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John Malone: 'I told Warren Buffett not to invest in Bill Gates before Microsoft went public'

The veteran cable entrepreneur John Malone has told how he wrongly warned Warren Buffett against what would have been a highly lucrative investment in Microsoft before it went public.
Mr Malone said at a private gathering in Dublin that he advised the legendary Berkshire Hathaway investor not to back Bill Gates at the Sun Valley conference for media moguls.
The 77-year-old recalled: “I’m sitting up at Sun Valley, Idaho. I’m sitting with Warren Buffett. And Bill Gates has presented because he’s going to go public.
“And so Warren and I are sitting there and we hear Bill’s presentation. Warren says, ‘John, you know something about these technology companies, would you invest in that?’
“And I said, ‘s***, I don’t think so Warren. It would be too easy for other people to compete with it. I don’t see the barriers to entry.’”
Microsoft raised $61m when went public in 1986 and built up an dominant position for its Windows operating system that went unchallenged until the web and smartphone revolutions. It is now enjoying a new run of growth as a provider of internet-based business software and services, and is valued at more than $860bn.
John Malone: 'I told Warren Buffett not to invest in Bill Gates before Microsoft went public'

John Malone (pictured), Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are regulars at the Sun Valley conference
Mr Buffett, 88, has said in recent years that he would now never invest in Microsoft because of his friendship with Mr Gates. The pair together plan to give most of their fortunes to good causes.
Mr Malone revealed his intervention in their relationship to Virgin Media executives as he recalled the challenges he faced as his built his cable empire. He made his fortune buying up local  networks in the United States through the 1970s and 1980s from his base in Denver, Colorado, and earned the nickname "the Cable Cowboy".
Virgin Media is owned by New York-listed Liberty Global, which Mr Malone controls. The Daily Telegraph obtained a transcript of the July event.
 
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