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Gates group plans to cut off NZ yacht team's wind supply

Buy the competition and close it down? Where did we hear that one before?

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You'd think Bill Gates had troubles enough; but no - he is reportedly involved in an Americas Cup consortium that intends to buy out the competition and 'cut off the wind supply' to the holders, the New Zealand Americas Cup team. The proposed mechanism is simple enough, and is only a ghastly coincidence as far as Bill is concerned. Sportsmen and sportswomen are known to have a very fluid view about the country they represent, so that inducements are being offered to persuade the New Zealand Americas Cup team to race for the United States in 2003, the Observer [UK] reported yesterday. NZ had the rare distinction of successfully defending the Americas Cup in March. The mechanisms used by the US to retain the Cup for gazillions of years up to the point it was pried loose by the enterprising Antipodeans actually have a certain amount in common with the dubious business methods Microsoft is currently taking legal flak for. You can understand that there are people in the US who regard it as their patriotic duty to get the thing back, but it is a surprise that Bill Gates, not known as a sailor, is involved. Apparently 20 of the 30 team members have been offered a substantial deal to live for two years in the US (to gain the residency requirement), with sign-on fees of $60,000 and salaries of $150,000 for six years. There's also a possibility of any deserters acquiring US citizenship. So far, there are no reported mutineers. It turns out that the approach to Kiwi sailors was made by Sean Reeves, an ex-sailor who was the lawyer for Team New Zealand Corporation. He is said to be acting for a syndicate that includes Bill Gates. A Microsoft spokesman declined to comment. Surely it's just by chance that Stefanie Reichel, the German ex-girlfriend of Gates and MS lawyer Bill Neukom, (and the one claimed to have been told to destroy apparently incriminating emails about OEM deals involving DR-DOS and MS-DOS) happened to work with the marketing team for the San Francisco Yacht Club's entry in the Americas cup race in March? She previously worked for Microsoft in Redmond and Germany, where her job was to persuade German OEMs such as Vobis to stop pre-loading the Digital Research product. Reichel was also an "uncooperative witness" in the Caldera versus Microsoft case. Reichel left the sailors to become vp of business development with freeshop.com, a Seattle Internet start-up. Can somebody reassure us that this is all a coincidence?

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