back to article Philanthropist and ex-Microsoft manager Melinda Gates and her husband Bill split after 27 years of marriage

Bill Gates has announced his marriage has suffered a BSoD – the Blue Screen of Divorce – after 27 years with his partner Melinda. "After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have decided to end our marriage," Gates said in a statement. "Over the last 27 years we have raised three incredible …

  1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge


    Looks like you are filing for divorce - let me help you with that!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Clippy!

      Or he caught her with a Mac ?

      1. aqk

        Re: Clippy! And a Mac?


        A BIG MAC!

        No filet'o'fish for her anymore....

    2. macjules

      Re: Clippy!

      Apple Watch seems to be going the way of Clippy. Constant bombardments with messages like, "It looks like you are walking, would you like some help with that?"

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Clippy!

        I find the condescending crap after you wash your hands particularly irritating.

        My son has expressed an interest in it, as soon as we can travel again he can have it. I've not experienced much added value to my life from the watch, I'll return to something normal.

        1. macjules

          Re: Clippy!

          Indeed. An app to tell you to keep washing your hands for 20 seconds. I wonder how we ever manage to evolve from apes without an AppleWatch to guide us.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Clippy!


            We evolved from apes? Did we really?


            And the app only reminds you to wash your hands for 20 seconds when it detects you are actually washing you hands. Perhaps you would prefer people to wash their hands for a second or 2 and maybe spread the virus?

            1. TRT Silver badge

              Re: Clippy!

              Well, a common ancestor to both. However we still quite haven't evolved from picking nits off each other.

            2. Naselus

              Re: Clippy!

              "We evolved from apes? Did we really?"

              Yes, we did. All Hominins are part of the Hominidae family, which contains all humans and the other apes So literally every human ancestor in the last 10 million years or so has indeed been an ape..

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Clippy!

                As far as I can tell, some indeed managed to get through all that time without evolving..

            3. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse

              Re: Clippy!

              "And the app only reminds you to wash your hands for 20 seconds when it detects you are actually washing you hands."

              If that is the sort of thing you need to be reminded of, when you are actually doing the thing you are being reminded about - then you do truly need all the help you can get.

          2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Clippy!

            "I wonder how we ever manage to evolve from apes without an AppleWatch to guide us."

            Hey! Don't diss the master! Digital watches were a pretty neat idea :-)

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Clippy!

            I don't have a problem with the time as such, it's the "well done" shite in all its forms that comes afterwards.

            I'm not an American, I don't need compliments from an appliance. That comes from the same source as f*ckwit designers putting beepers in washing machines and microwaves that then continue to bleep every minute until you switch them off. For a microwave, OK, maybe the fist two minutes as a warning that things might be hot (although that too is 'duh' level stupid) but then continue to beep?

            Anyone who comes up with ideas like that ought to be shipped to a desert island with only a spork for company.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Clippy!

              "[...] maybe the fist two minutes as a warning that things might be hot [...]"

              It's the opposite. If you don't register the "finished" beeps when multi-tasking - then whatever is in the microwave can cool to the point of needing reheating. Another reminder at least once soon after will be useful.

              It's like the doorbell - the first ring that interrupts your concentration is a "was that the bell?" moment. A repeat assures you it is. The human alarm cognition seems to be geared to needing a repeat to grab your undivided attention.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Clippy!

                The human alarm cognition seems to be geared to needing a repeat to grab your undivided attention.

                If I ever get hold of a designer who came up with that idea I can assure you that my education will be alarmingly repetitive too.

                And percussive.

  2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    Warren Buffett...

    This announcement follows on the same day that Warren Buffett names Greg Abel as his replacement as CEO of Berkshire Hathaway. Guess that would leave him more time to disperse both his fortune and also that which he has been entrusted with, including that of Bill and Melinda Gates...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Warren Buffett...

      Anybody else think Greg Abel looks like Steve Ballmer?

      I hope it's just superficial!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Warren Buffett...


        No I don't

  3. Teejay

    Can we just drop the 'philanthropist' from all of journalism, please? Not just for Bill Gates, for all of them? Who decides who is a 'friend of humans'? The rich guy? Are others not 'friends of humans'? It's become a self-appraisal-mechanism of the ultra-rich who can afford to pay PR-companies to soup up their image. And, yes, this also applies to the other great self-appointed philanthropist of our time, George Soros. Guardian readers may shudder at even the thought.

    1. John Robson Silver badge

      I think committing to, and following through with, giving away most of their (not inconsiderable) financial wealth is as close as we are likely to see to philanthropy is the modern greed and celebrity culture we inhabit.

      Of course it’s relatively easy to give away the vast majority when even the small minority that is left is a fortune that would be hard for anyone to spend faster than it accrued interest.

