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Bill Gates Promotes Vaccine Projects, Swipes At Google

timothy posted about a year ago | from the imagine-needles-vs-blimps-as-a-video-game dept.

Medicine 481

Nerval's Lobster writes "In a new interview with Bloomberg Businessweek, Bill Gates discussed his Foundation's work to eradicate polio and malaria, while suggesting that vaccine programs and similar initiatives to fight disease and poverty will ultimately do much more for the world than technology projects devoted to connecting everybody to the Internet. While Gates professes his belief in the so-called digital revolution, he doesn't think projects such as Google's Internet blimps (designed to transmit WiFi signals over hundreds of miles, bringing Internet to underserved areas in the process) will do the third world nearly as much as good as basic healthcare. "When you're dying of malaria, I suppose you'll look up and see that [Internet] balloon, and I'm not sure how it'll help you," he said. "When a kid gets diarrhea, no, there's no website that relieves that." Gates then sharpened his attack on the search-engine giant: "Google started out saying they were going to do a broad set of things. They hired Larry Brilliant, and they got fantastic publicity. And then they shut it all down." Google focusing on its core mission is fine, he added, "but the actors who just do their core thing are not going to uplift the poor." The Microsoft co-founder also has no intention of following Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and other tech entrepreneurs into the realm of space exploration. "I guess it's fun, because you shoot rockets up in the air," he said. "But it's not an area that I'll be putting money into.""

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Idea (4, Insightful)

twistedcubic (577194) | about a year ago | (#44511689)

I've got an idea. How about we cure malaria AND give everyone free internet. I never thought Bill Gates was a jealous hater. He's beginning to see Microsoft as the failure it really is.

Re:Idea (4, Insightful)

Joining Yet Again (2992179) | about a year ago | (#44511717)

Or he's trying to drag other very wealthy people out of their comfort zone.

He doesn't have to do any of this, you know.

Re:Idea (4, Interesting)

Penguinisto (415985) | about a year ago | (#44511883)

Well he does, sorta... if it weren't for the massive charitable 'contribution' he gave former Prez. Vicente Fox' wife for her 'charity (causing a planned migration to Linux to instead swerve back towards Windows)', Mexico would've been using primarily Linux by now, reducing Microsoft's market share (and thus its stock price, thus Gates' bank account, etc).

Hell, I suspect the whole third world would've been using Linux by now judging by that one yardstick...

Re:Idea (5, Informative)

rudy_wayne (414635) | about a year ago | (#44511993)

Or he's trying to drag other very wealthy people out of their comfort zone.

He doesn't have to do any of this, you know.

Bill Gates is not the philanthropist he pretends to be.

The Gates Foundation has an endowment of $30 Billion making it the largest philanthropic organization in the world. But one third of that money is invested in companies whose practices run counter to the foundation’s supposed charitable goals and social mission.

In Niger, the Foundation has invested more than $400 million dollars in oil companies including Royal Dutch Shell, Exxon Mobil Corp, and Chevron. These firms have been responsible for much of the pollution causing respiratory problems and other afflictions among the local population.

The Gates Foundation also has investments in sixty-nine of the worst polluting companies in the US and Canada, including Dow Chemical.

  It holds investments in pharmaceutical companies whose drugs cost far beyond what most patients around the world can afford and the Foundation often lobbies on behalf of those companies for "Intellectual Property" protections that make obtaining low cost medicines more difficult.

Other companies in the Foundation’s portfolio have been accused of forcing thousands of people to lose their homes, supporting child labor and defrauding and neglecting patients in need of medical care.

In the mean time, Bill Gates' net worth has gone from $50 Billion to $70 Billion over the last 3 years.

Re: Idea (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44512041)

He should hoard money like Ellison, Brin, Page, and Jobs! That will help the poor!

You people are f*cking mentally ill.

Re:Idea (5, Insightful)

DigiShaman (671371) | about a year ago | (#44512149)

What you and everyone else is missing (possible Billy G too) is that all of these problems he's trying to address is caused by dictatorships, despots and other forms of corruption and tyranny. Education and good health will pave way for a future generation to actually change the culture to one that's confident in the ability to demand freedom and democracy. Regardless, the culture must be there for it to happen. Otherwise, we (the West) is just continually pumping water out of a leaky boat. A complete waste of time and money with lives depending on keeping it afloat.

Re:Idea (1, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | about a year ago | (#44512161)

For the record, Dow Chemical has a very good environmental record. Please site some specifics regarding their aleged pollution.

