Bill Gates was back in bankers' faces last week, and he made clear there was nothing random about his choice of venue.

The chairman and chief executive officer of Microsoft Corp. had had plenty of other obligations and distractions in recent days. He was the star and target of a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, appeared at a dinner honoring 75 years of Time cover subjects, and sang a song in a Barbara Walters TV interview. And that was just part of his public agenda; he has a $10 billion company to run.

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