    2. Arbuthnot the Magnificent

      I'd be the last one to thank Gates for the atrocities he's perpetrated on the world of computing but absolute fair play to him for the work he's done since he left Microshaft. I don't know what you've got against the word "philanthropist" (apart from it being hard to spell) but it seems to me to be a pretty good term for someone with millions in the bank who is trying to spend it to improve the lot of their fellows rather than just spaffing it on yachts and Bolivian marching powder.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Giving away money doesn't make society richer. It's a transfer of wealth, not a creation of wealth.

        Society isn't improved by transferring money by itself. It can be improved by things working more/more efficiently, and getting more done. It's more of a vote on what you want more of.

        Giving away money to ___ is paying for there to be more ___ than not ___ things. [Insert a group* (of people, etc...) to fill in the ___.] Is more ___ in society what you want? Note: Leaving money in bank is paying for more bank.

        Actually working and being productive is what improves society.

        *examples: Blacks, Whites, Asians, Disabled, Sick, Healthy, Poor, Wealthy, Robotic, etc...

        :( I can think of interpretations of this that I didn't mean, not sure how to say it better right now.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Don't be mean

          Think about the mode.

          Or to spell it out, wealth concentrated in the hands of the few doesn't benefit mankind if vast numbers are in poverty.

        2. Anonymous Coward

          Giving away money

          Giving away money to research and treatment for polio is paying for there to be less polio. If you've ever known anyone who had polio (I am just old enough to remember people who had had it, in the UK, my mother remembers people actually getting it) you will certainly agree that 'less polio' improves society.

          1. MarkTriumphant

            Re: Giving away money

            My mother had it, and me not having it is a definite improvement.

      2. Blakey

        He's not "trying to improve the world". The foundation (a) does not draw from their own wealth but rather from the proceeds of an endowment they settled on it years ago, it's a major investment fund that contributes to a lot of the problems it claims to fix by participating in the very financial processes that cause poverty in the global south, and (b) is, in reality, the method by which he influences world politics. It's very much his way or the highway. As an example, trying to eliminate diseases like malaria involves, by definition, putting resources into wholly extinguishing it in areas where it's already scarce, which is the least efficient way to actually save lives - but if you are a poor African nation either you send your money in that.very inefficient way and help Gates with his ego-driven goal of ending malaria, or you don't get access to some of the wealth that he made selling software that ran on computers whose owners could only afford them because the minerals were all-but-stolen from poor African countries.

        He's also much admired for spending on education but there's been at least one instance of him saying he knows how to educate better than the experts, so this poor nation has to implement his educational plan if they want to get the money, then several years later, much money spent by the country he was helping (remember, he's not just telling them how to spend the grant, which would be bad enough, but also how they need to spend their own money if they want the grant) and millions of children "educated", the whole thing was quietly abandoned when it was discovered that no, coding a few pieces of software 40 years ago then abusing various financial regulations to amass so much wealth that you personally could end world hunger and it wouldn't affect your standard of living at all does not in fact equip you to know better than the experts how to educate a nation's children.

        And sure, maybe it's better than if he kept it all. If someone only killed one person it'd be better than if they killed ten. This is not how he "helps the world". It's how he uses a small fraction of his wealth that has been set aside in an investment fund for years now (afaik he hasn't settled any further endowments on the foundation since establishing it) to exercise global influence and launder his reputation. The simple fact of one person having tens or hundreds of billions of dollars is wholly indefensible, especially in a world with looming climate disaster and widespread poverty, and doubly so when the wealth of these goons comes from the brutal extractive economic relationships that Gates and people like him have fostered with the global south and that are largely responsible for the problems he claims to be fixing.

        It's all even more morally bankrupt than the already extremely shady and disturbing nature of his rise to prominence. There's a couple of rather good episodes of the citations needed podcast that is fully researched and goes into the disturbing nature of billionaire philanthropy and the way it's one big sham that both benefits the philanthropists, reinforces the systems that enrich them and extract wealth from the global south, and is a way for the ultra wealthy to exercise political control.

        Episode 45: The Not-So-Benevolent Billionaire: Bill Gates and Western Media

        Episode 46: The Not-So-Benevolent Billionaire, Part II - Bill Gates in Africa

        1. Teejay

          Thanks for the podcast links. Unfortunately, most people aren't interested in details.

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          "It's very much his way or the highway."

          I suppose it might be a way of ensuring the money's spent on what it's supposed to be spent on. So easy for one of a head of government's numerous partners to get ideas about gold wallpaper otherwise.

    3. Filippo Silver badge

      Although the etymology of "philantropist" is "friend of humans", in current usage (i.e. the last several centuries at least) the word does not quite mean literally that.


