Mac Developer Challenges Gates to Wager.

In South Africa last week, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates made some much-noticed comments about the supposed January release of Windows Vista.

Seemingly laying the groundwork for a delay in the operating system’s release, Gates said he would be happy to hold Vista should the beta program reveal problems.

Judging by his application of this standard, Gates has apparently not been involved in any other Microsoft beta program since the company’s inception.

Gates went on to say that he was 80 percent sure that Windows Vista would ship in January. This lackluster vote of confidence prompted Delicious Monster CEO Wil Shipley to challenge the Microsoft Chief Technologist to a bet of $10,000 that Vista would slip yet again (link via TUAW).

Shipley’s announcement of the one-sided dustup brought out a rather surprising number of anti-Shipley trolls, their origin unknown.

While many commenters praised Shipley on both his personal blog post regarding the proposed wager and posts on other blogs referencing it for tilting at windmills, a vocal minority complained that Shipley was an “attention whore” and a “douche bag.”

“This is just a pathetic attempt at self-promotion,” commenter Anonymous Coward said when reached by phone. “And, as everyone knows, self-promotion is immoral.

“Take me, for example. I posted my comment under the name ‘Anonymous Coward’ so as not to make this all about me. Because it’s not about me. It’s about Wil Shipley and what a douche bag he is.

“Now, yes, ‘Anonymous Coward’ is also actually my given name, but it looks like a pseudonym, so it’s really the same thing.”

Asked if he worked for Microsoft, Coward quickly became belligerent and then hastily explained that he had “to hang up now, but only because he wanted to beat the afternoon traffic going west over the 520 bridge.”

But Coward’s comments were backed up by other commenters who were also certainly not Microsoft employees.

“This is all just a sales ploy!” warned commenter MSTrollBot4000.

“Shipley’s using his blog to generate attention to himself!

MSTrollBot4000 claimed that this is not the first time the Delicious Monster CEO has absconded with sacred Internet resources in an attempt to stuff his already overflowing coffers.

“Look at that ad over there in the CARS right column for Delicious Monster. He paid you guys money to sell his software! He’s totally using you!

“What a douche bag!

Others were unsure what to think of Shipley.

“Gosh,” mused Mac user Jeff Levitas, who read about Shipley’s challenge on Daring Fireball. “I’d hate to think that the huge emotional investment I’ve made in this online wager that I’m not a party to and has zero chance of being accepted has been misspent on some cynical ploy to gin up software sales.

“I just wouldn’t want to think we live in a world where someone would do something so awful.”

Apple declined to comment for this story as it wasn’t really involved at all.