a man? (it doesn't sound like she wears the trousers!)"

    From Merriam-Webster

    "Matriarch: a woman who rules or dominates a family, group, or state ; specifically : a mother who is head and ruler of her family and descendants". Or to put it another way, in a matriarchal social system, "SHE wears the trousers".

    So do you still perceive the orginal use of the term in the article to be correct? Or was it just a bit of poetic license?

  57. !Fred
    Gates Horns

    Re: ‘Bill Gates bans progeny from iPhone Nation'

    In other news, Apple report a record month of sales for iPhones and iPods

    --

    !Fred

  58. Simon Waddington

    Chest hair?

    At first when I read the last bit, I thought it said, "luminous CHEST hair that falls freely to her shoulders". Wow, that's some gal

  59. kain preacher Silver badge

    @Ascylto

    Planned Parenthood's origins are in Eugenics ... originally to erase black people from the planet

    Try again . Eugenics was about people under a certain IQ, not race base. I read exactly what you said. I didn't twist any thing to fit it into a box. You made a statement. I called you on it and then you try to back pedal by saying you meant some thing else when that clearly not what you typed .

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