Bill Gates Speaks to Local Minority High-School Students

REDMOND, Wash., Feb. 10, 2000 — Bill Gates, Microsoft Corp. chairman and chief software architect, today urged a group of about 100 students in Seattle public high schools to work hard in school so they are prepared to take advantage of the opportunities they have as members of
“Generation I,”
the first generation raised on the Internet.

Gates met with the students while they were on the Microsoft campus as guests of the employee group Blacks at Microsoft (BAM), which hosted its ninth annual Minority Student Day. The goal of the event is to encourage minority youth to consider careers in technology.

“The majority of opportunities created by the evolution of the PC are still to come,”
said Gates.
“And we need super-smart people to help us create new technologies that will revolutionize the way people do business, learn and communicate. Those opportunities need to be open to everyone.”
Gates also noted that Microsoft is committed to helping bridge the
“digital divide”
and opening the doors to a vast array of technological opportunity for all Americans.

Since 1991, hundreds of young people have come to Microsoft as student guests and interns to learn about the opportunities in technology. During today’s event, students met and talked with minority-group Microsoft employees about what it takes to succeed at the world’s largest software company. They also toured the newest version of the Microsoft® Home, the Microsoft Museum and the games development group. Counselors in the Seattle School District chose the participating students.

“There is a lot of focus right now on the digital divide, which is shorthand for the impact that a lack of technology access can have on low-income and minority communities,”
said William Southern, director of public affairs for the Seattle School District.
“Technology is one of the best channels for learning and discovery today, and one of the first steps in bridging the digital divide is ensuring that young people have adequate access to and interaction with technology in the classroom and beyond.”

“We are excited about educating these kids about the different career paths open to them in the field of technology,”
said David Rives, chairman of the Black Minority Student Day program.
“We want to show that Microsoft has an employee base that is composed of diverse talent and includes accountants, lawyers, artists, designers, researchers and many others. We hope to strike a chord with the students to explore the technology they find interesting.”

Microsoft is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services. Within the past six years, Microsoft has donated a combined $173 million in cash and software to help thousands of organizations, including public libraries, colleges and universities, and community-based nonprofit agencies, provide technology access to underserved communities.

Software donations based on estimated retail values.

Microsoft is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

For more information, press only:

Dan Leach, Microsoft, (425) 882-8080, [email protected]
Nicole Miller, Waggener Edstrom, (425) 637-9097,
[email protected]
Rapid Response Team, Waggener Edstrom, (503) 443-7000, [email protected]

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