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Microsoft minions in bidding war to see Bill

They'll apparently pay up to $50,000 for some attention...

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Microsoft employees are offering money for a chance to see Bill Gates and tour his palatial residence, apparently, and according to US reports the bidding topped $25,000 last week, with Microsoft confidently expecting the final winner to shell-out $50,000. These astonishing numbers are being racked-up in an auction being held as part of Microsoft's annual charity campaign, which is being talked-up a storm by Microsoft giving-campaign program manager Emily Hine. But where can we start? Are we staggered by her claim that there's a lot of respect for Gates within Microsoft (there'd better be), or that there's not a lot of opportunity to spend time with him? Are we stunned by the amounts of spare cash some Microsoft employees have rattling around, or by the fact that some of them are apparently so creepy they're willing to spend it on getting to see Bill? Well, all of the above, and some. We're tickled by the opening bid, which was $300. The auction is claimed to be anonymous, and whichever subversive came up with this cheap offer had better hope it stays that way. And talking of cheap, we like the level of attention the lucky winner is going to get from Bill. The estate manager will give the winner and a guest a private tour (no doubt grumbling and jangling keys, like British estate managers do), and then at the end Bill will show off his favourite rooms. Also cheap, Microsoft will match the first $12,000 of the winning bid. Finally, tragic. The Gates residence is run by 50 NT servers and, Hine told reporters, "The techie people want to see the server room." ® Click for more stories

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