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Fortune 1k CEOs mass for Bill Gates love-in

And do you know, they all seem to be non-IT CEOs - except for super-trusty Mikey Dell, of course...

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Microsoft has again persuaded around a 100 Fortune 1000 CEOs to show for a love-in with BillG at Fort Redmond. Since the ones coming mostly know nothing about computing, all that Bill needs to do is to pretend to be a guru, and invite them to his pad for beer, pizza, and their choice of cartoons to any one of their hundred favourite tunes on his state-of-the-art gramophone. The big advantage for Bill is that he gets to make his low-key pitch to batches of CEOs during the tour, whereas with heads of state, he has to travel - a disadvantage as Mrs G is expecting shortly. Another change this year is that even less information is available about what will happen -- a sure way to keep up media interest when nothing much is happening. We do know that of those coming, not one is a hacker. Dell of Dell will be there, but he probably wants to persuade Bill to have a word with Joachim Kempin to get him a better deal on Windows. Rupert Murdoch is believed to be dropping in as well, and Rupert wants to know what Bill is doing in the cable business, and whether he's going to compete in the Chinese market. Jeff Bezos of Amazon.com is there to see if Bill will buy his 68 best-selling, loss-making books at a 50 per cent discount (make up the losses with volumes?), while Harry Schimburg is there to protect the Coca-Cola concession and to keep Pepsi off the campus. There will also be the heads of a dozen or so foreign banks, but they're probably coming with empty suitcases. David Glass of Wal-Mart will be keen to explain why Wal-Mart dumped SQL Server and went with IBM DB2 -- he will reassure Bill he can still use his discount card for Wal-Mart shopping. Bob Muglia, VP of Microsoft's business productivity group, did tell reporters on that "Conversation is still the most efficient networking protocol that exists." Cunning old Microsoft is apparently substituting ChatWare for Windows 2000 vapourware, a quite brilliant move and a sure finalist for The Register's Product of the Year. Just what Muglia meant by "There are still benefits to physical person-person interaction" we did not like to contemplate, but hope those attending will have protection. ®

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