Re:Idea (5, Insightful)

Joining Yet Again (2992179) | about a year ago | (#44512171)

None of the above is counter to philanthropy - these are Foundation investments, not Bill's personal portfolio.

Have you also considered that the Foundation disagrees with your viewpoint that these investments have practices running "counter to the foundation's supposed charitable goals and social mission"? Last I checked, it didn't intend to create an egalitarian utopia, where the poor weren't being exploited by the rich, but to solve a few fundamental problems.

If you think some of the Foundation's investments are running counter to its specific goals, rather than more hand-wavy goals about progressive work in Third World nations, go ahead and put your case to the guys who do the cost-benefit analysis.

Every charitable mission can be identified as in some way contributing toward some sort of nastiness, even right down to the fact that no bank makes 100% ethical investments for every person's definition of ethical.

Re:Idea (3, Insightful)

bberens (965711) | about a year ago | (#44512201)

I don't think you understand how the stock market works. If I buy, for example, 1 share of DOW chemical stock DOW does not get that money. Whoever owned the stock prior to me gets that money. The only way DOW gets the money is if DOW issues new shares, diluting the rest. If you want to make money you buy stocks in the companies you expect to make money from, not necessarily the ones that "do the right thing." You then take your profits and use them for whatever purposes you want, in this case hopefully to do some good. I'm fairly anti-oil economy, anti-wars-for-oil, etc. but my portfolio still has some oil stocks in it because it's just good solid investment strategy. For the foreseeable future I expect that to be a good, sound investment. And even when/if we move more towards something like solar or wind I fully expect those oil companies to get their grimy fingers in the honeypot.

Re:Idea (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44511737)

A failure.. lol. Whats a success if MS is a failure? Certainly not whatever your mudder plopped out.

Re:Idea (0)

smooth wombat (796938) | about a year ago | (#44511745)

give everyone free internet

And how do you propose that? Is it your opinion that the equipment and cabling will spontaneously appear from thin air? That the people to maintain these systems don't want to get paid for their work? Is this like "free" healthcare where people are forced to shell out money whether they want to or not and if you don't have the money to pay, everyone else chips in more money to cover you?

Or does the term free refer to you taking or using something without paying for it?

Please define your definition of free.

Re:Idea (3, Insightful)

i_ate_god (899684) | about a year ago | (#44511841)

> Is this like "free" healthcare where people are forced to shell out money whether they want to or not and if you don't have the money to pay, everyone else chips in more money to cover you?

Yes. Why not?

Re:Idea (0, Troll)

smooth wombat (796938) | about a year ago | (#44511963)

If you're shelling out money, it's not free, is it?

Being forced to buy something you may not need or want just so the other guy doesn't have to take personal responsibility is not free.

The Soviets tried that process. Look how well it worked for them.

Re:Idea (2, Funny)

Joining Yet Again (2992179) | about a year ago | (#44512063)

"Look at Hitler. He also liked dogs."

Can we get over this childish need to declare that everything which isn't pure Randite Objectivism is indistinguishable from Stalinism?

Re:Idea (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44512089)

Canada tried that process. Look how well it worked for them.

Oh, wait... it actually worked for them. Sorry, nevermind.

Re:Idea (5, Funny)

SilentStaid (1474575) | about a year ago | (#44512217)

Spoken like a true Canadian, with the apology for the burn at the end.

Re:Idea (4, Informative)

MightyYar (622222) | about a year ago | (#44512121)

The Soviets tried that process. Look how well it worked for them.

That's not the approach that the Soviets took, they went with single provider (like the UK or the VA). Switzerland has the individual mandate, and they are 20 years in and spending 11% of their GDP where we spend 16% of ours.

Re:Idea (5, Interesting)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year ago | (#44512225)

The UK's healthcare system is ill-managed, under-funded, and constantly in traumatic reform as it's become a political football always kicked around between factions. The waiting lists are long, the wards overcrowded, and the hospitals understaffed.

And yet we still managed to beat the US on every major metric of public health, with the exception of cancer survival rates - and we spend a smaller portion of GDP on it via taxes than the US does via insurance premiums and medical bills.

Even our badly-run mess of a single provider manages to beat the US. Really, America... when you are being beaten in the life expectancy charts by the like of *Cuba*, you really need to admit you are failing.

Re:Idea (3, Insightful)

lgw (121541) | about a year ago | (#44511759)

How about we cure malaria AND give everyone free internet

I think if the Google founders were ding both, there'd be no complaint. I've been here to long to be any kind of fan of Bill, but I do admire his focus on charity that makes a concrete difference to people with real and immediate problems.

