Unquotable:Bill Gates

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“Eventually, Windows is going to run on all sorts of devices, possibly even computers.”

"Hell, I once shot a man jes' fer callin' Tech Support on a Friday night."
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"See, what this says is that you're the problem, not the software. We found we got fewer support calls this way."
"What can I say? I'm a rebel. Stick it to the man!"

Microsoft founder and chairman Bill Gates is, as some would suggest, a "rich person." That means he has a great deal of money, which he often uses to buy things, such as poor defenseless software companies whose only crime is to compete with Gates' Evil Microsoft Empire. And, since relinquishing the position of CEO and Fucking Killer to Steve Ballmer, Gates has also become an important philanthropist. However, his charitable endeavors, while laudable, have occasionally been branded "self-serving" because they generally involve providing computers running Microsoft products to children in impoverished third-world countries — possibly in an effort to "lock them in" to expensive proprietary solutions when free alternatives are just as easily available.

Spuriously quoting Gates has become a favorite pastime of Linux users and various open-source advocates who, though well-intentioned, might easily find better things to do with their time if they could stop being quite so obsessive about everything.

Gates on Business

  • "Our corporate strategy is the same as it's always been: Our customers are our most important asset. After all, we paid a lot for our customers, so they'll do what we tell them, or else."
  • "I still get half, right?"
  • "The reason American business dominates the world information economy is simply because Americans have the most information. And they've sacrificed a lot to give us all that information — money, privacy, safety, security... It's win-win!"
  • "I've never understood why so many people think large corporations are 'evil.' Certainly we don't all worship Satan or Cthulhu or Dick Cheney... In fact, the latest poll showed that only about 85 percent of corporate executives practiced ritualistic human sacrifice, and most of them only do it on weekends."

Gates on Technology

  • "The future of computing is hard to predict. You have to figure there will be computers around, and people will probably turn them on and off occasionally. Beyond that, we're not really prepared to speculate."
  • "I guess it doesn't matter if it works or not, as long as they keep paying."
  • "Mastering modern technology is relatively simple; there are buttons and switches, and you press the buttons and flip the switches. When you start getting into knobs, though, that's when you start having problems."
  • "DDE will revolutionize the way we work, live, and interact with our applications well into the 21st Century."

Gates on Competitors

  • "Really, if I were a duck, I wouldn't just sit there like that."
  • "How much to make them disappear? Is that all? Do it."
  • "It's vital for any successful business to have a strategy for dealing with competitors. Ours is called 'vaporware.'"
  • "Like my grandfather always said, if you can't beat 'em, make your vertical-monopoly flagship product completely incompatible with 'em."

Gates on Linux Users

  • "I get half of that too, right?"
  • "You say it's free? Well shit, why aren't we using it? Oh."
  • "They're living in the past. Where are the thousand-percent profit margins? The $500 per-seat licenses with 20 percent annual maintenance? How can you possibly run a business without paying for those things?"
  • "Why would you want to buy a computer that's preconfigured with Linux when for only $100 more you could have one that's preconfigured to not work at all?"

Gates on Windows Users

  • "We love our users. Could you pass the salt, Steve? Oh, and Pierre, it looks like this one's still moving."
  • "Our statisticians estimate that quite a lot of people are using Windows, and some of them also have computers."
  • "I do feel some sympathy for people who use Windows, especially those who've been using it for a long time. There were a lot of bugs in Windows 3.x, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows 98SE, Windows 2000, and even in Windows XP. That's why we're going all-out with Windows Vista, to get rid of those bugs and replace them with all-new ones."

Gates on Steve Ballmer

  • "Steve is a good guy to have around, especially when you want to fucking kill someone and you're in a hurry to get somewhere."
  • "I've been friends with Steve Ballmer for a long time, and I can say that Steve treats his friends very well. In most cases he'll even give you a pretty good running start."
  • "Steve's a very serious person. In fact, I had to completely stop telling jokes in his presence after that time I said we should try to kill off competitors while they're still in the womb."

Gates on Apple Computer

  • "Whiners."
  • "What the hell is an 'iPod'? Is that something you put in your eye? Doesn't sound like a money-maker to me."
  • "Of course I own a Macintosh. We write lots of software for the Mac. For a while we even had a couple of guys who wrote software for IBM PC clones, until we fired them for trying to use debuggers."

Gates on the US Department of Justice

  • "Nyah, nyah, nyah."
  • "I've got a lot of respect for people who enforce the law. So much so, in fact, I've decided to move most of our operations to Bangladesh."
  • "It's perfectly obvious that web browsing should be integrated directly into the operating system. Why would anyone want to browse the web without an operating system?"

Gates on the Global Economy

  • "Don't I own that already?"
  • "Outsourcing is too risky, in my opinion. I prefer to just buy the whole country, take whatever's useful, and then turn the rest over to Steve."
  • "I don't see how globalization has changed anything, really. When I insisted on real Florentine marble with gold inlaid filigree for my new Rottweiler pen last month, it was still a big hassle to ship it all the way over from Italy, even with my own personal fleet of cargo planes. Man, that stuff is heavy!"

Gates on Sex

  • "Girls seem to like me more after I tell them I have tens of billions of dollars, as opposed to before I tell them. I don't see why, though - what do they think I'm going to do, leave it all on the dresser just before I walk out of the hotel room?"
  • "I'm waiting until version 3.0 comes out."
  • "As long as I get my half, it's okay with me if people do this sort of thing without a per-seat license."

See also