Talk:Bill Gates

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This is the talk page for discussing improvements to the Bill Gates page.

640 k/1 MB[edit]

The "640 kB is enough" is a myth attributed to Gates. The blame for this should actually be placed at IBM's feet, because the 640 kB limit was an architectural limitation imposed by IBM, who decided to load drivers in high mem starting at those addresses, in effect imposing a hardware ceiling on the memory available for OS and apps.

What about "DOS addresses only 1 Megabyte of RAM because we cannot imagine any applications needing more." - is it sourced? -- I believe this is actually a result of how the 8086 and friends handled segmentation (and of the physical number of address lines present on these processors before the "A20 gate" became a thing).

The source of "640 kB ought to be enough for anybody" may have actually been "No one will need more than 637 kB of memory for a personal computer", and it may have been said in the early 1970s. // Liftarn

The earliest mention of a version of this quote on usenet seems to be a signature by Evan Champion in 1992-07-25 (

LX 2.1 TD . "640 k ought to be enough for anybody." - Bill Gates, 1981

Citation - Page 303, right margin of;

The Unauthorized Guide to Windows 98 By Paul McFedries Published by Que Publishing, 1999 ISBN 0789719126, 9780789719126 784 pages


(This is not a reference, this is the simply the same misquote immortalised in print -- zcat 20:08, 26 January 2010 (UTC))

I made a number of changes to the page.

  • Organizing it similar to the JFK or Albert Einstein page with "Verified" and "Attributed" sections. Its important to distinguish between what we have good sources for and what we don't
  • In addition to the sections above I kept the "Falsely Attributed" section since it seems there are some quotes that are widely circulated and have been refuted.
  • I tried to look up some of the quotes from articles and couldn't find them in article search databases. However, fixed some book titles and publishers that were incorrect.

I don't think google groups reference is sufficient to count as a source. This is someone posting on usenet, about a speech they heard, where someone recounts a conversation they had a long time ago with Bill Gates. Therefore, I have it under attributed, but with a link to the google article.

If any can find the origin or ideally a good source for some of the quotes that would be great, e.g. the WWW one. Zsweden 15:27, 31 May 2004 (UTC)

I've heard someone saying that this sentence was actually said by an IBM engineer. Unfortunately I don't remember where I read it and neither the engineer's name. Do you know something about this?

"640K ought to be enough for anybody" *was* *definitely* said by Bill Gates. He said it at an early microcomputer trade show in Seattle in mid 1981. It is the Microsoft PR machine that has tried over the years to rewrite history and pretend that Gates never made this asinine comment.

Oh, well, then that proves it. ... Or rather, it proves that there's just one more anonymous moron on the internet.

The comment wasn't asinine. It is very easy to look back and say that it was stupid, but at the time, it was a very reasonable statement. Can you think of any reason for personal computers to have terabytes of RAM? Probably not. But maybe in 15 years, there will be a reason, and most PCs will have terabytes of RAM. The only reason you probably wouldn't make the same mistake right now and say, "no one will ever need terabytes of memory" is because you've already seen how predicting the future worked out for Bill Gates and have learned from his mistake.

I'm inclined to agree with the above comment, since we know Bill also said "we will never make a 32-bit operating system". Given that things were moving from 8 bit to 16 bit at the time, the eventual transition of desktop CPUs to 32-bit and beyond should have been just as obvious. But unless you can find a reliable citation, I don't think it should be on the page.. -- zcat

If he said it, come up with ANY piece of evidence. Ofcourse, he never said it, so no one can come up with any.

He did not say it, he says it himself: :) --normis

In Wired, 32-bit per se, in not mentioned, but Gates mentions indirectly here with 16-bit and 640K. Should the sourced (from here at some point?) "never make a 32-bit operating system" be mentioned as misattributed[2] or not? Comp.arch (talk) 11:55, 8 October 2014 (UTC)

Do you guys think that maybe it was just an assessment of the current situation at that time and not a prediction of what things would be in the future? -- 20:34, 17 May 2014 (UTC)

What part of "he never said it" don't you understand? -- 18:47, 20 February 2015 (UTC)
"He never said it" is easy to understand; it simply isn't true. He said it. He's worked hard to try to erase it from the world's memory but he said it.
Proving something from 1981 will be difficult when iphone evidence is demanded.


Did Bill Gates truly say "The internet is just a passing fad" in a Microsoft press conference in late 1995? I find no source using Google. There is also this famous "The Internet? We are not interested in it" -- Bill Gates, 1993 that keeps just appearing in a lot of forum signatures. Source Anyone?

In 1995, while living in Washington State and promoting that the Internet is the future ... Bill Gates was publicly denouncing the web as just a fad and costing many companies financial difficulties in the Northwest, including, but not limited to, Zipee Corp, the Plaintiff in a lawsuit with the United States Postal Service on the domain in which the case has become the foundation of Internet law around the world !