Lets not get so obsessed with "first world problems" that we forget that millions still die of easily curable and preventable conditions. Sure, better access to education is also key long term, but internet? That's just a disconnect from the reality of the third world. If you want to try to fix the world's problems through education, give to Room to Read [wikipedia.org] , which makes a far more practical day-to-day difference in children's lives. And, yes, the Gates Foundation does gives plenty to them as well.

Thank you! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44511915)

How about we cure malaria AND give everyone free internet

I think if the Google founders were ding both, there'd be no complaint. I've been here to long to be any kind of fan of Bill, but I do admire his focus on charity that makes a concrete difference to people with real and immediate problems.

Lets not get so obsessed with "first world problems" that we forget that millions still die of easily curable and preventable conditions. Sure, better access to education is also key long term, but internet? That's just a disconnect from the reality of the third world. If you want to try to fix the world's problems through education, give to Room to Read [wikipedia.org] , which makes a far more practical day-to-day difference in children's lives. And, yes, the Gates Foundation does gives plenty to them as well.

I agree completely.

When one is starving or horribly sick, the last thing they need is connectivity to the internet.

What? Are they going to go to WebMD, look at their symptoms and then follow the advice of "see your physician."? They would if they could.

These people need medical care, drugs, food and education - not a goddamn laptop.

No a $100 (or whatever) laptop is a HORRIBLELY inefficient use of funds. That $100 can go MUCH farther elsewhere.

internet connectivity and laptops are a First World solution to a non-existant problem - I haven't been convinced that the lack of internet connections is truly a problem in the Third World.

Re:Thank you! (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44512195)

internet connectivity and laptops are a First World solution to a non-existant problem - I haven't been convinced that the lack of internet connections is truly a problem in the Third World.

The lack of internet is not a problem. However lack of opportunity for education is. Providing Internet access is the 21st century version of building a library.

It's not as high up on the priority list of people who are starving or dyeing from disease, but there are issues with simply handing out food and cures. As the saying goes "give a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach him to fish and he eats for a lifetime".

Providing the means for people to educate themselves and solve their own problems is a better long term solution, and there's no reason to not pursue it in parallel to the more imminent handouts.

Re:Idea (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44512045)

Of course the ugly truth is that you can't fix disease or poverty in any of those places where they are endemic by handing out medicines and training people. Until you can jail all of the corrupt dictators, war lords, and their cronies the stuff you distribute ends up in their warehouses and is sold by them for profit. The skills people learn are worth exactly squat when they can't ply their trade because there is no real economy. It is hard - too hard for me, I am not smart enough to solve it - to fix the root problems. But until the bad actors and bullies are driven out you can throw lots of money at these problems and they just persist.

Re:Idea (3, Insightful)

DragonWriter (970822) | about a year ago | (#44512093)

> I've been here to long to be any kind of fan of Bill, but I do admire his focus on charity that makes a concrete difference to people with real and immediate problems.

Access to communication networks helps address lots of real and immediate problems.

> Lets not get so obsessed with "first world problems" that we forget that millions still die of easily curable and preventable conditions.

Let's not get so obsessed with narrow, paternalistic solutions that we don't direct efforts toward things that empower people by giving them access to resources/tool that they can use to address their own concerns, like microcredit-fueled economic development or improved communication infrastructure.

Generalities. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44512227)

Access to communication networks helps address lots of real and immediate problems.

How? Tell me how searching the interent for a 'solution' only to find out that it's not available to them, they don't have the money, or access to materials.

They search for a cure for their diarrhea and find that they need a drug for that. Gee, wonder where they are going to get that let alone the money to pay for it?

Let's not get so obsessed with narrow, paternalistic solutions that we don't direct efforts toward things that empower people by giving them access to resources/tool that they can use to address their own concerns, like microcredit-fueled economic development or improved communication infrastructure.

Complete and utter gibberish.

GIBBERISH!

How about something concrete?

That is what Gates is trying to do. Get them what they actually need.

Re:Idea (5, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | about a year ago | (#44511769)

The Gates foundation follows a very methodological approach to charity.
They calculate how much good you will get per dollar. The gates foundation sees the Cost of curing malaria vs. the Good of curing malaria is a good deal. While Internet balloons cost vs good is much less.

It isn't as much that Internet balloons are a bad idea, however the good produced from it isn't worth the cost.

   

Re:Idea (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year ago | (#44511861)

And honestly, that's a really important factor in charity, on top of the somewhat lazy metric of "How much does middle(and upper) management swipe along the way?"

