Melinda Gates Tightens Up No-Apple-Stuff Policy

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Melinda Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has, apparently, tightened up her no-Apple-stuff policy for the Gates’s home. In an interview with The New York Times, Mrs. Gates said that she has a Zune, and that her kids are told they can have a Zune if they ask for devices like the iPod. This is in contrast to a past interview, in which Mrs. Gates said that she had been tempted by an iPhone.

Melinda Gates

Melinda Gates of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

The interview was ostensibly about The Foundation, the charitable organization cofounded by Mr. and Mrs. Gates that spends billions of dollars around the world on a variety of charitable and philanthropic projects, such as looking for a cure for Malaria, and health issues for women and children.

Deborah Sholoman, however, used four questions to ask Mrs. Gates about Apple:

NYT: Do you own an iPod, which is made by Apple?
Mrs. Gates: No, I have a Zune.

NYT: What if one of your children says, “Mom, I have to have an iPod?”
Mrs. Gates: I have gotten that argument — “You may have a Zune.”

NYT: Do you have an iPad?
Mrs. Gates: Of course not.

NYT: Is it true that Bill works on an Apple laptop?
Mrs. Gates: False. Nothing crosses the threshold of our doorstep.

NYT: Isn’t there room in this world for both Apple and Microsoft?
Mrs. Gates: Microsoft certainly makes products for the Macintosh. Go talk to Bill.

As noted above, Mrs. Gates’s responses represent a firmer stance against Apple products from an interview in March of 2009, when she would apparently look wistfully at iPhones from afar.

At that time, Mrs. Gates said, “There are very few things that are on the banned list in our household, but iPods and iPhones are two things we don’t get for our kids. Every now and then I look at my friends and say, ‘Ooh, I wouldn’t mind having that iPhone.’”

As we noted when we covered those comments, we want to stress that we’re just having a bit of fun. The important work that Mrs. Gates and her husband are doing through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation should outweigh trivial stuff like whether or not there’s a secret iPhone tucked away in her sock drawer.

Still, it is interesting that even in the Gates household, Apple’s products are so enticing that they are absent only by force of parental decree and self-denial.

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John Martellaro

Recall, Melinda was a Microsoft employee, and that’s how she met Bill. So I sense this is a remnant of her employee conditioning. I hope it passes.


If only the Gates really cared about humanity. Bill has gone on record to say that we should depopulate ourselves through vaccines. Do a search for “cancer in vaccines” or “bill gates kills grandma”.

Lee Dronick

She has to say that, she has to be supportive of MicroSoft and her husband. It would be like a sports reporter asking the coach of the worst team in the league how they are going to do in the upcoming game against the 1st place team. “Well we need to work on our defense and our offense, but we have a real good chance of winning.”

I would bet that Steve and Bill gift each other with their respective products.


WOW…I’m really glad there are no wars, no crime, no elections, or anything else of note going on in the world so that the NYT can devote column space and time to Melinda Gates’ personal preferences….

ugghh…the 4th estate is dead.


I don’t get the tension.  Windows runs on Macs now!  Apple has gone out of the way to make a machine that actually runs Windows!  Now everybody truly can play together.  Why the continuing bitterness against Apple or Microsoft?  Take from each the virtues they offer and move forward.

I’m thinking she doesn’t allow iPods in the home because of the instant wall it builds between children and their parents.  iPods are probably not the only thing she does not allow in her house.


Harry is totally right, just as John are - she just HAVE TO say that.

...And when Bill goes out, she takes out her favorite iPhone and call out for her friends to tell them about exciting application she just found in AppStore :D


The more you tighten your grip, the more systems will slip through your fingers…


@mactoid “ugghh?the 4th estate is dead.”

The 4th estate is dead because a big proportion of their readers are brain dead.  Go to your local library (if you still have one) and dig out a Time, Newsweek or even Fortune from 20-30 years ago .  Compare it to today’s versions.  You print what sells.

Lee Dronick

dig out a Time, Newsweek or even Fortune from 20-30 years ago .? Compare it to today?s versions.?

Well the old magazines generally had more stories and less ads. not to mention that the stores were deeper and well written. I am still getting Time magazine via snail mail, but I will probably let the subscription expire. In its place I will probably get the Economist. We do not yet have an iPad, waiting the next model, but I may go that route with subscriptions.

Our local newspaper is mostly sports, classifieds, and entertainment. Local news is getting thin, TV news sends out more reporters. Senator McCain was in town to participate in a rally for GOP Senate candidate Carly Fiorina, if that story was in the paper I missed it. But hey, how about those Chargers!

I am afraid that the culture in the movie Idiocracy is not a joke, but that it is prophecy.

Sonicview 360 premier mini PVR

Great post, thanks for sharing this to us.


This is one smart lady. I’ll bet the kids can’t watch much TV either.

I watched the 60-minutes piece on the Gates foundation and I came away impressed. When asked why they don’t use their money to find a cure for cancer Bills answer was that there is money in the cure for cancer so there is an economic incentive. The foundation goes after those problems where there is no economic incentive; the big problems other people ignore.

Oh and Bryan, I appreciate this post and manner in which you presented it.

What’s not to like about that? Again, she’s no dummy, when pressed she finally says “Go talk to Bill” in other words, don’t bother me with this crap. Good for her!

Dan Kolis

Its not that Apple stuff is that great, its just Microsoft stuff is incredibly, mind bogglingly [gratuitous expletive deleted].

Unfortunately though, the total open nature of the MS work, terrible as it is, allows more diversity in the apps by far.

So to get that open ended no rules, no guidelines freedom, it takes 50 times as long to write a program, it looks worse and works worse when you done.

And Android splits the difference perfectly.

I program these things, I know what’s what.

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