    4. Anonymous Coward

      Well, first of all stop with the linguistic fundamentalism already. Words mean what people collectively decide they mean, not what they once meant in some other language. Wikipedia has 'Philanthropy consists of "private initiatives, for the public good, focusing on quality of life". [...] A person who practices philanthropy is a philanthropist.', and I think that's a fine definition of the term.

      So, are Bill & Melinda Gates philanthropists? Although, as someone else pointed out simply giving away money isn't sufficient to do good, it is necessary. If, say, you want to deal with uncontrolled population increase you really do need to spend a lot of money on both contraception and education (or you could start a cult which preaches that sex is bad, which also costs a huge amount of money and we also tried this for a little while and it doesn't work). Or you could spend it on sofas, in which case you'd not be a philanthropist at all.

      So, well, are they giving away a lot of money in absolute terms? Yes. Are they giving away a higher proportion of their wealth than most people? Yes. Is that money being used effectively? Well, I'll take almost eliminating polio, working hard on malaria and all the other stuff the foundation does, so yes again.

      Does that make them philanthropists? Yes, it does. Does it make you, or I, not philanthropists? No. We just don't get articles written about us.

      1. John Robson Silver badge

        "Are they giving away a higher proportion of their wealth than most people? Yes"

        That's not necessarily a good measure (though it is an easy one). You could easily say that they are not sacrificing anything to give that money away, there is simply no way to spend it fast enough.

        Not to ignore the spectacular amount of good they are doing for the world (see my previous post), but it's far easier to give 50% of a million pound annual income than it is to give 50% of a ten thousand pound annual income, simply because you need to eat, and that costs some finite amount of money, and there are limits to how high that amount can reasonably be, but there is relatively little wriggle room when you are already eating economically.

    5. Cynic_999

      Gates is by no means exceptional. Lots of people occasionally donate 0.01% of their savings to charity.

      1. Persona Silver badge

        I believe he has donated $45 billion. That's considerably more than 0.01% of his fortune.

        1. Blakey

          That sounds more like the amount spent by the foundation, which isn't just a bank account he transfers money into - it's an investment fund.

          So first it invests in the stock market, which given the state of the world economy is driven by extractive relations with the poor countries and populations he claims to be helping, then it spends the proceeds of that investment on laundering Bill's reputation and bullying those poor people into spending their money the way he says is best. I believe the actual endowment was on the order of hundreds of millions, at a time when he was worth tens of billions.

          Even if he had given away 45b directly, it still wouldn't in the least affect his standard of living. He hasn't earned that money, no one can, it's a ridiculous amount to be owned by one family and it's absolutely crazy that we collectively allow certain individuals to enjoy so much wealth that they could end world hunger forever without even noticing a change in their personal standard of living rather than taking that excess - you know, leaving them with that level of money beyond which their lifestyle is utterly unaffected - and say, ending world hunger. Or trying to save the literal billions of people who are currently endangered by climate change.

          But no, all that wealth is theirs because they were the bastards who were greedy and rapacious and unscrupulous enough to exploit, extract, cheat and murder-by-degrees their way to tens of billions of dollars in personal wealth. It's fucking revolting, it's backed up by nothing more or less than everyone agreeing that they can have all that simply because they say it's theirs, and it's going to kill billions. The fact that they are willing to condescend to spend a small fraction of their wealth to make themselves look good and treat the poorer parts of the world like their own personal plaything isn't actually especially admirable. All this extreme wealth in the hands of a few billionaires is the very reason for much of the poverty they claim to fight, anyway.

          1. Naselus

            The Gates' have given about $36 billion into the endowment. Which is a very significant fraction of their personal wealth. Warren Buffet has also contributed about $30 billion to it.

            The foundation has spent about $55 billion on it's various projects, and has about $40 billion in assets.

            We can debate whether people owning tens of billions of dollars is a good thing or not (I tend to think the existence of billionaires suggests your economy doesn't work right, for much the same reason large pools of stagnant water collecting in our house means that your plumbing isn't working right), but regardless of what it says about society as a whole, there's little doubt that the Gates have given a lot of money to it, and that it has done a great deal of good in combatting several extremely awful diseases.

    6. Wyrdness

      In addition to the comments above, I can't see anywhere in the article where Bill Gates is referred to as a philanthropist.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  4. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    Bill, Melinda and Bob too

    "Well, there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bill, Melinda and Bob too

      @Fruit and Nuitcase

      It is in Wikipedia?

      Must be true then.

      And I am not sure whether to forgive you or not for the following reason. Whenever I read your handle I get an ear worm of THAT Cadbury advert.

