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Bill Gates demands more heterosexual foreign engineers

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates yesterday urged the Bush administration and lawmakers Wednesday to abolish immigration limits on heterosexual foreign engineers who can be hired by U.S. companies.

Ok, so I’m combining two stories…

17 Responses to “Bill Gates demands more heterosexual foreign engineers”

  1. Bill Gates demands more heterosexual foreign engineers

    David Weinberger does a mashup on the two big stories out of Redmond this week.

    I laughed out loud when I read the title…

  2. That’s a cheap shot, David, almost as glaring as the Los Angeles group’s rush to judgment based on an unsubstantiated claim made in an alternative weekly here in Seattle, apparently without any consultation with Microsoft (and giving amazing credence to the agenda of someone who is not in their court). It’s not even the latest Seattle Times reporting on the situation.

    My own perspective, such as it is, appears on for April 26. There are many links on the topic and it would be good to examine the range of perspectives, especially one offered by people who know some of the players.

    More than that, I would like to see fewer trolls like this. I’m disappointed by this post, especially when I think of how much I saw you speak from your own heart when you and your daughter were on the vigil for the first gay weddings in your state. Let’s create a conversation, not careless judgments based on little analysis. By the way, if you think “The Stranger” has much journalistic credibility, does that go for their shock-conservative columns too?

  3. See also Microsoft’s decision to pay Ralph Reed’s consulting firm $20K/month.

  4. From the linked Seattle PI article:

    Microsoft spokesman Mark Murray said the company has hired Reed on several occasions to provide advice on “trade and competition issues.” He said Reed’s relationship as a consultant with the software company extends back “several years.”

    uh-huh .. if you believe that Ralph Reed’s consulting consists of anything other than “crony-based lobbying” (meaning essentially that he has lots of good connections in the religious reich’s inner circles on K Street), good for you.

    Personally, I don’t see the man as a world-class strategist on trade and commerce issues of the sort that I imagine MSft hires from time to time.

  5. Oh great. David combines two stories and we are to take that coincidence makes correlation, now we get a third story thrown in the mix, as if somehow we are to conclude, from an amazing juxtaposition of circumstances, that Microsoft HR policies and lobbying in Washington State (not the beltway) is under the draconic influence of this Ralph Reed character. I guess tit-for-tat means some gay-rights advocate visits Microsoft and insists that Reed be fired, right?

    OK, here’s a fourth. Apparently Bill Gates donates to Republican campaign funds. Clearly signifying that he is indeed the anti-Christ. Duhh.

    Forget that Gates actively supports gun control, because it doesn’t fit the interpretation, of course. Maybe the NRA will lead a boycott of Microsoft. Cool!

    Sorry. I would like to see a rational conversation about this. It strikes me that we need to stop finding evidence for the evil of the other guys and see how we are going to make civil society and democracy work in the absence of a public consensus on everything. Unless, of course, we are truly willing to sacrifice democracy on the pyre of our righteous insistence that it’s all those other people’s fault.

  6. Well, Gates basically said today that any tech unemployed in the US basically sucks; this following on the company’s recent “we need to stop supporting gays because the religious right will boycott” action — so I enjoyed David’s take, orcmid.

    In fact, if I had a pie handy and Mr. Gates was in front of me…

    But I can’t afford a pie because I’m one of the sucky unemployed techs.

    Oh BTW, offshored PHP work now costs $2.95 an hour.

  7. If David had posted only his first sentence, there would be room for complaint. His second sentence establishes that the post is satirical. Microsoft, and American society that has brought us to this pass, can withstand satire.

  8. Sure, satirical, except it is all based on unquestioned acceptance of the notion that Microsoft succumbed to pressure from a local evangelical preacher and that the meme-that-crippled-Coors should be wielded and fed and nurtured. What is this, intolerance in defense of tolerance is no vice? OK, I will return to my regularly scheduled niceness.

    Shelley, I’m not keen on the importing of technical talent either, but I like it better than exporting business to it elsewhere and the greater economic impact of that. I don’t think denigrating Bill Gates’ clearcut support for human rights is a way to fuel that debate or bring attention to your concern.

    Think what we are doing here. We’re tearing down the track record of a corporation with an admirable track record and commitment for support of human rights in the conduct of its affairs. The preacher doesn’t have to start a boycott, we’re doing his undermining for him!

  9. Ormid, than taking this seriously, we have to look at Microsoft and some of its practices.

    The one reason why I had so much trouble as an independent for so long and had to incorporate was the IRS “20 question” rule of thumb and the abuse of contractors by none other than Microsoft. This company was the worst when it came to bringing in consultants and bypassing the rule of hire (not to mention not having to pay benefits).

