This article was published in the Summer 1999 issue of Formulations
by the Free Nation Foundation

– Humor –

Will Bill Gates Start a New Country?

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[Introductory note from Richard Hammer: The following article appears in The Web Lampoon. Although this is humor, I think it shows that we in the free-nation movement have made progress. Humor of this sort works only if the idea seems plausible. A few years ago, if I am not mistaken, the idea that a billionaire could start a new nation did not have enough plausibility to rise even to this level of humor. But now the idea has risen to this level—if you care to join me in self congratulation. We thank Web Lampoon Publisher Stephen Uber for permission to reprint. You may find this piece at <>.]

Gates to create new country, plans relocation of Microsoft

copyright The Web Lampoon

REDMOND, WA—Microsoft chairman and CEO Bill Gates has put a plan in motion to establish a new country outside of the United States, and to relocate the software giant there, out of the reach of the Department of Justice.

In a conference call with surprised reporters from his headquarters in Redmond, Washington, Gates insisted he is serious about carrying out the move, although some are speculating the proposal is more of a shot across the bow of Janet Reno and the Justice Department prosecutors working on the government's case against Microsoft.

The prosecutors have been pursuing Microsoft on a restraint of trade charge, related to the inclusion of the company's own internet browser as an integral part of the Windows 98 operating system, effectively shutting out competitors in the browser market.

"An unholy alliance has been formed between our competitors in this business, and the government itself, to create an advantage they have been unable to win in the marketplace," said the 42 year old Gates. "This whole case is nothing but a high-tech lynching of an uppity software company," the chairman continued.

Gates would not comment on specifics of where the new country would be located, but reports are that he has been negotiating with several Latin American countries, and may indeed have reached terms with one of them, on acquiring enough territory to establish a sovereign state.

"We initially were going to call the new country 'Micronesia,' but apparently that one's already trademarked," Gates explained, "so we're going to go with 'Windonesia.'

"I want to make it clear," said Gates, "that no shareholders' or customers' money will be used to implement this strategic move. It will be financed out of my own personal fortune."

The Microsoft chairman, because of his holdings in Microsoft stock, is estimated to be worth upwards of $60 billion, a tidy sum to hold out in front of relatively poor Latin American countries.

"Windonesia will be more than a corporate headquarters for Microsoft," the chairman said. "It will be a haven for entrepreneurs of all kinds, and other ordinary people who want to escape the shackles of oppression; a new country devoted to liberty, equal rights before the law, very limited government, and lots of cool technology."

As to whether Gates himself would take an active role in the government of the proposed country, he declined to say, but seemed to feel there could be administrative roles for others in the company. "Once we've migrated to a single desktop interface in Windows NT, we might be able to reassign the Windows 98 teams to do some of that government stuff," he speculated.

Some were unconvinced that Gates would actually take the step of creating a new country. "I don't think he would dare try it—he's bluffing," said James Barksdale, president of rival Netscape. "If he does try it, we will... that is, I'm sure the government will hang him by his thumbnails."

The Justice Department, caught flat-footed by the announcement, was unable to give a clear indication of how it plans to counter the gambit by the Microsoft chairman, or whether indeed it can do anything to prevent the company from leaving.

But Attorney General Janet Reno, who met hastily with reporters after Gates' announcement, spoke harshly. "The Microsoft chairman seems to feel that he and his company are at liberty to come and go as they please, and that he has the right to conduct his business strategy as he sees fit," she said. "Well, I have news for Mr. Gates—this is America."D

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