- David Apperson, Internet Senior Architect 1995 - 2004

I think 1993 is too early. I distinctly recall Gates' statement that Microsoft was not interested in 'the internet phenomenon', or otherwise downplayed it's significance, about 6 months prior to releasing IE (1995) as a competitor to Netscape. This was obviously a calculated position to take in public prior to releasing IE. I'd place it late 1994, early 1995.

1995 quote: No reason to think this is genuine. In August Gates wrote a memo (introduced as evidence in the antitrust case) titled "The Internet Tidal Wave" that very clearly recognized the internet's significance. Windows 95, released in August, included Internet Explorer 1.0 which had been licensed earlier (and before that Microsoft had tried but failed to license the Booklink browser).
1993 quote: Often appears alongside established phony Gates quotations like "640kB should be enough" and "Be nice to nerds." However, it is not impossible nor would it be terribly surprising if he said it. 1993 was the year that NCSA Mosaic was released, and before that the Internet wasn't much to look at for an end-user.
Anything Gates said about the internet at that time should be considered in the context that Microsoft was doing active development on networking in the early 1990s but not necessarily internet networking. Microsoft's awakening to the Internet as not just an interesting technology but a profitable one (which matters to Gates) is documented in Renegades of the Empire and Breaking Windows. w:User:Gazpacho 07:12, 28 December 2006 (UTC)
(PS: what do you mean by "distinctly recall"? Do you recall hearing him say it? Reading about him saying it? In what kind of source?) -- He wrote in his autobiography user: 21:12, 25 March 2013
The Internet Tidal Wave is available online. --Omnipaedista (talk) 00:47, 29 November 2013 (UTC)

"Linux best OS ever!"[edit] May I add it?

No, that's a fake news story. 02:27, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

"At a Mac conference in the eighties"[edit]

I'm unfimiliar with Wikiquote's policies, but if it were an article on Wikipedia, I would remove anything using this as a "source". w:User:RN

The sourcing is inadequate here, but I have seen the video of this statement, I believe in an early Apple promotion video, when Gates actually was working with Apple in developing Word for the Mac, and will try to get more information on it, if I can, within the next few hours. ~ Shadow 02:48, 26 August 2006 (UTC)
I intend to keep looking between other tasks, but I've not yet found definite sourcing of where the original clip is from, or what date it was, though I did find 2 video clips on Youtube of Gates making the statement: &

this one says circa 1984 "around the time of the introduction of the macintosh", but it still isn't very specific. Most places give seperate dates which isn't too impressing, and the German wikiquote says a 1984 mac conference as well but no source either ( A slashdot comment says [3] 1984 as well. So, that's what I found after checking all of the googles for

"the Macintosh, of all the machines I've ever seen, is the only one that meets that standard"


"And the Macintosh, of all the machines I've ever seen, is the only one that meets that standard"

If this were a real quote, I would be expecting someone like forbes or time magazine... hopefully someone's search goes better then mine :). w:User:RN


Gates is a sufficiently public figure, has left a big enough paper trail, and has inspired enough bogus quotes, that I think it's reasonable to insist on very specific citations for anything that gets added here. Not just "someone posted it on the internets." w:User:Gazpacho 09:15, 30 August 2007 (UTC)

It violates the "no original research" policy to suggest that
a) All collections of humorous material, even those from Oxford University press, are unreliable; please provide a source if you wish to assert that;
b) Because it is your personal opinion that Bill Gates said something, therefore he could not have done so; please provide a source if you wish to assert that.
--Cato 18:19, 9 September 2007 (UTC)
I agree. I mean, come on - "In my case, I went to the garbage cans at the Computer Science Center and fished out listings of their operating system." A fairly obvious troll. -- 21:53, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

Dumpster diving quote[edit]

The dumpster diving quote (the one that starts "the best way to prepare") has a longer quote, which includes valuable extra information, in this slashdot comment. Could somebody confirm that this quote is true and then include it? -- 10:24, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

zcat's comments on "an obvious troll"[edit]

The dumpster diving quote is from the book "Programmers at Work: Interviews With 19 Programmers Who Shaped the Computer Industry", published by Microsoft Press. I've seen enough different people claim to have actually got the book and found the quote that I don't believe they could all be making it up, EG the above posting on slashdot or this;

This occurrence is particularly interesting because Dan Bricklin was one of the 19 programmers interviewed in the book and in a scan of the (hardback) cover, his photo appears on the top left.

If you really want to be sure, you could just buy the book yourself from Amazon. There are four copies available right now.

