back to article Ms. Gates: 'Bill does not use a Mac'

Bill's better half, Melinda Gates, is no fan of Apple's magical and revolutionary tablet. "Of course not," Ms. Gates told The New York Times when asked if she owned an iPad. There's no love for Apple products at Chez Portes. When asked about the persistent urban myth that her hubby uses an Apple laptop, the co-chairwoman of …


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  1. Ned Ludd


    Bill hasn't used a Mac since he switched to Linux last summer.

  2. mittfh

    What do you expect her to say?

    "Actually, all the kids have iPods - it's really revolutionised their music listening. They never go anywhere without a fully charged iPhone, and they can't wait to get their hands on an iPad! Bill wouldn't dream of using anything other than an iMac to surf the 'net in his free time!"

    Pull the other one - of course the Gates clan aren't going to endorse their main rivals - in much the same way as you'd never catch Steve Jobs claiming he owns a Windoze PC or an XBox. Why is this even considered news?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Main rivals?

      Don't forget that the MBU makes a lot of money for MS.

      And didn't Steve own a ThinkPad?

    2. Wize

      And in other news

      Pope is catholic.

      Bears shit in the woods.

      Cheryl Cole mimes.

    3. No, I will not fix your computer

      Main Rivals?

      With the Windows flavours around 90% and MacOS/iOS/Linux making up the other 10%, even the "evil" Vista is 3x more popular than OSX not sure if "main rival" is really appropriate when there really isn't any competition.

      Besides if she wanted to put "spin" on it she would have said, "We don't restrict our children at all, if they want an iWhatever that can have an iWhatever, we think children should be able to make their own choices even if it's a mistake and they end up with an inferior product to a Microsoft one".

      While it isn't news it does give a credibility to iWhatever products that isn't there, besides, my Galaxy is better for me than an iPhone, my Zen Vision was better than an iPod and my Vista Business does everything I need (and my hacked 32Gb iPod mini running Linux still rocks).

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Elephant buns

    Does Clive Sinclair use a Commodore 64?

    1. lpopman

      titular musings

      Or more appropriately, Does Clive Sinclair use a BBC Micro?

  4. Rob Moir

    Why is this even newsworthy?

    I await your shocking revelation that Steve Jobs doesn't use a PC and a Zune. And that Larry Ellinson doesn't use MS SQL Server to run his business databases.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. Jimmy Floyd


    Well it's nice to see a bit of brand loyalty for the old joint, but the only way the Gatess would have said any different would have been if Bill and Microsoft had parted company on bad terms.

    What we now know for certain is: they didn't.

  6. Raumkraut

    Can I get a Backflip, mommy?

    Are Android devices not allowed past their Gates either, I wonder?

    1. Code Monkey

      Linux is a cancer?

      OK I know that wasn't billg but I bet whoever it was that did say it didn't earn a public bollocking the next morning.

  7. Magnus_Pym

    Pity the kids

    That's pretty much how Bill treated us all when he had the power to do so.

  8. RichyS

    Won't somebody please think of the children...

    Those poor children are going to get mercilessly bullied at school. Nothing gets you a wedgie faster than whipping out your Zune.

    1. bobbles31

      I am pretty sure....

      that bullying is probably something that the Gates kids don't worry about on a daily basis.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    To be fair to the Gate's

    The iPods were / are pretty run of the mill, average quality, nothing special devices. they were lucky in putting the after-thought of the dock connector, which 3rd parties pounced on.

    Similar thing happened with the Atari ST and it's MIDI ports, after all, how many Amiga's were found in recording studios?

  10. Michael MacAskill
    Gates Horns


    Think that Vogue article was actually from 2009. In 2003, the iPhone didn't yet exist. But maybe the Tardis is allowed to cross the Gates' threshold.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    What a waste of time!

    Even if he did own any non-MS kit, he's highly unlikely to admit to it in public and he would never admit someone else's product is better than his. Very few kit makers are going to open admit they can't do any better!

    1. Ted Treen
      Jobs Halo

      To be fair to the Iveses & Jobses...

      "run of the mill, average quality, nothing special devices. they were lucky ..."

      With sales now heading towards 300,000,000 (three hundred million), just think what they could have achieved had they produced something special...

      I really wish I could invent, develop & market something so equally un-special

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        Quality product does not always equate to popular product.

        Something that came up in Private Eye a while back:

        The Sun - 3 million copies sold per issue

        Private eye - 210000 per issue

        Which one is of a higher quality?