    2. Dave559 Silver badge

      Re: Bill, Melinda and Bob too

      That Bob sure gets around. Wasn't he up to no good with Rita and Sue too? ;-)

  5. Bubba Von Braun

    And Bob leaves with Mom

    Well seems Melinda can finally get sole custody of Bob..Bill gets Clippy, Bill also has indicated he doesn't want visitation rights for Bob.


    ps: Rumor has it there is a land fill in Hanford WA, that contains all the unsold copies of Bob. EPA spokesman predict they will remain radioactive for the next million years or so..

  6. Howard Sway Silver badge

    Embrace, Extend, Extinguish.....

    But enough about the story of Bill's marriage anyway...

  7. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    Irreconcilable Differences?

    Did Melinda wipe Windows and install Linux?

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Irreconcilable Differences?

      They employed someone to wipe their windows, surely!

      1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

        Re: Irreconcilable Differences?

        They most certainly would have. And paid for it themselves, and not asked a politician to pick up the tab

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: Irreconcilable Differences?

          Are you sure? Those there wallpapers can be expensive!

    2. Lars Silver badge

      Re: Irreconcilable Differences?

      "Did Melinda wipe Windows and install Linux".

      No according to Tox News she simply refuses to take Bill's tracking device in her Covid vaccine and decided to leave.

  8. swm

    It is always sad when a couple breaks up after a long marriage. I wish them both happiness in the future.

    1. alain williams Silver badge

      break up after a long marriage

      I divorced 25 years ago and the fall out is still badly affecting us, especially the kids.

      Although I did not like how he went about business I will remain tight lipped and not make flippant comments about their divorce - they are entitled to a private life.

      All that I will say is to wish them the best, hoping for as little emotional bruising as possible.

      I would not wish divorce on my worst enemy.

      1. Agamemnon

        Re: break up after a long marriage

        I've been through a few breakups and you sir are Correct.

        It's Rough.

        Separating, bazillions or not in play it's personalities.

        I live in Redmond. I can walk to Xadadu2 [Bellevue not Redmond] for kicks before the sun goes down.

        I'm actually stunned.

        Breakups suck and I... Wish both of them Well.

        People grow and move.... Ideally Forward.

        Bill and I have been a few rounds in business, internet, etc. Came to my desk at WiReD to apologize (with a security team to keep me from beating him with a 2x4)

        Dunno what his home situation is. It's really none of our business.

        I walk by the Foundation at least once a month. I take the bus to Seattle and pass their home.

        People are folk and like the test of us have Issues.

        I was in LA when Arnie got busted for screwing the maid.


        People are people and we fuck up and are stupid.

        This seems a pleasant disconnect.

        No scandal! That's new.

        1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

          Re: break up after a long marriage

          Indeed. As an divorcee I can confirm that it ain't fun, even without children to complicate the matter.

          But it remains a personal matter that shouldn't be spread out over the gossip columns, and I wish them both the best.

          1. don't you hate it when you lose your account

            Re: break up after a long marriage

            I don't even think this is news worthy, my divorce wasn't as most aren't. What I do know is they have done great work with their ludicrous fortune. They put the vast majority of corporate social irresponsibility to shame.

      2. TRT Silver badge

        Re: break up after a long marriage

        Yep. Been there, done that. Long drawn out divorce due to limited finances - just left things in abeyance and half finished for far too long, but it worked out OK in the end. We can still talk without tearing holes, not that that was my style anyway which is in part why the marriage broke down. Tried to minimise the amount of asset lost in the "friction" of fitting sandpaper lawyers to the process. Still lost in excess of £5k from the kitty on legal expenses. Didn't cost that much to get married in the first place!

        1. GloriousVictoryForThePeople

          Re: break up after a long marriage

          > Didn't cost that much to get married in the first place!

          Marriage is a loss leader for the legal profession...

      3. Lars Silver badge

        Re: break up after a long marriage

        A divorce can also be the best and only solution.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: break up after a long marriage

        Well you know, they're not all bad. I also went through a divorce: I didn't want to do it, I didn't instigate it and it pretty-much destroyed me at the time. But since then, my world has improved immeasurably and I honestly think it was one of the most positive changes in my whole life. You just gotta get the f*ck on with doing your thing.

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: break up after a long marriage

        "I would not wish divorce on my worst enemy."

        Me neither, that's why we're still married.

    2. ICL1900-G3

      Thank you for saying that. My thoughts exactly. No matter how rich, they are bound to experience some sadness. There are many worse people in the world than them.

  9. Phones Sheridan Silver badge

    Mrs Merton said it best...

    What first attracted you to millionaire Bill Gates?

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Re: Mrs Merton said it best...


      What first attracted you to billionaire Melinda Gates?