Re:Idea (2, Insightful)

X0563511 (793323) | about a year ago | (#44511913)

I don't think it "isn't worth the cost" but I do think it "isn't quite as beneficial"

Is there something bad about raising the standard of living, or providing access to information? Not at all. Is that better than stamping out a deadly disease? Not necessarily, but if the access to information lets those affected manage their own care better (or not get sick to begin with) then it gets very hard to judge.

Re:Idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44512037)

It isn't as much that Internet balloons are a bad idea, however the good produced from it isn't worth the cost.

Without a cost benefit analysis you can't conclude that. I would imagine Internet balloons are cheap and mostly pay for themselves.
Google will make money by simply collecting data in the region.
Information is valuable. Ads aren't the only way to make money.

Re:Idea (2)

nine-times (778537) | about a year ago | (#44512197)

It isn't as much that Internet balloons are a bad idea, however the good produced from it isn't worth the cost.

... according to Bill Gates' accountants' speculative judgments and calculations. Without a clear explanation of how you define the amount of "good produced", that judgment isn't worth a whole lot to me.

Re:Idea (4, Insightful)

MightyYar (622222) | about a year ago | (#44512211)

If you approach all problems that way, nothing at the bottom of the pile ever gets fixed. I'm glad that there are eccentric people out there that want to help even the smaller numbers of people. It's like a big bug database with a whole bunch of level 5 bugs that never get addressed because everyone chases the higher priority stuff. Pretty soon you end up with thousands of unresolved "minor" bugs that make your software seem crappy even though most of the big bugs are fixed. Life is like that, too. You might wonder why your house looks like shit even though it is structurally sound, has a good roof, and all of the appliances work. Turns out it's because you haven't done any decorating in 20 years. Sure, it's trivial, but when you add up all the minor stuff, the minor stuff starts to look more important in aggregate.

I have no idea if internet access would be as helpful as clean drinking water. I mean, in the short term it is a no-brainier, but will the improvement stick around when the Gate Foundation leaves or will the people start dying again? I honestly don't know the answer, but I'm glad someone is trying to build up their lacking internet infrastructure with their own money that could have just gone to another party jet. It might not help as much as clean drinking water, but it certainly won't do any harm.

Re:Idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44511821)

Just curing malaria is still pretty good. And if there are resources to be spread, Gates is absolutely right, malaria is definitely more important to cure than providing internet access (unless the cure for malaria is something that you'll get off of the internet but you need a significant infrastructure to do that).

Re:Idea (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44511833)

If a multi-billion dollar company that produced an operating system that was a pillar of the technological revolution I've seen in my lifetime is a failure, I suddenly feel much worse about my own life.

Re:Idea (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44511875)

Jealous Bill Gates is jealous!

Re:Idea (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about a year ago | (#44511937)

I never thought Bill Gates was a jealous hater.

Nothing in this interview leads me to that conclusion. The sharp elbows and unapologetic advocacy for helping people in developing countries impressed me more than anything else he has done.

Space investment (1)

wiredlogic (135348) | about a year ago | (#44511693)

But it's not an area that I'll be putting money into.

Got burned by Teledesic [wikipedia.org] he did.

He's right, of course. (3, Interesting)

Joining Yet Again (2992179) | about a year ago | (#44511697)

Successful man, bright man, ruthless man, and entirely correct.

Bill Gates grew up. Page and Brin may still have some growing up to do, but Bezos has no excuse. And Musk's work has always been overrated, though it's almost geek suicide to suggest so.

He's wrong, of course. (-1, Troll)

djupedal (584558) | about a year ago | (#44511813)

Very funny....and very wrong.

The day BG comes up with any kind of vision (Road Ahead tanked)... Let's see anything he does that fails to involve and benefit from Google in some way. He's just a mouthpiece for Bing.

How they use Google in the Third World (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44511991)

Very funny....and very wrong.

The day BG comes up with any kind of vision (Road Ahead tanked)... Let's see anything he does that fails to involve and benefit from Google in some way. He's just a mouthpiece for Bing.

Third World person - starving, sick, uneducated - goes to Google:

"How the fuck do I get out of this shit hole"

Then they go to Reddit and ask the same thing and get posts like this:

"Become white"

"Stop being a muslim"

"Get a job'

They then Ask Slashdot:

"Well, if you studied engineering or CS instead of humanities, you wouldn't be where you are!"

"Start a business! Worked for me! My las employer is my client and I couldn't be happier!'