        Also, possibly more applicable here:

        Windows 90% of the desktop market (possibly more)

        Linux 5% (possibly less)

        Which do you think is felt to be a more quality product by many commentators here?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Avoid the OS angle, keep it simple

          Spice Girls vs Anyone Else

          X Factor vs Any TV Program

          Harry Potter vs A Book


    2. Code Monkey

      I wouldn't trust MS Tardis

      It'd just take you back to the really shitty part of the 70s (i.e. most of it).

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Hi! It appears that you are attempting to travel in both space and time!

        Would you like some help?

    3. Rob Dobs

      ipod not iphone

      Maybe they edited post comment, but the article discusses the ipod (which has been around a while longer than the iphone

      1. Michael MacAskill

        iPod and iPhone

        The 2003 date was changed in the article, but it has always said: " iPods and iPhones are two things we don't get for our kids"

    4. Jean-Luc Silver badge
      IT Angle

      myself, I've always wondered about...

      what kind of cars the top honchos @ Chevrolet drive. A Cobalt?

  12. envmod


    what a ridiculous thing to be defensive about - whether there are apple products in your house or not because your husband is chairman of microsoft. so what? maybe he wants to check out how they perform against his products? in fact, i'd be worried if he didn't have a few apple things knocking about simply for evaluation if nothing else. silly woman doesn't know what the fuck she's talking about.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    The Right thing(tm)

    I don't blame them. Apple products are for people who put style over substance and I wouldn't raise my kids this way either.

    Fanboi howls in 3...2...1... ->

    1. ThomH Silver badge

      Like the scroll wheel?

      Apple's idea of style: being able to navigate lists quickly and easily. The contemporaneous competitors: having to press a discrete button once for each list item, to navigate gigabytes of music. Even up to and including the original Zune, which has discrete push buttons but designed to look a bit like a scroll wheel to the unwary. Which definitely isn't style over substance, honest.

      I don't really see how Apple can come off worse in a Microsoft versus Apple debate. Even the least generous commentator would surely say they're as bad as each other?

      Ms Gates should have just feigned ignorance or made some sort of comment that the issue had never really come up. She should be arguing that Apple are completely irrelevant in order to convey the necessary confidence.

      1. Rob Dobs
        Thumb Down

        hear hear

        I will claim least generous commentator when discussing either of these companies, and yes I will certainly agree with you, they are as bad as each other.... surely such an commonly expected opinion should show that wise people would avoid doing business with either company.

      2. Mark 65

        I'll concede

        that the scroll wheel is one thing that makes a hell of a difference. Otherwise my little Sony player shits on the ipod for sound quality and uses drag-drop updating. Still, as someone posted, quality doesn't get the most sales.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Wow. It sounds like fanboi-ism, but I think it's worse: it's fear.

    What's pathetic about it is the degree of paranoia and insecurity that it reveals. If ever there was a clear confession that Apple products are pretty good, it's that Gates (apparently) won't allow his kids to use them and compare them to Daddy's toys. It's shameful, too, that he's stunting their minds by forcing them to use one single interface and one single set of products -- monocultures dull the brain.

    Just wait until they get to college and have access to all the stuff that Papa & Mama wouldn't let them use!

  15. Wyrdness


    FTA: Back in March 2003, she told Vogue: "There are very few things that are on the banned list in our household...But iPods and iPhones are two things we don't get for our kids."

    Since the iPhone wasn't launched until 2007, Mrs Gates is showing incredible foresight here, or else she has some inside knowledge of Apple's future product line. You'd have thought that she'd have informed Ballmer, so that the WIndows Phone 7 development could have started earlier. Or perhaps she did and it's taken them that long to not-quite catch up.

  16. HolyMackerelBatman
    Gates Horns

    What's the point in being so stubborn?

    If your competitor makes a great product, look at what it does well and improve on that. Microsoft is not going to reinvent anything on its own any time soon.

    1. ThomH Silver badge

      She did tell Ballmer

      He immediately set his best writers to work. You don't think you can come up with "(laughs) it costs how much? And it doesn't have a keyboard, so it doesn't appeal to business users." just off the cuff, do you? They were in a room for over two years trying to decide what number of times to say 'developers' to achieve maximum impact.

    2. vegister

      dunno where they got 2003 from

      it was March 2009

    3. DrunkJunkie


      So whats iOS?

      1. Goat Jam

        Don't you know?

        iOS is an OS for mobile devices and as such it is one of many. If you don't want to use it then by all means buy another product, there are tonnes to choose from out there.

        Apple does not bully all phone manufacturers into using it thereby removing all consumer choice.

        If they did that they would create an iOS phone monoculture.

        I'm sure that we can all agree that this would be bad for businesses and consumers around the world.

