Gates' CES Swan Song Includes Star-Studded Lineup

From Bono to Brian Williams, Microsoft's chairman got some help in saying goodbye to the International Consumer Electronics Show.

Antone Gonsalves, Contributor

January 7, 2008

2 Min Read

In giving his last opening keynote, a spot he has filled since 1994, Gates served up a lot of self-deprecating humor, showing that the world's richest man doesn't take himself too seriously. In doing so, Gates got some help from his friends, who included rock stars and politicians.

Rather than take a walk down memory lane and show highlights of his previous CES appearances, Gates showed a video on what his last day at Microsoft might look like. Gates plans to leave the company as a full-time employee as of July, focusing most of his time on global education and health issues addressed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Gates' imaginary last day started with a ride to work in his Ford Focus, not exactly the favorite of most billionaires. To emphasize Gates' nerdy image, the Microsoft chairman drove all the way with his briefcase on the roof, having forgotten to put it in the car.

Once in the office, Gates killed some time spinning in his chair and playing with his Star Wars toy figures in a make-believe battle. "Never doubt the power of software," Gates said through one of the toys.

After spending some time with his personal trainer, played by actor Matthew McConaughey, Gates spent the rest of the day trying to convince his friends to give him a job.

First was the cell-phone call to lead singer Bono of the rock band U2 during a performance. Gates was trying to convince Bono to hire him as a guitarist based on a riff he created on the video game Guitar Hero, which is available on Microsoft's Xbox 360 console.

Failing that, Gates tried to convince director Steven Spielberg to give him a part in a movie, and asked Jon Stewart, host of The Daily Show on Comedy Central, whether he needed a co-anchor.

Having no luck with Hollywood, Gates placed calls to Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, asking whether they could use a running mate. Clinton declined. Obama didn't recognize Gates on the phone.

At the end, Gates fills a cardboard box with his office belongings, places it on the roof of the Focus and drives off, as the box tumbles to the pavement. NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams treats Gates' final day as a news headline and says goodbye to the man "who just doesn't believe in spending more than $7 for a haircut."

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