Gates downunder again

Bill Gates is visiting Australia later this month, but isn't coming to New Zealand.

Bill Gates is visiting Australia later this month, but isn’t coming to New Zealand.

The Microsoft chairman and chief software architect last visited this country in 1995 and Microsoft NZ communications manager Carol Leishman says his choice to visit Australia only was made because of time limits, not because of a personal preference.

“It’s a very brief visit and he won’t be able to come to New Zealand because of his schedule. He’s expressed that he liked New Zealand the last time he was here.”

Gates will be in Australia for one day only, June 28, to speak in Sydney about “technology strategy and the company’s ongoing commitment to customers through research, development and the role of innovation in the evolution of Microsoft technology”, according to a statement.

According to The Australian, Gates will launch a community initiative with Australian prime minister John Howard.

Gates last visited Australia for the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer travelled there in 2002 but did not visit New Zealand.

Rumour has it a high-ranking Microsoft figure visited New Zealand in 2002 while the Commerce Commission was hearing a complaint by Infraserv, the operations arm of law firm Clendon Feeney, that Microsoft’s Software Assurance licensing scheme was anti-competitive.