Gates duped by Canadian radio hosts

The Microsoft chairman can blame a pair of Canadian radio jocks for an April Fools' prank. The duo, keenly imitating the Canadian prime minister's voice, insulted the Windows OS.

2 min read
Bill Gates fell silent when he heard what he thought was the Canadian prime minister insulting his Windows operating system.

Could the Microsoft chairman actually have agreed with the sentiment, or was he onto the fact that he'd just been had in an elaborate April Fools' Day joke?

Gates, the world's richest man, was taken in by a couple of Canadian radio show hosts who imitated Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien to dupe Gates for April Fools' Day.

It took Marc-Antoine Audette and Sebastien Trudel, of French-radio station CKMF-FM, a month just to set up the phone interview with Gates, who declined several offers to attend a fake economic summit. Once the pair got through to him, Audette did a convincing imitation of Chretien's heavily accented English and managed to keep Gates on the line for a full 14 minutes.

"It was about the Canadian economy and all--it wasn't interesting to us," said Audette, who chose to air a more exciting 3-minute clip from the conversation, in which Audette invited Gates to a famous Montreal strip club, Chez Pare. Gates was oblivious to the reference but agreed to meet Chretien sometime during his August trip to Canada.

"Damn computer," Audette said, pretending to schedule a date on his computer to meet Gates. "Who's the idiot that invented that s***?"

Gates was silent but didn't hang up. Audette then asked Gates if he knew what day it was, and revealed that he was not Chretien.

"Yeah, I thought so," said a somber Gates. The conversation was recorded April 1 but aired April 2.

A Microsoft spokesman on Wednesday acknowledged the "pretty elaborate hoax."

"They were persistent," the spokesman said. "We're glad they didn't call collect."

Canadian celebrities taken in by the radio show duo have included chanteuse Celine Dion and race car driver Jacques Villeneuve.

For Gates, the prank may have been the latest opportunity to get Windows "on the air." He appeared last fall on the "Frasier" TV show, where he sat in on a mock radio interview and plugged Windows XP.