        Choice is a good thing.

        We can see the end results from when such monocultures evolve when we look at what has happened to the PC market and its Windows monoculture.

        The PC market is a stagnant, user hostile place that has achieved few of the lofty ideals that were imagined during the 80's under the stewardship of Microsoft.

  17. Anonymous Coward

    Mrs. Gates...

    Also known as the brainchild behind Microsoft Bob and Clippy.

    'Nuff said.

  18. Anonymous Coward


    Stupid woman. Cutting, nose, face and spite spring to mind.

  19. Miek

    a tit is required

    aawwww punishing their kids to make a point, way to go!

  20. SmallYellowFuzzyDuck, how pweety!

    Title goes here

    Well why bother with Apple products when hubby can bring home Microsoft stuff from work for free! Gotta watch those pennies dontchaknow?

    Those poor children, they must be the most unfashionable kids in the playground when it comes to gadget ownership.

  21. Code Monkey

    Pity the litte Gateses

    All that money and you have to settle for a Zune!

  22. Seanie Ryan

    perhaps M$ should consult her for innovation

    "Back in March 2003, she told Vogue: "There are very few things that are on the banned list in our household...But iPods and iPhones are two things we don't get for our kids.""

    She knew about the iPhone, 4 years before it launched !!

    1. Paul 4

      Gadget ownership?

      There dad is the king of nerds. Apple products are least of there worries, and anyway "i don't have an iPod but I have a badass gameing rig and an xBox in every room and access to a jet" won't cause to many problems.

      1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    2. MrXavia

      Or are they the coolest? Prototypes!!

      I know if I had access to the lastest of everything, I'd ensure my kids had the best of everything, iphone? bah it doesn't even have 3g video calling! nor does android at default (galaxy s does) but my old trusty win mobile does!

    3. James O'Shea Silver badge

      Bad idea

      Remember, Melinda is the person who was responsible for Microsoft Bob.. For those who don't remember it (and you don't know how lucky you are) it was sort of the Win95 equivalent of the Kin cellphone. Only worse. Much worse. See <> for more. It made #7 on the PC World list of the 25 worst tech products of all time. Windows ME made #4. I'd have switched their positions. It should be noted that MSIE v6 made #8.

      And, oh, yes... just to make things complete: it should also be noted that Comic Sans was developed, produced, and intended for MS Bob. Yes, Melinda is responsible for Comic Sans.

      The world does not need any further innovation from Melinda Gates.

    4. TimeMaster T

      But ...

      At least now we someone who actually owns a Zune, all three of them.

      Mines the one with the Sansa MP3 player clipped to the lapel.

    5. Neill Mitchell

      Who needs an iPod?

      When they probably get the real bands to follow them around.

      1. Code Monkey

        I'd prefer an MP3 player

        Seriously. I like Sabbath but no way do I want Ozzy in my house.

  23. beefiron

    She must really hate iPhones...

    ...what with banning them three years before they were launched.

    Back in March 2003, she told Vogue: "There are very few things that are on the banned list in our household...But iPods and iPhones are two things we don't get for our kids."

  24. Badwolf

    Abort / Retry / Fail

    "There's nothing that the iPod does that I say, 'Oh, wow, I don't think we can do that.'"

    Apart from being a massive success of course

  25. TheOtherHobbbes


    "She must really hate iPhones... what with banning them three years before they were launched."

    That's the Gates household for you - visionary and prescient to the last.

    Apple fanbois will be laughing out of the other side of their antennae when Gates reveals the historic world-beating meta-uber-product that is currently incubating in a secret underground lab at Gates Towers.

    The wilful crappiness of the Zune and the rest were just a decoy to lull world+dog into a false sense of security.

    Mark my words, doubters - when the Gatesotron announces time travel or anti-gravity or a cure for Larry Ellison or whatevs, you'll all be eating digital crow pie.

    1. Ted Treen

      Whilst I've upvoted you...

      ...I can't help wondering if it's a secret underground lab, how come you know that it exists, and you know what's going on there...

      Unless your name's "Igor"...

      and you started work for Mr Gates' grandpappy...

      and you had a hunch....

      Now I WILL get my coat!

  26. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Rob Dobs


      so I really agree with the cockalorum depiction of Jobs and think your observation about his desire to replace Bill on the rich list is really his own measure of success.

