I had to ask myself this very question once. You see, we, the Microsoft Interns, all got to meet Bill Gates, at a barbeque at his house on Puget Sound. It was the subject of many emails... What should we ask Bill Gates? What should you ask Microsoft?

Many people tried dumb things as listed in the node above, and he handled them superbly, making the asker look dumb. People who threatened, accused, etc, different things about the company's history and practices, and he defended them expertly.

One person decided to ask:

"What are you going to do when StarOffice puts you out of business, since it is free and all?"

He answered that by saying how Office was a more developed tool, and that knowledge workers (businesses) are willing to pay more for that developed and refined tool. Basically made his accusations and antics look downright dumb.

Other famous questions that have been asked at billg's house:*
  • Boxer's or Briefs?
  • Why does Windows crash so often
  • How well do you know Ballmer?
  • What was the last thing you coded? (one of mine)

Every year recently, someone asks Bill something about Pirates of the Silicon Valley, and everyone he says that Steve Jobs really isn't that bad, and it made poor Ballmer look like a porn-hungry moron.

A good but very outspoken friend of mine wanted to complain that in the MSN Zone checkers game, when a move was open, you had to take it. He was quickly informed by Bill and the entire assembly of people that he was on the erring side. We have harassed him about it to this day.

Keep in mind, all of the questions were made by Microsoft employees (at least temporary), with something to lose, so they have all been friendly and social (with a few moronic exceptions). We always found it best to treat the man like a human being**. He was really nice to put up with the 400+ people who visit there every summer.

And if you're curious, the man swears like a sailor.

* Or so I have heard
** No matter how poorly dressed

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