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 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.