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Gates joins PC as 'person' of year

Bonage à trois

Twenty-three years after the PC, the device responsible for much of his personal fortune, was named Time Magazine's "person of the year," Bill Gates has been honored in kind.

Gates, his wife Melinda and Irish rocker Bono have been jointly named "persons" of the year by Time Magazine. Gates has not been honored for his work in software and contributions to the world of personal computers, though. Oh no.

Gates and Melinda were instead honored for their philanthropic works via the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation - the world's largest foundation, valued at $29bn, which spends almost the same each year as the World Health Organization (WHO).

Former US president Jimmy Cart describes the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as "the most important organization in the world," according to Time.

Time's annual honor is bestowed on an individual or group of individuals who have had the biggest impact on the year's news. Previous honorees include Albert Einstein, Rudolph Giuliani, George W Bush and - bizarrely - Adolph Hitler and Joseph Stalin.

In 1982, Time departed from its convention of naming humans and honored the then newfangled PC as its machine of the year. Time had been looking to tap Apple Chief Steve Jobs as "person of the year," but the reporter doing the piece decided this would be impossible after hearing so many horror stories about Jobs, according to Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. So, the magazine gave the nod to the box instead.

The PC went on to pump up the value of both the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Microsoft.

Apparently oblivious to the reluctance of his company to offer affordable copies of Windows in the kinds of developing countries targeted by his foundation, Time editor at large Nancy Gibbs reportedly said Gates was honored for "being shrewd about doing good, for rewiring politics and re-engineering justice and then daring the rest of the world to follow."®

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