There was the Microsoft news you might have read today—a record 10,000-plus employees were added worldwide the past 12 months—and the Microsoft news you might have missed: The $475,000

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Bill Gates, Small Businessman

Microsoft gets U.S. funds for needy companies.

There was the Microsoft news you might have read today—a record 10,000-plus employees were added worldwide the past 12 months—and the Microsoft news you might have missed: The $475,000 in federal money Bill Gates' people may have used in part to hire some of those employees. The money is a government handout earmarked for something Microsoft isn't, a small business.

Microsoft, Rolls-Royce, UPS, Wal-Mart, Exxon, and Google were among the corporate giants who snatched up a total $12 billion in Small Business Adminstration funding from the Bush administration, according to a new House Small Business Committee report by the Democrats. Some corporations took huge bites of little-guy money: aircraft maker Northrop Grumman, for one, got $90 million.

Clerical errors (contract miscoding) was a contributor to the wrongful giveaway, the government said. But, as Rep. Nydia Velazquez, D-N.Y., told ABC News, "When you look at Microsoft, Google, all those companies ... they didn't have any right to accept any contract that was supposed to go to a small business."

 
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