Microsoft: Norwegian Reporter Faked Gates Interview
Microsoft Corp. said Wednesday a Norwegian journalist fabricated an interview with Bill Gates.
The interview, printed in the Norwegian magazine Mann and top-selling
Swedish tabloid daily Aftonbladet, was "totally fake," said
Eirik Lae Solberg, spokesman for Microsoft Norway.
In the four-page interview entitled "Big Bill," author Bjoern
Benkow claimed he spoke to Gates during a two-hour commercial flight in
Gates was quoted as saying in the article that he never carries more than
a "dime" in his pocket and that he makes $1 bets with his wife.
He also purportedly talked openly about competition with search engine
Google and Europe's antitrust actions against the software company. The
article, which was in Norwegian, quoted Gates as saying, "Google
have been smart."
According to Solberg, Gates' personal assistant Craig Beilinson informed
Microsoft Norway that the interview never took place and that Gates did
not fly in a commercial carrier at the time the journalist allegedly met
Benkow, who has also had interviews with Tom Cruise and Oprah Winfrey
published in Swedish media, was not immediately available for comment.
Earlier, he told Norwegian newspaper Dagens Naeringsliv that the piece
The editor of Mann, Knut Christian Moeng, said the monthly is printing
a retraction in its August issue, apologizing for the article.
Solberg said Microsoft Norway would be "pleased" with the apology.
But Olof Brundin, a spokesman for Aftonbladet, said the newspaper was
convinced the interview had taken place.
"This is a very respected reporter ... with a very good record,"
Brundin said. "There is no reason whatsoever for us to doubt him."