Yep, the Internet and Google has all the solutions!

Re:How they use Google in the Third World (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | about a year ago | (#44512103)

We only went to slashdot and reddit etc AFTER we found wikipedia. Lets not forget that KNOWLEDGE IS POWER. What good is it to save millions of starving people only to leave them in squalor forever? Education and information is just as important in the long term.

Actually, he is wrong. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44511825)

Spreading knowledge of how malaria spreads and how to stop it will stop FAR more cases than a proprietary malaria treatment.

boil water. and explain why, and how (to short a time is almost as bad as not doing it at all). Drain swamps, kill the mosquito.

Knowledge is power...

Re:Actually, he is wrong. (2)

barlevg (2111272) | about a year ago | (#44511971)

You can do that far more cheaply and effectively with pamphlets than with floating wifi hotspots that still require computers on the ground. The general point that knowledge is power is a good one, and the calculation I'd like to see is how many people are not dying of malaria thanks to the Gates foundation's contributions, vs. how many people are getting access to the internet thanks to Google's baloons. If the ratio is 1:1 or even 1:2, I think Gates has a point. But if, say, 20 students are able to take online courses and educate themselves for every person who is cured of malaria, then Google's initiative has merit. I just have no idea what the death rates due to malaria are right now, nor how many people in these regions have access to wifi-capable computers.

Re:Actually, he is wrong. (1)

NeoNormal (594362) | about a year ago | (#44512017)

Spreading knowledge of how malaria spreads and how to stop it will stop FAR more cases than a proprietary malaria treatment.

boil water. and explain why, and how (to short a time is almost as bad as not doing it at all). Drain swamps, kill the mosquito.

Knowledge is power...

Correct... internet (knowledge) = long term solution. Treatment = short term. Both have value.

Re:Actually, he is wrong. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44512175)

Recurring drugs and recurring spray applications are all Gates is interested in, and only in selection countries that are friendly to his view of patents. He's not giving away his wealth, he's expanding his investments in areas where poor have little or no choice. His organization will have one set of people, but move 20 miles away over a border, you'll see the Gates Foundation won't give a shit how many people are dying.

Re:He's right, of course. (1, Insightful)

RearNakedChoke (1102093) | about a year ago | (#44511835)

Why is Bill Gates comparing himself to a corporation like Google? Of course a retired billionaire can be 100% charitable and provide free physical goods and services to poor countries. What the hell has Microsoft done for the poor?

Re:He's right, of course. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44511907)

+1

H1-B (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44512077)

Why is Bill Gates comparing himself to a corporation like Google? Of course a retired billionaire can be 100% charitable and provide free physical goods and services to poor countries. What the hell has Microsoft done for the poor?

Got them into the H1-B program?

Re:He's right, of course. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44512147)

Made Bill Gates rich?

Re:He's right, of course. (-1, Troll)

Princeofcups (150855) | about a year ago | (#44511851)

Successful man, bright man, ruthless man, and entirely correct.

Bill Gates grew up. Page and Brin may still have some growing up to do, but Bezos has no excuse. And Musk's work has always been overrated, though it's almost geek suicide to suggest so.

My god, how many times do I have to point it out. I know millionaires. They live in a world that is completely different from the one that most people live in. If you think the joke about "first world problems" is germane, just wait until we see which mother has the biggest diamond ring at the next social wedding. Then all hell breaks loose. Bill Gates did NOT grow up. A sociopath does NOT turn into a caring person as they grow older. However these pet projects have always been a bragging point in those circles. Back in Chicago it was Friends of the Chicago River verses Friends of the Parks. The bored rich ladies who started these foundations hated each other with a passion, and would do anything to sabotage the other. That's right, sociopaths with bragging rights.

So he runs an illegal monopoly rough shod over the competition, destroying companies and lives, and now he gives a few pennies to promote his image. Yawn. Do NOT fall for this. Why Malaria? Because no one was doing it yet. Bragging rights. I can think of a dozen better ways to spend that money, but other rich fucks have those already. If he wants to do good, how about paying taxes, reparations for the companies that he destroyed, jail time for the politicians that he bought, etc.

Now mod me to oblivion. For some reason Slashdot just can't not drink this cool-aid.

Re:He's right, of course. (4, Insightful)

the gnat (153162) | about a year ago | (#44511961)

I can think of a dozen better ways to spend that money, but other rich fucks have those already. If he wants to do good, how about paying taxes, reparations for the companies that he destroyed, jail time for the politicians that he bought, etc.

