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Microsoft's Bill Gates Is Touting Sports Hardware

March 07, 1998|From Associated Press

Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates has done pretty well selling software. Now he's taking a swing at selling golf clubs.

Gates agreed to make a television commercial for Big Bertha drivers as a favor to maker Ely Callaway, founder and chairman of Carlsbad-based Callaway Golf Co., said Microsoft spokesman John Pinette.

"Bill enjoys golfing. He uses a Big Bertha, and so he said sure he'd do it," Pinette said Friday.

The commercial also seems to fit into Gates' efforts recently to paint himself as far less ruthless than the techno-billionaire critics portray. As scrutiny of his software monopoly intensifies in Washington, Gates has tried to assume a more caring, everyday image.

He's recently made well-publicized trips to schools and libraries and appeared on talk shows.

The commercial is scheduled to run during this weekend's coverage of the Doral-Ryder Open in Miami, Pinette said.

"Bill is talking about golf [on the commercial] and the fact that he likes it and the fact that it's really frustrating," Pinette said. "He's been golfing for about five years and hopes he's getting better."

Callaway Golf shares rose 69 cents to close at $28.13 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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