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Mrs Merton said it best...

        At the time the joke was, "Melinda isn't coming to work today - she called in rich"

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Mrs Merton said it best...

      No it was actually "What first attracted you to millionaire Paul Daniels?"

  10. mevets

    Monday announcement....

    So no patch (up) Tuesday?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who fucking cares? The piece of news seems to be in every website today, on top. The guy is just a founder of a company who sells a piece of crap os and some other software.

    1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

      This article's about "Philanthropist and ex-Microsoft manager Melinda Gates"

    2. StargateSg7

      That Windows OS is NOT a piece of crap software --- LINUX is a piece of obtuse unusable CRAP-load of coding bilge! And I've got over a 100+ OS'es to play around here with and I like Windows 10 Enterprise and NextStep the best in terms of speed and ability to get things done!

      For command line work, VAX VMS just kills everything else even today in 2021!

      For the Esoteric stuff I still even like GEM (Graphics Environment Manager) on the old ATARI ST machines! AWESOME OS and Also IBM's WARP4 (I still run that one at home for my fancy older gear!)


      Anyways, in terms of Bill and Melinda Gates relationship, ANYBODY who has a few billion dollars will be pulled, left, right and centre from all parts of the world and by MANY corporate agencies and media enterprises which will strain and damage almost EVERY marriage!

      The ONLY reason guys get married anyways is to get some kids on a legitimate basis.

      Once the hot and sexy robots that look like "Number Six" (aka Tricia Helfer actress playing female human-looking CYLON robot on Battlestar Galactica Reimagined), humanity is TOAST cuz many if not most nerdy and beta guys will go for the hot sexbots. Mating with a hottie and REALISTIC looking/acting bot will be every wet dream of the average nerd and beta guy. Even a built-in artificial womb is not out of the question for the "Hot Bots". I give humanity another 20 years before A.I. and realistic human-looking and passable feeling robotics becomes easy enough to build that a $10,000 USD price point is probably where the market will explode!

      I have to say this, but when that happens, many if not MOST women will be relegated to buying their own male sexbots or just have to make do without human males as sex and/or life partners!

      CHEAP and Super-Sexy A.I. robots are humanity's DOOOOOOOOM !!!!!!!


      1. mevets

        This is cool.

        You need to set this to some cheesy loop with a chorus of "all your flames are belong to us" or something.

      2. bigphil9009

        How's your open source GaAs AI-busting super-chip coming on buddy? I thought it was ready for release last year?

        Or was it just a massive pile of hooey, like all of your boasts?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          bigphil9009>>>Or was it just a massive pile of hooey, like all of your boasts?

          That's rhetorical, right?

      3. My-Handle Silver badge

        "The ONLY reason guys get married anyways is to get some kids on a legitimate basis."

        I wouldn't presume to know how all men work if I were you. If humankind were so simple that they could be described in a sentence or two, life would be a hell of a lot easier.

        To counter your specific point, I know of many men who are married and yet have no children (by their own choice). I also know of many people who have had children without being married (some in stable relationships, some not).

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Or had children with other people's wives.....?

      4. heyrick Silver badge

        "I still even like GEM (Graphics Environment Manager) on the old ATARI ST machines!"


        "The ONLY reason guys get married anyways is to get some kids on a legitimate basis."

        So... Is this amanfrommars1 impersonating a troll, or a troll impersonating amanfrommars1?

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          >So... Is this amanfrommars1 impersonating a troll, or a troll impersonating amanfrommars1?

          A question philosophers have wrestled with through the ages

    3. AndrueC Silver badge

      The guy is just a founder of a company who sells a piece of crap os and some other software.

      If Windows is 'a piece of crap os' what do you call a 'competing' os that has failed to usurp it in its primary market place?

      "In the area of desktop and laptop computers, Microsoft Windows is the most commonly installed OS, at approximately between 77% and 87.8% globally. Apple's macOS accounts for approximately 9.6–13%, Google's Chrome OS is up to 6% (in the US) and other Linux distributions are at around 2%"

      A 'piece of crap' has nearly 90% of the market, Linux has 8%. The job of an OS is to provide services and it's clear that Windows is providing services to far, far, far more people than Linux. Measure by what it achieves not what your friends in the ivory tower think.

      Even in the server market Windows still has a very healthy share and is continuing to give Linux a run for its money despite Linux being (sort of) free and Windows very much not.

      It's only really the mobile market where Windows could be said to have failed.

      There are many, many things wrong with Windows. It gets up my nose every day (that and Visual Studio) and Linux is technically superior. But calling Windows 'a piece of crap' is silly and demonstrably wrong. Operating systems and software exist to do a job and it's obvious that Windows and its software stack has been doing the job well enough to remain a dominant force.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "A 'piece of crap' has nearly 90% of the market, Linux has 8%."

