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Earth to Bill

6:00 PM -- Andrew Thomas of The Inquirer has a delightfully snarky piece today about Virtual Earth, Microsoft's answer to the hugely cool and popular Google Earth.

VE, Thomas writes, "aims 'to realize Bill Gates' vision of a vibrant, immersive Internet-based representation of the real world that provides the best mapping and local search experience for consumers, businesses and government,' or, as we prefer to say, 'make more money.' "

He might have added that MS is once again displaying its uncanny ability to mimic and coopt other companies' innovations. My opinion of Gates has actually softened over the years as he has focused his tremendous drive and smarts, not to mention his bottomless money pit, on Third-World disease, through the Gates Foundation. Back in Redmond, though, Steve Ballmer has the Evil Empire up to its old tricks.

— Richard Martin, Senior Editor, Unstrung

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