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Gates, Bono Share Time's Person of the Year Cover

What do Bill and Melinda Gates have to do with 11 U.S. Presidents, and dozens of world leaders, great humanitarians, dictators, and just plain interesting people on a list that stretches back to 1927?

They have all made the cover Time magazine's “Person of the Year” issue. For 2005, Mr. and Mrs. Gates share the cover with U2 lead singer Bono.

Charles Lindbergh made the first Time “Person” cover for making the first-ever solo flight across the Atlantic from New York to Paris in 1927. Andy Grove, co-founder and former CEO of Intel made the list in 1997, and Amazon.com's CEO and founder Jeff Bezos was picked in 1999 at the peak of the “Internet revolution.”

There have been many reasons why Time has chosen one or another person to grace the magazine's cover over nearly 80 years. Adolph Hitler and Joseph Stalin didn't make the cover for being anything other than monsters. Other covers featured Gandhi, JFK, Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan and even the current President Bush, as well as a couple of Popes. And 1982's cover went to “the computer.”

This year's honorees, however, were chosen for their humanitarian activities: Bono's work towards reducing the debts of poor countries, and the Gates Foundation's work to immunize children around the world, among other things.

“Who is proving most effective in figuring out how to eradicate those calamities? In different ways, it is Bill and Melinda Gates, co-founders of the world's wealthiest charitable foundation, and Bono, the Irish rocker who has made debt reduction sexy,” Time Managing Editor Jim Kelly said in a statement posted online.

The Gates issued a joint statement, saying, in part:

“We're honored to have been named, together with our friend Bono, as Time Magazine's Persons of the Year. We're grateful that Time recognizes the importance of the world's inequities, whether they are in the United States or thousands of miles away. We are also pleased by Time's recognition that we can solve these problems and that many people must play a part in doing so.”

About the Author

Stuart J. Johnston has covered technology, especially Microsoft, since February 1988 for InfoWorld, Computerworld, Information Week, and PC World, as well as for Enterprise Developer, XML & Web Services, and .NET magazines.

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