Factoring large primes?[edit]

One of the Gates quotes I see most often is the (silly, no doubt) mistake regarding factoring. From Wikipedia's entry on The Road Ahead:

"The obvious mathematical breakthrough would be development of an easy way to factor large prime numbers." (p.265)

Is this quote omitted because it came from a multi-author book? If so, I can understand the reasoning: who knows who wrote it? If not, surely this should be included. 03:18, 26 April 2009 (UTC)

Limit of Quotes[edit]

Just to let everyone know this page has too many quotes.(StarWarsFanBoy 00:58, 5 December 2009 (UTC))

"You can quote me on this . . . "

What about "The Road Ahead"'s dismissal of the internet?[edit]

Not putting it directly on the page (yet)

He released a book in November 1995 called "The Road Ahead", which largely dismissed the internet (mentioning it briefly) and the web, seeing it as a mere stepping stone towards the "real" "information superhighway". All the while trying to use Windows 95 to push "The Microsoft Network" ("MSN"), at the time a proprietary online service to compete with the likes of Compuserve and AOL.

Gates realized that the internet was gaining traction, so one month after it hit the stores MS's strategies were allegedly realigned, and a "Completely Revised and Up-to-Date" edition of "The Road Ahead" came out in October 1996. - note also Time Magazine's comment from December 1995 about MS's change of strategy, at the bottom... 07:20, 31 March 2010 (UTC) gautelund

When you're ready to add the quotation to the page, make sure you actually have a quotation, not just circumstantial claims.

On internet[edit]

At comdex 1994, it is seen that he said "I see little commercial potential for the Internet for at least 10 years", at least this has been seen in a book: --Jarl 06:23, 4 October 2010 (UTC)

born poor/die poor[edit]

I've seen "If you're born poor, it's not your mistake. But if you die poor, it is your mistake" attributed to Gates, but without sources, has anyone seen something?

I don't think Bill Gates is that stupid. I sincerely doubt the quote is real. There's literally millions and millions of counter-examples to that. Let's name a few, just to be sure: Nikola Tesla, Ignaz Semmelweis (died broke and insane because his contemporaries kept refusing to listen to his "insane" theory that washing hands in hospitals would save lives), Vincent van Gogh, William Blake, Gutenberg. And that's really not even including the kind of people who weren't geniuses who died poor because of economic conditions or otherwise. In short - Bill Gates = not a moron. Person who would say that quote = moron. Bloomingdedalus (talk) 15:41, 29 December 2013 (UTC)

I wouldn't say that they're not at fault for dying poor. If Semmelweis wanted to make money, he could have. Tesla was brilliant, but his focus was on progress, not money. Gutenberg was a criminal by the time's standards, in an unprofitable field. 2001:1948:212:1020:BC67:AB1:74FC:1F6D 19:11, 8 January 2014 (UTC)Tanner Griffin, 12:11, 8 January 2013

The quote flies in the face of the poverty-reduction work he's dedicated billions of dollars to.

There's no source and it in no way sounds like something he would say (what's the context where a quote like that would come up? an address to shareholders?). I think it's fair to say this is not an authentic quote. 18:35, 28 February 2016 (UTC)

Antitrust movie[edit]

Attributed: it's very hard to imagine that this is not Bill Gates.


Tim Robbins (2008, left) and Bill Gates (2007, right)

Roger Ebert found Gary Winston to be a thinly disguised pastiche of Bill Gates; so much so that he was "surprised [the writers] didn't protect against libel by having the villain wear a name tag saying, 'Hi! I'm not Bill!'" Similarly, Ebert felt NURV "seems a whole lot like Microsoft."[7] Ebert wasn't alone making these observations; parallels between the fictional and real-world software giants were also drawn by Lisa Bowman of ZDNet UK,[8] James Berardinelli of ReelViews,[9] and Rita Kempley of the The Washington Post.[10] Microsoft spokesman Jim Cullinan said, "From the trailers, we couldn't tell if the movie was about [America Online] or Oracle."[8]

Lazy person to do a hard job[edit]

“I choose a lazy person to do a hard job, Because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it.”

I see this all over, but can't find a source. May be good for the misattributed section. 21:58, 16 January 2013 (UTC)

Based on Google searches, the first attribution of this to Bill Gates was June 28, 2009, and not through a reliable source. Previously, it is attributed through the same unreliable sources as being a Hitler quotation.

For further information regarding the origin of that (or similar quotes) have a look at: and


Sorry I am not entirely familiar with Wikiquote code nor policy partly because it takes one to know one but could someone please change the article image of Bill Gates? Or in other certain terms, ...? Kind regards. ( 03:36, 23 June 2013 (UTC))

The current image may not be the most appealing; but we can only use images that are in the public domain or released under terms compatible with the Creative Commons CC-BY-SA license, and the link you provided does not include licensing information. Several other images that are available for use here are listed at commons:Category:Bill Gates and its subcategories. ~ Ningauble (talk) 20:13, 26 June 2013 (UTC)

Measuring aircraft building progress by weight[edit]

Could we get a source on this quote? "Measuring programming progress by lines of code is like measuring aircraft building progress by weight." --Traal (talk) 20:19, 27 September 2019 (UTC)