Thursday, September 28, 2006

Billion. Nine Zeros, Many Heroes.

Look down at your computer after you read this sentence. What kind of computer are you using? Unless you are me, it’s most likely a PC of some brand or another. These days, it most likely to be a Dell. When you look back up, you are probably using a Windows Operating System. No matter what program you are running or website you are searching, in all likelihood, odds-on, in all probability, nine time out of ten, you are running some version of Windows.

Now if you go to the Forbes website and look at the new Forbes 400 list, take a gander at who’s number one. That’s right, William Henry Gates III, age 50. He has an estimated fortune of Fifty-Three Billion Dollars. That is a five and then a three and then put nine zeros after it. Then if you want to really cry, stick a decimal and two more zeros. BHG3, as I like to refer to him, is a Billionaire fifty-three times over. $53,000,000,000.

Let’s savor that number: $53,000,000,000.

I’m sure there are website out there that can tell you how much he makes per second, per hour, all that jazz. It’s most likely a little bit more than you do.

One of the reasons BHG3 is worth $53,000,000,000 (All those zeros!!!) is that when you look at your computer screen, you are looking at a program being run on Windows. That’s it. Most computers in the world run on Windows. That is why the guy is filthy rich.

Let’s compare that to your cable company or your cell phone service provider. Most homes in America do not use the same exact services for any utility or entertainment except their computer's OS. As a matter of fact, Ma Bell was broken up because it was too big. It was a monopoly. Most people used their service and that meant they had too much power for the government’s taste.

Microsoft controls about everything you do on your computer. The basic platform is based on its software. Millions upon Millions of people use Windows and therefore use Internet Explorer to surf the web. Face it, not everyone is as good as you. They do not know that Internet Explorer is like the Swiss cheese of software. It’s a hacker’s dream. They do not know to download Firefox or some other browser. (Oh yeah, there are those who use the AOL browser still. Forgot about those people.)

Despite bug, errors, holes, security risks and just about everything else that makes a program a dud, Windows and IE are chugging along, making BHG3 richer and richer. Despite a large monopoly and subclass software, the company still goes like the Energizer Bunny. And they are not stopping. Next Microsoft is planning to have software in Television set top boxes, cell phones, more games, toasters, catalytic converters and vibrators. (O.K. I made some up but the Television set top boxes, cell phones and more games are true.)

But with growth opportunity like that, BHG3 can give away money to half of Africa and still be on top of the list next year.

I say, good for ole BHG3. Good for him. People probably made fun of him in high school and he never even finished college. But he’s a billionaire. He’s a role model for teenagers everywhere who tell their parents that they don’t need to go to college because BHG3 didn’t and he’s a billionaire. Thanks BHG3.

What does any of this have to do with either entertainment or Science Fiction, you say. Well, Steve Jobs of course. I use a Mac. So my guy is Steve Jobs. But he is only ranked #49 with a paltry 4.9 Billion. Jeeze talk about betting on a bum. He had to have two companies, Apple and Pixar to make his little bitty stash.

Still not enough, well, Science Fiction Hall of Fame founder Paul Allen is #5 with 16 Billion, which is down slightly from last year. I bet he’s running out to get those florescent light bulbs to save a few bucks because of it too.

But in all honesty those guys are not the real heros of this list. The real hero is Mr. H Ty Warner. His company produces and sells Beanie Babies. He made 4.5 Billion dollars selling Beanie Babies. They are the ridiculous plush toys that people go crazy collecting and use to line car dashboards. Yes. That guy’s a billionaire. Yes. A billionaire. Beanie Babies. Yes.



The Phoenix said...

Bill Gates and his wife give such a HUGE percentage of their time and especially money to charity. Holy cow, he's extremely generous.

On the other side, look at the worthless Walton family - heirs to the Sam Walton Walmart/Sam's empire. They don't give very much at all.

I think most Americans tithe more hard earned dollars than those brats have under their asses that fell backwards onto.

ObilonKenobi said...

I agree.