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Six degrees of Bill Gates

by Peter Nowak, CBCNews.ca

Have you ever played Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon? You know, that game where you try to link one actor with Kevin Bacon in no more than six moves? For example, let's take Jackie Chan. He was in Rush Hour with Chris Tucker, who was in Friday with Ice Cube, who was in Three Kings with George Clooney, who was in Ocean's Eleven with Julia Roberts, who was in Flatliners with… Kevin Bacon. Well, the game is not just for movies anymore – it can be easily applied to how one technology company can affect another.

For fun, let's try linking Microsoft chairman Bill Gates with his arch-enemy, Apple chief executive officer Steve Jobs. Gates sits on the Microsoft board with James Cash Jr., who was a faculty member of the Harvard Business School alongside David Yoffie, who sits on Intel's board. The CEO of Intel, Paul Otellini, sits on Google's board. Google's CEO sits on Apple's board alongside… you guessed it… Steve Jobs. So for all the conspiracy theorists out there: Schmidt picks up Apple's ideas from Jobs, then passes them on to Otellini, who tells Yoffie, who passes it on to Cash who in turn tells Gates. Cool, huh?

Of course, that's not what really happens, but it does give an indication of how tight-knit the tech community is. What other interesting links can be made? Bonus points to those who come up with the most intriguing chain, or the one containing the fewest links.

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