      I take great objection and offense to your statement about Gates, that:

      "he is without a doubt the most succesful(sic) person in the history of the IT industry"

      I could not disagree with this more. If you insert the word "financially" in front of successful then maybe it is partially true but otherwise no. I don't equate theft, bullying, spying, strongarm tactics etc to be success. I do believe he made a lot of money, but at the GREAT expense of the US, and the entire IT community. He was such an unsuccessful person at the realm of IT in general that his products set us all back by decades. And not just by they their own inherent suckiness, his practices of absorbing and illegal anti-competitive practices actually robbed the markets of competing better products, and retarded development and progress for IT in general. Don't forget Gates snookered his own friend to buy DOS, then sell it to IBM. The one contribution that everyone can agree Gates made to DOS was the 640k Memory limitation to DOS at the time.

      Oh and if Bill keeps giving like he has in the past (and not continue riding his one-time massive Bill and melinda foundation donation) - then Jobs has a chance of catching him on the rich list, but as you described, he will know that Bill's charity is the only reason, and the victory will be a very bitter tasting one I am sure.

      His one saving grace, despite all the malignant crap that bill unleashed on the IT world, he was somewhere in his core a geek who wanted to liked. i think that all his charity work is very self-serving, but hey its the one non-evil thing about him...after all is it so wrong to want to be loved? (don't laugh, he is a human being somewhere in there. Ok laugh if you must, but then at least read the last line in a good Jon Lovits doing harvey finestein voice)

      1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  27. Anonymous Coward

    Why would they have an iPad/Phone/Pod

    Zune is better at music and movies than iPod isn't it?

    UK has been long starved of Zune on the PC, now it's on XBOX and PC here, it's way better than iTunes.

    Possibly a case of betamax vs VHS, iPxxx is the defact standard now, shame.

    1. whiteafrican


      Couldn't agree more. Zune is a far superior music service to iTunes.

      - Zune Pass (annual subscription) costs £7.50 per month, allows you full access (in an all-you-can-eat model) to more music than you can shake a stick at, and lets you permanently keep 10 tracks a month. It's so satisfying to find an album in the Zune Marketplace, and just drag it to my Phone, and let it download the whole thing to my phone for no extra cost.

      - On iTunes, those same 10 tracks would cost £7.90, and you would get nothing extra at all...

  28. Magnus_Pym

    With their money...

    ... their kids probably have the actual bands follow them round school all day for when they want to hear some music.

    1. Steven Walker

      The Queen

      This reminds me of the old story about the Queen asking Prince William what he wanted for Christmas. He replied that he would like an iPod. "What is that?" asked the Queen" William explained that it was a device that enabled him to have all his favourite music with him at any time wherever he went. "Oh" said the Queen, "do you mean a Scottish pipe band?"

  29. JayB

    How stupid are some people?

    Come off it folks, I'm with the second post here. What is she going to say "Actually we've all got iPhones and IPods"? I can see that going down stunningly well with Bill and the Boys!!!! Let's just hand a howlingly huge PR coup to Uncle Steve of the Apple!!!

    Don't be so bloody silly.

    The kids probably DO have iPods, but Microsoft cannot afford them to admit it. This is Big Business boys and girls, not Cecil the Carpenter vs Bob the friggin Builder. So quit with this "it's disgusting they're depriving the kids" crap, wipe your mouth of foam and get back to trying to figure out why you bought your iPad.

    Ok, I feel better for that rant... just not a lot.

  30. petur

    RE: scrollwheel

    If the scrollwheel was soooo much better, then where is it now, huh? Right...

    And you like to misrepresent facts: you don't need to press a button for every item, how about holding it down until it scrolls into view. Takes less effort than moving your thumb around a circle like an iDIOT.

    Lots of Apple 'inventions' are so hyped up nobody dares to quietsion if they really are that great at all. I absolutely hate pinch-to-zoom and using touch to rotate. I mean, how many useful zoom and rotation settings are there. Not much. So I'd rather just double-tap the portion I want to zoom in, and have it done for me (hint: works when using device with one hand!).

    Wake me up when they 'invent' something that isn't 99% marketing hype

    1. ThomH Silver badge

      At present...

      ... the scroll wheel is on the iPod Classic, the only remaining non-touchscreen iPod. I suggest you reconsider how well you understand the extraordinarily simple concept of progress. Your argument is as valid as "if the audio tape is so much more portable than the vinyl record then where is it now?", "if Netscape was so much better than Mosaic then where is it now?", "if 405-line television is so much better than 30-line television then were is it now?", etc.

  31. CynicalOptimist
    Gates Horns


    "There's nothing that the iPod does that I say, 'Oh, wow, I don't think we can do that.'"

    This is a particularly meaningless statement. Essentially Apple did the hard work in terms of functionality, usability, style etc. and then Bill Gates said "yeah, we could copy that". Well done Microsoft, except that your attempt was poor.

