updated 11/18/2004 3:05:19 PM ET 2004-11-18T20:05:19

If you didn't think anybody else could possibly get any more spam than you, then think of Bill Gates.

The Microsoft Corp. chairman receives 4 million pieces of e-mail per day, most of it junk, said Steve Ballmer, the company's chief executive.

"There are two people who probably are the number one spam recipients in the world," Ballmer said. "Bill Gates (is first) because he is Bill Gates."

Ballmer did not name the second most-spammed e-mail account, but said he also ranks among the world's top spam recipients because he hands out his e-mail address — steveb@microsoft.com — whenever he travels or speaks.

(MSNBC is a Microsoft - NBC joint venture.)

One of Gates' addresses — billgates@chairman.microsoft.com — appears on the periodic mass mailings he sends out to customers, though there's no word on whether he actually checks that one personally. Gates is known to have other, more private addresses.

Thanks to technology developed by Microsoft, Ballmer said, only about 10 junk e-mails make it through to his inbox each day.

Microsoft makes anti-spam technology part of its free Hotmail service and its Outlook e-mail software. It is also leading an effort to develop protocols for helping Internet mail servers verify the identity of senders in hopes of eliminating a common spam technique in which a sender's true origin is disguised.

Ballmer was in Singapore for the company's Government Leader's forum, which ends Friday.

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