Gates gets richer as Allen plots world domination

The world's richest man became even richer this week as Microsoft's stock skyrocketed after the oft-delayed Windows 2000 was finally released to manufacturing. CEO Bill Gates hit the $85 billion mark late this week after Microsoft's stock closed at 108 7/16, its highest point ever.

ABC News reports that Gates' wealth places him above the market value of Ford Motor Company and the economy of the Czech Republic, which I couldn't even begin to dispute. But Gates has said repeatedly that he will disperse his wealth to charities before he dies. And he's already donated billions of his fortune to such charities over the past year.

In related news, Paul Allen, the Microsoft co-founder and close friend of Bill Gates, is almost ready to unveil his "wired world" strategy, which will link two of his companies, Charter Cable and RCN, offering a nationwide network capable of delivering phone, video, and other digital services over the Internet. What separates Allen's aspirations from existing cable and Ma Bell companies is that Allen can offer a full range of services through a single provider. A test of the service in Waltham, Massachusetts offers users cable, phone, and high-speed Internet access for $109 a month, for example. RCN says this is a 30% savings over offerings from AT&T and other companies

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