EW talks with the Microsoft Chairman

By Noah Robischon
Updated January 07, 2000 at 05:00 AM EST

Sure, Bill Gates is the richest propeller-head of all. His company may revolutionize the entertainment world. But this is Entertainment Weekly, and there’s no way we could let him go without asking at least a few stupid questions. — NR

EW: Would you take the red pill or the blue pill from Morpheus in The Matrix?

BG: I thought it was a good movie, but [laughs] it’s not real.

EW: Sure, but given that, if you were in Neo’s position…

BG: Remind me which was red and which was blue?

EW: Neo took the red pill.

BG: For the exciting life. Oh sure, it’s set up that everybody wants to do that. C’mon.

EW: Captain Kirk or Jean-Luc Picard?

BG: I watched Star Trek when it was mainly Captain Kirk, so I haven’t given the new guy a fair chance. Maybe he’s better. I’ll take Sean Connery, Captain Kirk—I’m 44 years old! What can I say?

EW: ABC’s Who Wants to Be a Millionaire or Fox’s Greed?

BG: Never seen either one.

EW: Which computer was smarter, HAL 9000 or Tron?

BG: It didn’t get to be mainstream like HAL 9000, but Tron was much cooler. The actual name, Tron, comes from something we added to the BASIC computer language, a statement called ”trace on.” It’s actually a term that Paul [Allen] and I created. They picked that name because that whole thing is tracing everything you do. It’s able to watch…a very obscure fact.

EW: And the letters HAL are one removed from the letters IBM…

BG: Which they claim they weren’t thinking of when they did it.

EW: What was the last live performance you saw?

BG: I haven’t been to live music since Celine Dion was in Seattle. There was this play at the Rep called Wit that’s just incredible. Very tough play. Because we don’t watch TV, we go to all the popular movies and lots of plays. We actually had Toy Story 2 at our theater over Thanksgiving, which was kind of fun.

EW: Woody or Buzz Lightyear?

BG: Woody.

EW: Who would play you in the movie version of your life?

BG: That’s not the kind of question that I think about. What was the name of the guy who played me in the TNT movie [Pirates of Silicon Valley?”]

EW: Anthony Michael Hall.

BG: He didn’t look anything like me.