If

Bill Gates

can't beat the Net generation, I guess he might as well join it.

Last year, Gates made some offhand remarks about the Net craze and how all of the stocks were too high and he wouldn't buy any of them. I remember it. I recall it because I was long the Net and building a Net company -- this one, to be exact -- and I had to hear all of the talking heads say the man who knows too much says that the Net is a fraud.

People sold the stocks recklessly. In fact, Gates' comments were the arrows in every Luddite's quiver for days on end. There would have been panic in the

DOT

had there been a DOT at the time. Blood in Silicon Alley.

Wrong! Looks like that was just another buying opportunity.

Now Gates is fed up with how well the Net companies do. He hates their cheap cost of capital. He thinks the "craze," as it is put in this morning's edition of

The Wall Street Journal

, is going to go on for a couple of years. The man's jealous. Pathetic that this guy should be jealous of anything, isn't it?

And Gates, like so many others, simply misjudged the fundamental change the Net has brought. He thought it would have ended. Looks like it is just beginning.

So now he is going to issue his own dot-com. That way he can buy things without hurting his own stock.

Beyond his point-blank inability to say he was wrong, what is most galling is that Gates is still, at least in this article, using the word "craze."

Here is my question: If something lasts year after year after year, when does it go from being a stock craze to being the real thing? And if it were a craze instead of something truly lasting, would Gates bother with a dot-com? I don't think so.

The importance of Gates' new stance isn't that

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

is now going to bring out even more value for its shareholders -- although it will and I am proud to be one of them -- it is that we have to stop using the term "craze" when it comes to the Net.

How about the term " investment cycle"? I think it warrants at least that by now. Let's stop talking about fads and crazes and bubbles.

We are all dot-coms now.

James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of TheStreet.com. At time of publication, his fund was long Microsoft. His fund often buys and sells securities that are the subject of his columns, both before and after the columns are published, and the positions that his fund takes may change at any time. Under no circumstances does the information in this column represent a recommendation to buy or sell stocks. Cramer's writings provide insights into the dynamics of money management and are not a solicitation for transactions. While he cannot provide investment advice or recommendations, he invites you to comment on his column at

jjcletters@thestreet.com.