Bill Gates touts Microsoft's Stanford ties

Speaking to university students, chairman plays to the home crowd noting that Microsoft's CEO, research chief, and other top executives attended the school.

PALO ALTO, Calif.--Bill Gates began his address to students on Tuesday by playing to the home crowd.

He noted that CEO Steve Ballmer attended the school, though Gates convinced his buddy to drop out of the Stanford MBA program to join Microsoft. Other notable Stanford alumni are Microsoft research head Rick Rashid and Windows Live executive Chris Jones.

"We owe a lot to the school," Gates said. In a further attempt to warm up the crowd, Gates played an updated version of the humorous video he showed at the Consumer Electronics Show spoofing what his last day might be like. Gates plans to step away from full-time work at Microsoft at the end of June, putting the bulk of his time toward his charitable endeavors.

The ostensible purpose of Gates' visit was to talk about the company's program to give away developer tools , though many in the audience were eager to hear about other topics, including the company's $40 billion-plus offer for Yahoo. Microsoft, meanwhile, visits both Stanford and its rival UC Berkeley frequently as part of its efforts to stay front of mind to the students it hopes to one day recruit.

I'd be surprised if Gates offers more than a passing mention of Yahoo, but a student question-and-answer session should hopefully provide an opportunity for more on that front.

Update 5:15 p.m. PST: Well, Gates didn't mention Yahoo and, surprisingly, no students asked about it.

Gates did have a lot to say about education and global health, some of which I will try to blog about later tonight.

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    During her years at CNET News, Ina Fried has changed beats several times, changed genders once, and covered both of the Pirates of Silicon Valley. These days, most of her attention is focused on Microsoft. E-mail Ina.

     

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