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Gates to cash another $260 million MS stock

Diversification programme goes into overdrive - does he know something we don't?

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Now why would Bill Gates have sold some 7 million Microsoft shares (for more then $600 million), and be planning to sell another 3.75 million for about $260 million? Well, Microsoft spokesperson Tom Pilla said "This is part of Bill's normal programme of selling, done for purposes of diversification of his portfolio". This reason has only been whispered in the past, although Gates does have substantial investments in genetic engineering companies like Darwin Molecular. But hang on, diversification is undertaken to reduce the risk that a major holding will underperform, or even go down. Surely there can be no downside for Microsoft in Gates' vision of the future? Or does he know something we have not been told? Since the Microsoft trial began, Gates has suddenly become much more active on the philanthropy front, and sold 52 million shares for $4.3 billion earlier this year and put the proceeds in the William H Gates Foundation and the Gates Learning Foundation - the latter being a vehicle for helping public libraries to provide access to the Internet. It would be churlish to criticise the choice of software, but we can be sure that it is not Linux. It would be equally unfair to note the correlation between his generous grants to the needy and the increasing heat of the Microsoft trial. ®

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