  32. 45RPM Silver badge

    Lesson 1 in encouraging rebellion…

    …tell your kids they can't have something.

    Seriously. If you tell a kid (actually, this works with adults too) that they can't have something, they'll only want it more. And if the thing that is denied to them is cool and sexy, and the sanctioned alternative is slight naff rubbish that can't handle leap years - well, you're just undermining your own authority.

  33. Charles Calthrop
    Gates Halo

    I bet they have done much more good than any negative poster on here

    I really respect them for all the good they are trying to do with their foundation. To me, this is much more worthy than whether they like macs or not. Cue a load of comments like 'they are only giving away money they stole from their evil monopoly'

    1. ThomH Silver badge

      You're completely right

      The amount of good they've already done far outweighs all the bad, even taking the case against them at its strongest. The programmes they've heavily contributed to funding have saved lives; as far as I'm aware the Microsoft business practices have never cost any.

  34. The BigYin

    Flippin' heck!

    Just how expensive have Macs become when not even the Gates can afford one‽

  35. J 3

    I can see it now...

    The kids, hiding their iPods under the mattress... Mrs. Gates knocking on the bathroom door for the 7th time:

    Mrs. Gates: "why is it taking you so long in there!?"

    Lil' Gates: "Nothing, Mom, er... just washing my hair!"

    Mrs. Gates: "Do you have an Apple in there, don't you!? Come out here, let me see your hands!"

    LG: "No, Mom, NO! I hate you! This is not fair!!!!!"

    (note the FIVE exclamation marks)

  36. Levente Szileszky

    "we know how well it went" - Zune, the *other* (X360 the first one) successful MS product?

    Seriously, among consumer electronics product by MS X360 is wildly successful vs Zune HD just mildly but still...

  37. Anonymous Coward

    Bill gates kids start at new school

    Cool kid: "Hi new kid, what's your name?"

    New kid: "Erm, spawn of satan"

    Cool kid: "Ha haaaaa, betcha got a Zune, loser!"

    Cool kid: Twack, right in the guts New Kid

    New kid falls to floor clutching belly and invokes Beelzebub, as the daemon owes Bill a favour...

    Beelzebub towers over Cool kid, wearing a black sweater & blue jeans.

    Cool kid: "Er hi big guy, my Dad told me all about you! , you want to be my friend?"

    Beelzebub: "You got an iPad?"

    Cool kid: "Uh huh!"

    Beelzebub: "Your going far sonny, lets talk..."

  38. billy-rubin

    Don't Do "Apple" PSA


    SCENE: Teenager's bedroom. Bill Gates enters and is holding a small "stash" box full of electronic ephemera.

    Bill G: I found these in your bedroom: an iPhone, an iPad, and OS X install CDs. You know this is verboten! Who showed you how to do this!?!? Come on! Answer me! Who showed you?!?!?

    Bill Jr: You, Dad! I learned from watching you, Dad!

    Voice over guy's voice: Have you talked to your kids about "Apple" or its street name, "Cider", or has your teen been asked if he's "holding any Johnny Appleseed"? Its the newest thing your kids are hooked on. Even Bill Gates is not immune!


  39. Ascylto
    Big Brother


    I wonder ...

    Do they ever have 'Monkey Boy' around to dinner?

  40. Zane
    Gates Horns

    Poor Mum and Dad

    Ah I never though about this - of course what nowadays no kid can live without is an iPod - my elder kids already have one, and now the youngest has start complaining. Walkman, MP3 players - that was a long time ago. Nonono nowadays it must be an iPod.

    And while my wife and I are rather strict (and restricting) with lots of things, iPod is one of those must-haves. To forbid your kid to own an iPod - that's really like never ever buying them any ice-cream.

    Just imagining how Bill and Melinda again and again are suffering by their own principles makes my day - this is the best possible punishment for those on the evil side of software development.

  41. g e

    What we really wanna know

    Is why 'Ms' Gates not 'Mrs'

    Is she divorced or does it mean 'Microsoft' ?

  42. Andus McCoatover

    Don't get it..

    Can I write documents/use spreadsheets/browse the web/get my mail??

    Does it effing matter if I want to use Windows/Mac/Linux? If I can do any of those, do I fuc*king care?

    That's why corporates are using XP still. It does the jobs (?) they need, on legacy hardware.

    "User Experience" as I've seen it so far is how much the users' wallet suffers when she/he gets the bloody thing.

    I think that's possibly where they all lost the plot.

    Just an opinion by a luser, but - us lusers buy the damn things.

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