        Which is not surprising after decades of strong-arming manufacturers to pre-load it onto just about every PC on the planet except for Macs. Even a laptop bought without Windows comes with an un-activated copy of Windows on it.

        By your argument a diet of burgers and Coke must be one of the best humanity could subsist on.

        Don't confuse heavy marketing with excellence of product.

        1. Fr. Ted Crilly Bronze badge

          Or familiarity with quality for that matter...

      2. Peter Gathercole Silver badge


        Well, some of the behaviors of Microsoft are significant reasons why Windows is the dominant desktop OS.

        Quite often, it is not the OS itself that is the reason for desktop deployment, but the required applications that run on the OS.

        Microsoft have made it difficult or impossible for Linux on the desktop to take off by having a stranglehold on Office Application, email servers (not clients), and some other highly influential applications.

        You may counter that Office365 is a way that Microsoft is relaxing their control, but the recent shift in default fonts is likely to extend their dominance of making Windows the best choice of desktop OS, by making documents appear different when written/viewed on other OSes. And I think that the recent move to include the ability of Windows to run Linux binaries is a cynical move to undermine Linux both in server and on the desktop.

        I have been using Linux as my daily OS of choice for over 10 years now, relegating Windows to being fired up when there is no other way of doing things (for example, updating the firmware on some devices is a Windows only operation, or interacting with some of my work clients systems), but I can use web based mail clients, and I don't exchange that many complex documents with other people. It is possible, but somethines Windows just cannot be avoided.

      3. khjohansen

        "a piece of crap.."

        VHS - your move

      4. DevOpsTimothyC

        Lies damn lies and statistics

        You're quoting the stats in the same way people quote benchmarks. While the numbers are probably correct most people stopped thinking about laptop's and desktops a decade ago.

        A significant amount of what businesses do these days are done on phones, tablets and servers. The phone and tablets are iOS and Android. If yo ulook at the server side of things most places quote 85-93% are Linux.

        If you switch to education you can add chromebooks to the mix with 50-60% of the market.

        Yes Windows is is most corporate locations but that is primarily driven by Word, Excel and Outlook which have to run on Windows. Yes there are OSX ports, but they are often at feature parity with the previous version.

    4. James Anderson

      It matters a great deal to millions of people in the third world.

      The B & M G foundation has been extraordinarily effective compared with government aid programs and most NGOs.

      Eradicating polio and hopefully doing the same for malaria save thousands of lives and gives millions of people a chance to escape poverty and lead healthy productive lives.

      The OS just gets crappier -- but hey people still buy it.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        but hey people are still given little choice but to buy it


    5. Pirate Dave Silver badge

      Tsk, tsk. Windows may be hot garbage, but VB6 has revolutionized business computing for generations to come. ;)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        LOL, you're just trying to start a new debate.

        Nice one :)

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    At least they didn't piss away the cash on football clubs and vanity space projects..

    1. Qarumba

      Re: Jeeez....

      I'll give you the football clubs but 'vanity space projects'? To me that really is helping the human race achieve our destiny which certainly shouldn't be, glued to planet earth for the rest of eternity.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Jeeez....

        Beardy Branson is reaching for the stars...?

        1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

          Re: Jeeez....

          At the February 2016 rollout for SpaceShipTwo in Mojave, a reporter asked Branson about Virgin Galactic’s longer-term ambitions. Branson said that flying people to space was “pretty cool”, but, “Once you’ve got people into space, why shouldn’t we have point-to-point travel at tremendous speeds? And why shouldn’t we go on creating an orbital vehicle? We will start to do that. I just had a meeting with a senator, talking about asteroids. And they asked, ‘Can Virgin Galactic come up with ideas to try to remove giant asteroids coming toward the Earth?’ We’ll have a look at that. And, ‘Could Virgin Galactic help sort out the debris in space?’ We’ll have a look at that, too. And once all that’s sorted we’d like to join the race for deep-space exploration.”

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Jeeez....

        Laudible though that aim is, the rather more earth-bound elimination of Polio is more impressive.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    27 years is an astonishing run. I go into that excruciating mindlessly-congratulatory mode when I come across those who've spent the greater part with the same partner, though its not quite as insipid as celebrating people for still being alive or 'royal'. Subconsciously I'm sure its because I couldn't do it.

