Billion-dollar man back in his element
Charles Arthur joins a celebrity audience to see Bill Gates, head of Microsoft, demonstrate his new on-line network
Friday 01 September 1995
"Would you want to see Bill Gates, The Movie with Arnold Schwarzenegger playing you?" asked Jonathan Ross, the television personality.
Mr Gates thought not.
No one could fault him on his casting ability. He is not, to be truthful, the muscular type. But the man who has made a $13bn fortune (pounds 8.4bn) as chairman of Microsoft, the world's largest computer software company, still wears big glasses and ties that could be called unfashionably wide.
However, his presence packs an intellectual muscle that means people are keen to meet him, or be seen with him.
Officially, Mr Gates, 38, was in London to launch Microsoft Network, the on-line service by which users of Windows 95, the company's new operating system, can get home banking via Barclays Bank, financial information from Dun & Bradstreet, or order clothes and other goods electronically from retailers such as Great Universal Stores.
To show off these capabilities, Mr Gates first demonstrated the system to an invited audience of celebrities, including Mr Ross, Carol Vorderman, the former Tomorrow's World presenter, David Gower, the former English cricket captain, Angela Rippon, the former BBC newscaster, and David Emanuel, the designer of the wedding dress worn by (the then) Lady Diana Spencer when she married the Prince of Wales.
Given he was formerly a full-time software programmer, Mr Gates was back in his element. He gave them his vision of the future. "The opportunity from these technologies, such as personal computers, is pretty incredible," he said. "It's going to lead to a pretty fundamental change in education and revolutionise business."
Mr Gates still sees great possibilities for the education of the world's children.
"I do believe that the computer can be used to improve education, but there have been promises made in the past that haven't been lived up to. There are ways of using computers in education where it is just a quizzing device, asking questions that have to be answered. That isn't so useful.
"But computers can be used in schools so that the curriculum fits around what's available through the computer. I really envy kids who grow up today with PCs with multimedia and CD-roms and all the educational tools available today."
Mr Ross thought that his own time had been well spent. "I'm quite interested in computers. I've used Apple Macs for 10 years. But today is something to tell my friends about - 'I saw Bill, yeah that Bill, the other day, told him a few things he's got fundamentally wrong, you know'..."
But overall, he declared himself impressed. "He's not nearly as nerdy as I expected, you know," he said.
By which time Mr Gates was safely out of earshot.
Regular cast member Ste Hay, played by Kieron Richardson, is about to test TV boundaries
- 1 Lee Evans announces retirement from comedy on The Jonathan Ross Show
- 2 Pirelli calendar 2015: The problem with 'plus-size' models like Candice Huffine
- 3 These grandmas smoking weed for the first time are wonderful
- 4 Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
- 5 Angelina Jolie confuses everyone with 'ay up me duck' East Midland's greeting to Derby actor Jack O'Connell at awards show
Jeff Fletcher dead: Britpop guitarist is decapitated by lorry in horrific traffic accident
These grandmas smoking weed for the first time are wonderful
Jimmy Ruffin dead: Motown legend, who wrote 'What Becomes of the Brokenhearted', dies aged 78
New York snowstorm: Five dead and state of emergency declared as 'wall of snow' buries Buffalo
Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
G20 summit: Enter Putin. Accompanied by four warships. To the sound of mockery
'Muslims pre-date Columbus in discovering America,' says Turkish president Erdogan
David Cameron 'compares Vladimir Putin’s Russia to Nazi Germany' ahead of tense meeting
Former Tory PM Sir John Major says 'we would not have an NHS without migrants'
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
G20 summit: David Cameron warns Vladimir Putin that Russia's relationship with the West is at a 'fork in the road' over Ukraine
Benefits: Argyll Scott International: Argyll Scott is recruiting for a Permane...
£30000 - £50000 per annum + EXCELLENT: Austen Lloyd: COMMERCIAL PROPERTY SOLI...
Benefits: Argyll Scott International: Due to further expansion, a leading inte...
£27000 - £32000 per annum + training: Langley James : Senior Technician; Promo...