Gates’ Secret Startup: Rumor vs. Fact

Bill Gates has a new business in the works -- and, depending on whom you ask, it could be anything from a philanthropic foundation to a high-tech firm for space exploration.

First, the facts: The company will be called bgC3, according to publicly filed documents discovered by Seattle tech blog TechFlash. The official logo looks kind of like a magnet on top of a rounded-off rectangle, though if you focus your eyes right you can see that it forms a “c� interlocked with a “3.� A Web site, bgc3.com, has already been registered privately with Network Solutions. As of now, though, the logo is the only thing there.

A Matter of Record

Courtesy of MicrosoftState records indicate the company was first founded this March under the name Carillon Holdings. The bgC3 name came into play a few months later in July, just over a week after Gates’ final day as a Microsoft full-timer.

Publicly accessible trademark requests (search "bgc3") filed at the end of September describe the operation as a “think tank service.� That categorization can include anything from "scientific and technological services" to "industrial analysis and research," or even "design and development of computer hardware and software." As for an office, bgC3 is headquartered in Kirkland, Wash., near Gates’ home.

Rumor Roundup

That’s pretty much it as far as the official information. But not to worry -- there’s plenty of unsubstantiated speculation to go along with it. Some highlights from around the Web:

* bgC3 is a “not a commercial venture but rather a vehicle� for Gates’ business and philanthropic endeavors. It could, however, include the development of Gates’ “breakthrough ideas in science and technology." - Source TechFlash

* The bgC3 office is “filled with high-tech Microsoft paraphernalia,� ranging from a new Surface tabletop computer to a virtual guestbook. - Source The New York Times

* The name bgC3 stands for “Bill Gates Catalyst 3,� with the “3� signifying Gates’ third operation (preceded by Microsoft and his foundation). - Source TechFlash

* The company may focus on “creating catalyst business ideas to spin off to Microsoft, the Gates Foundation or elsewhere.� - Source The New York Times

* Gates may be developing the “Microsoft of space,� a DNA-mapping organization, a command line computing resurrection, or a “conglomerate that will make Microsoft seem tiny.� Source - Computerworld

* The new office will serve as a “neutral ground for discussing� information either from Gates’ foundation or from Microsoft. - Source The Wall Street Journal

* The startup will become a “clearing house for new technology,� be it nuclear waste containment, medical robots, or inexpensive laptops. - Source CrunchGear

* bgC3 will develop computers that are “moist and chewy, like cake,� along with “blogging software for amoebae.� - Source InformationWeek

Now, to be fair, we’re pretty sure a few of those predictions were meant in jest. But hey, you never know -- we might just end up seeing a not-for-profit command line-driven space vessel that’ll launch medical robots and blog-writing amoebae that feed on moist cake into orbit. Then who’ll be laughing?

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