Bill Gates was in Prague yesterday and Monday, where he received the key to the city, met a lot of top government officials, and was generally treated like a rock star.
On Czech TV, he was called the “spiritual father of the Internet” [sorry, Al Gore ;-)], and Prague mayor Pavel BÃ©m called him the “father of digitalization.”
Gates is usually sent on these visits when there’s a major contract in play. The last time he was here it was to support Microsoft’s inclusion in the corrupt-to-the-bone “Internet to Schools” project.
What’s interesting to watch is where the chips fall after such a visit. This time around, it’s probably going to be in Windows/Office licenses, maybe for the City of Prague? Elsewhere in Europe, specifically in Munich and London, the move has been toward open-source desktops, and Microsoft has had to give drastic discounts. At least Oracle hired someone to walk around in a penguin suit (Tux the Penguin being the symbol of Linux) not that Oracle is any great friend of open source.
I don’t think any major concessions were necessary. A sprinkling of Bill Gates Fairy Dust was all that was necessary to keep the Czechs in Microserfdom this time around.