There's at least one other incredibly common Gates myth that relates to his huge fortune. Perhaps that's why so many people think that an electronic version of a chain letter will help them tap into his bank account.
The trick e-mail promises that Microsoft and AOL are merging and that the new mega-corporation is conducting an experiment. Forward the test e-mail (which the company is tracking) and you'll receive credit for your participation.
For every person you forward the message to, Microsoft will pay you hundreds of dollars; and of course, it's all true because Bill Gates has so much money that he can write the project off as a marketing expense. So send the message to enough of your friends and you could become a millionaire overnight!
Well, that would be nice, if only it were true. The misleading e-mail is basically just a long-running practical joke targeting computer users who believe incredible claims. Though most people instantly recognize the message as a prank, it's probably the tie to Gates's name that makes a few gullible folks hope that maybe the e-mail really is true. And so the legend lives on.