    I - and the kind I (and they) fall for - want the affair, not the marriage. The whole point, of the whole thing, is raising kids; and that is typically how long marriages last - to which one might add that evolutionarily-speaking the kids are 'raised' when they're old enough raise their own. There's a silly little phase that shows us we really are organic machines directed by hormones to the extent of being unable to live without someone a few years on we'll wonder what we saw in - though the fucking was good! - then the cohabiting stage that, never having succeeded at, would be a bit rich for me to prognosticate on. But its probably about the ability to compromise. Just as there are some women who don't bond with their offspring, there are we dysfunctional types who can't seem to compromise enough to complete the process that's the only thing we're here for.

    Maybe its laudable to have made at least one other person happy - to not be entirely selfish; to do 'good'. And a woman doesn't have to have children: there's no shortage of cats in need of sublimation!

    Anyway it seems 'love' lasts about the no. of years required to raise the kids to nest-leaving time, and beyond that couples stay together because they're used to each other; which might be construed as having been worn down to timidity/ being in a rut, and actually its an act of wisdom to amicably separate, to 'move on' without the justification of manufactured hate. I would fall in love with someone who could do that, to be that centered.

    And perhaps the greatest good is equitable redistribution of wealth; which requires that first you get it. I'm typing this in Windows 8.1, which with Classic Shell, Ribbon Disabler, and a reg file to remove the NameSpace entries handy, is an acceptable Windows 7 replacement, and is gratifyingly solid enough that I can do such a long post without half-expecting it to crash and lose it. How Bill Gates' Microsoft got here is questionable only in the sense that American business is questionable, in a nation that has always looked like the more successful legitimization of Organized Crime (having dethroned the British Empire) - although China may be taking the No.1 spot now. I have wished for him to speak out against Windows 10 and supposed that his silence implied being content with the money still rolling in; but even the el Reg commentariat has Windows 10 apologists, so maybe even that serves the wealth redistribution greater good?

    Well, real life is shades of grey. But if splitting up after 27 years is traumatic it's because change is, but done right its refreshing, and these two obvious humanitarians look like they're doing it right. Something else I've no experience of is being a billionaire, but I'm sure its a great teacher if you're willing to learn.

    Also its a refreshing way to join the 27 club.

  14. Auntie Dickspray

    Marry the Rich and Ditch

    Let's boil it down:

    1. He's like a cat-encumbered, recycled-fabric-wrapped old woman on the brink of dotage, which sounds like dot Net's aftermath.

    2. She's maxed out on marry-ugly-but-rich, having gotten fat, bitchier, and, after Mrs. Bezos's bailing, prone to impatient watch-gazing.

    3. Their litter didn't produce any tycoons, Einsteins, or contagious family warmth.

    4. Apparently out of a sense of duty (read: avoiding minors/money legal entanglements), the marriage was prolonged just long enough to see the offspring to the threshold of adulthood.

    Finally, let's make the connection so far unstated, by asking: Why is Calibri coincidentally being replaced just now?

    "The Enquirer" math:

    1. "Calibri" was imposed in 2007, as a sudden, unnecessary, crap replacement for Times New Roman.

    2. Why that odd name? "Calibri" = "Cr" + "alibi"...a shortening of "crap alibi." Bill's penance and reminder of an indiscretion.

    3. Now that the duo is splitting, "Calibri" is just as quickly going away.

    You're welcome.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Marry the Rich and Ditch

      Shame because Melinda says great things about you.

    2. My-Handle Silver badge

      Re: Marry the Rich and Ditch

      "Let's boil it down"

      That's not boiling it down, that's burning it to the bottom of the pan, scraping it up, throwing in a bunch of irrelevant and ageing ingredients from the fridge to try and cover the mess you made, burning it again, then throwing it inaccurately into a bowl and shoving it out the serving hatch.

  15. luis river

    Sad Breaking-off

    I wish sincerely than Melinda how Bill, both will be always happy on new era life, and their philanthropy work, to continue with effectiveness and common sense demonstrate until now. Good Luck !!!

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Re: Sad Breaking-off

      Divorces never fix problems, they just change them ... I hope that they both move on to a happier world and remain friends - I expect that life has been stressful (just watch the comments here to see why) and that life will be better for them now.

  16. Potemkine! Silver badge

    Just because he's jealous of Bezos and want to have the most expensive divorce ever... Ha, these rich people, they really have an impressive ego.

  17. wolfetone Silver badge

    Melinda will be entitled to a good chunk of BIll's fortune, given that Microsoft was her pet name for Billy.

  18. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    When I read about people raising "incredible children" I wonder why they didn't raise them to tell the truth.

  19. Archivist

    New models

    I guess they are both thinking of a newer model, who will love them for themselves, not for the money.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    it looks, at first sight, as though the couple are treating this as an amicable divorce.

    I'm really sympathizing, here, and hope to heck this is no PR but the truth.

    I know by experience how rare is an amicable divorce. Even the rarer, the more money is on the table.