    Yes Microsoft supports diversity in its workplace, but I really do expect this to change, with recent activities including withdrawing support for the gay bill and the hiring of Reed — a notorious religious right fanatic.

    As for not shipping out development to other countries, this would be comendable if it weren’t for the fact that I believe MS to be worried about the security of their software with the internals in hands outside of those who they aren’t directly supervising. I don’t think the motives are altruistic.

    And now we have this unbelievable statement made at the Library of Congress — totally disregarding the fact that IT engineers and other tech have higher unemployment than the national average. Completely ignoring the fact that this average is much worse once you move beyond a few tiny areas os ‘good’ employment.

    We can’t all move to Redmond. We can’t all work 16 hour a days, either.

    It is very much a case of not chastizing a man for beating his cat because at least he’s not beating the dog.

  10. I suck? You suck!

    According to reports, Bill Gates recently said Anybody who’s got good computer science training, they are not out there unemployed. We’re just not seeing an available labor pool. Damn. I wonder if UC Irvine will reimburse me for all those…

  11. I suck? You suck!

    According to reports, Bill Gates recently said Anybody who’s got good computer science training, they are not out there unemployed. We’re just not seeing an available labor pool. Damn. I wonder if UC Irvine will reimburse me for all that…

  12. FWIW, I wrote this 3 mins before a client meeting started. I meant it to be funny. I am not calling for a boycott of Microsoft; I am criticizing the company’s dropping of support for a gay rights bill.

    Orcmid, I’m fully in favor of having a rational discussion about Microsoft’s policies. But I’m also in favor of poking fun. The lightening should perhaps be in an upward direction?

  13. I like when you write three minutes before a meeting. “The lightening should perhaps be in an upward direction?” I am SO going to use that line.

  14. Shelley, Microsoft has enough operations building in Asia and other parts of the world, that I don’t think the problem is an absence of talent that can come to Redmond. Other than that, I don’t know the analysis that leads Gates to his recommendation.

    Having been an independent for 10 years, I understand the rule-of-20 problem and, what, the 18-month rule (seems too long), and also the stifling impact that removal of the special shelter that applied to IT people meant with regard to having to work through body shops, or at least so hiring companies thought. I made sure that I was never confused with being an employee, and I understood the rules of the game as they applied then, that’s all I can say. [PS: Microsoft has engaged Reed for a few years now. I really don’t think he has anything to do with Microsoft employment and corporate citizenship policies at all, based on what I’ve read about it. Let’s see what Microsoft actually does in the 2006 legislative session in Washington State.]

    David, I got it. I just took it as mean-spirited, and I apologize. What’s interesting to me was that Microsoft had failed to make a supporting statement for the entire legislative session and at the last minute we have all of this turmoil. Ah well. I wonder what will turn up when they run the Gates Interview on NPR Friday morning. (It’s interesting how much more Gates is showing up in public lately. Maybe he will start blogging soon after all.)

  15. According to the Bill Gates interview on NPR’s morning edition this morning, Friday,, the ability to hire strong math & science talent for the Redmond campus is a concern for Microsoft, and their building up in China and India would not be so great if they could bring more international talent here.

    With regard to availability of tech jobs here, the interview attention is on the proportional U.S. decline in people taking on math and science for their careers and the contrast with the emphasis on technology and science education in other parts of the world. There’s no discussion of the disparity between open jobs and people unable to find tech jobs here.

    There’s an offhand comment about the U.S. record for passive viewing of television by kids, too.

    How that fits with people’s local experience in finding work in computing when they have chosen such careers is something I don’t have any calibration on, although I have friends who say that the economy hasn’t improved in their situation. I also have people tell me that they have a backlog of work that I am welcome to partake in if and when I want to re-enter the consulting world and do the hours. (I am a geezer M.Sc in IT student at the moment.) And the blogs I read all confirm that Microsoft has open positions and is hiring. I’ve never not been able to find work when I wanted it, and I know others for whom slow-downs don’t have much impact, even in Silicon Valley. I don’t think that my anecdotal experience helps for the big picture, though, and I’m sure it is no consolation for someone who is unemployed and needs work. I don’t have any better handle than that.

  16. “Apparently Bill Gates donates to Republican campaign funds. Clearly signifying that he is indeed the anti-Christ. Duhh.”

    Many of us over here beleive he is the anti-Christ. However, not for donating to Republican campaign funds. Interesting observation.

  17. I have visited the following Web:

    Where a man tries to be richer than Bill Gates.
    Good Luck

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