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: it looks, at first sight, as though the couple are treating this as an amicable divorce.

      Must be true. If you listen closely, you can hear the sound of the world's top lawyers screaming as they die.

  21. xyz Silver badge


    After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have decided to end our marriage," Gates said

    Sounds like most MS projects

  22. JDX Gold badge


    I don't know why when divorces are two a penny, but this one makes me glum. To have made it this far, and Bill seems a pretty decent guy in his older age (I don't know anything about Melinda), I guess it just came out of the blue from what seemed a very settled family.

    Oh well.

  23. Cederic Silver badge

    Record settlement

    I dislike the description of the split of the Bezos family wealth as a 'settlement'.

    They married. They agreed to share everything. When they divorced, they agreed to split what they'd previous shared. Technically his share of that split was a higher 'settlement' than hers, so describing hers as a record is wrong even if you don't look at anybody else's divorce.

    Whatever the split agreed by the Gates (or their appointed legal representatives) it won't be a settlement. It'll be a split of family assets.

    As for amicable, it's very possible that they've been planning this for a few years and waiting for their youngest to reach adulthood before disrupting the family. That may mean it is indeed amicable, or conversely it may mean that one of them has been waiting to avoid child support costs before ditching the other.

    We'll probably never know. I'm fine with that.

    1. katrinab Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Record settlement

      I don't know about Washington State, US; but in England we had this thing called the Married Women's Property Act in 1882 which recognised that married women could own property in their own right separately from the marital assets. That law didn't apply in Scotland, because they already recognised this concept. So certainly in England, if you have a situation where money or other assets that were formerly in the name of the ex-husband go to the ex-wife, it is a settlement and not a split. It can go the other way as well of course, but that is far less common.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Record settlement

        looks like asymmetrical law to me.

        EU rules demand every partner has the same right.

        France banned such law back in 2004 if I recall. Back then, the wife had more rights than the husband.

        Terrible dramas happened due to this.

        1. Lars Silver badge

          Re: Record settlement

          "EU rules demand every partner has the same right.".

          Link to that claim please.

  24. tetsuoii

    Do you think Bill wants to do some philandering on his own, or is Belinda longing for Megahard ?

  25. Why Not?

    The Gate's foundation is doing wonderful things. People keep buying windows or at least office.

    Some geek has made billions legally , married an intelligent and beautiful woman then raised kids with a sense of humour ('Sadly it did NOT implant my genius father into my brain.'). Then they together donated massive amounts of money and skill (otherwise like with our foreign aid the princes would just buy nicer cars while their people starve) to solving the worlds problems. That needs respect.

    Solving Polio, Malaria, Sanitation , birth control, education, environmental issues what's not to like?

    Good luck Mr & soon to be ex Mrs Gates hope it goes well!

    All I can see is jealousy.

    I started with DOS3 and windows 3.0 competing with Novell, SCO, AIX , OS2 , CPM etc. back in the early 90s Strangely windows won, Microsoft did bundle windows with many OEM PCs then, their competitors could have done it but preferred to charge a weeks wages per install instead .

    Why did windows win? Because not only was it easier to use it also was much cheaper with NT3.51 you could have a server and workstation in one for the same cost as just a Novell license.

    Think of it this way if Microsoft hadn't won and we had gone with UNIX every part of the O/S would be an extra and starting prices would be £1000 per desktop.

    I remember Wordperfect and lotus 123 being market leaders Microsoft out developed them, Lotus Notes was crushed by a far easier but less technically advanced (at the time) Exchange.

    1. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: The Gate's foundation is doing wonderful things. People keep buying windows or at least office.

      FreeBSD would still have happened. The GNU Project and Linux would still have happened. And without Microsoft, one or both of them would be far more popular than they are at the moment. Windows is certainly not the market leader in the server space these days, though maybe it is in some specific server areas such as email.

  26. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    Divorce! Divorce! Divorce!

    Not now Steve. Go play with your basketball team

  27. Mike Friedman

    Melinda Gates has still not appropriately apologized to the world for Microsoft Bob.


    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Cut her some slack - after all, she did keep Bill preoccupied for over 27 years. Then again, by taking a back seat all those years ago, it did mean inflecting Steve Ballmer on us

  28. aldolo

    all in all he will leave a visible mark on earth

    whatever you think about him

  29. Anne Hunny Mouse

    Good luck to both of them.

    Wondered if they tried:

    Restarting their marriage.

    Seeing if there are any updates for marriage.

    Installing the latest feature update for marriage....

  30. confused and dazed

    Good Luck

    Seems to me that they've left the world a better place than they found it.

    In the end that's all anyone can hope for

    all this OS vitriol get's on my wick

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