Fine, what are the dozen other better ways to spend the money than trying to cure diseases that afflict millions? Paying taxes instead is simply going to perpetuate our military-industrial complex and bloated entitlement programs. I honestly don't care if Bill Gates is doing this work out of the goodness of his heart or just because he's an egotist; I care about whether it actually does some good. It won't excuse the awful mess that is Microsoft Windows, but if he really does help end malaria, he'll have improved vastly more lives than he ever destroyed (and frankly I'm skeptical that anyone's life was "destroyed" by his business practices; some people simply didn't get rich. boo-hoo.).

Now mod me to oblivion. For some reason Slashdot just can't not drink this cool-aid.

Trite statements like this just make you look like a self-absorbed douche. At least two-thirds of the comments on this story so far are anti-Gates, so you're not exactly speaking truth to power here.

Re:He's right, of course. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44512009)

You are Elon Musk and I claim my five dollars.

Re:He's right, of course. (1)

1s44c (552956) | about a year ago | (#44512055)

From a purely pragmatic point of view it doesn't matter why he is doing what he is doing, it only matters that he is doing it.

Re:He's right, of course. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44512091)

A sociopath does NOT turn into a caring person as they grow older.

I think you're confusing Bill Gates with Steve Jobs.

If he wants to do good, how about paying taxes, reparations for the companies that he destroyed, jail time for the politicians that he bought, etc.

This seems more jealousy-tantrum based than reality-based. Microsoft paid taxes (certainly more assiduously than other notable high-tech firms), "reparations" is some kind of weird extra-legal claim for arbitrary compensation for, essentially bundling IE and perhaps, -perhaps- leveraging that to attempt to ensure victory of a browser application, versus Apple's control of all possible applications through a locked-down channel--and the politicians weren't bought, they helped themselves to Microsoft's earnings through the penalties/seizures for the "monopoly". If there is an apparent legitimate moral complaint in your screed, it is that there wasn't even the pretense of companies "harmed" getting the money, it went straight to the government and their lawyers.

And, again in contrast to the aforementioned, he is not known for treating his developers and engineers like shit as he siphoned off their productivity with the qualifications of a liberal-arts student who happened to be an outlier in his comfort-level with treating people like shit.

Re:He's right, of course. (2)

durrr (1316311) | about a year ago | (#44511975)

A private and cheap spacelaunch firm is something overrated? What?

Vaccine's are bad (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44511735)

Appropriate: http://www.deesillustration.com/artwork.asp?item=618&cat=satire

Re:Vaccine's are bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44511779)

An anti-vaxxer who isn't smart enough to know how to use apostrophes correctly? I'm shocked!

Lack of Vision (4, Insightful)

lazarus (2879) | about a year ago | (#44511741)

"I guess it's fun, because you shoot rockets up in the air," he said. "But it's not an area that I'll be putting money into."

Sounds like he has no more vision now than he did when he was running Microsoft. I am totally in favour of his philanthropic work, and I agree with him that we should solve the difficult people problems first, but dismissing space exploration or the benefits of connectivity for the purposes of educating the third world out of poverty is short sighted.

Re:Lack of Vision (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about a year ago | (#44512213)

Early on Gates focused his giving in ways which still somehow benefited Microsoft - i.e. education, but only for purchase of Windows PCs. If people in developing countries could benefit from technology he wanted to focus on Microsoft, even if it didn't run on any devices these people could support or use for very long.

As for space, that could mean a delay in Microsoft in space? Wull, unless Mr. Ballmer takes his fortune and decides Microsoft needs to carve out the CyberSpace in Space for their own...

"Hey, I just saw something float past the window ... it looked like an office chair."

That's Just Silly (5, Insightful)

cervesaebraciator (2352888) | about a year ago | (#44511747)

Microsoft isn't out saving the poor from malaria, Bill Gates is. Why should Bill Gates expect Google as a corporation to be doing what he's doing as an individual philanthropist, rather than floating internet balloons which holds long-term potential for shareholders?

Re:That's Just Silly (2)

Andrio (2580551) | about a year ago | (#44511823)

Gates' comment is just PR speak. If it were MS doing the balloons internet thing, he wouldn't have said it. Furthermore, he's comparing a billionaire philanthropist's work with one of the many side projects of a corporation. It's not even Apples (lol) to Oranges. It's more like Apples to Potatoes.

Gates may not have much to do with MS these days, but he still of course has an allegiance to the company that was his baby for so long. He'll swipe at Google any chance he gets.

Re:That's Just Silly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44511933)

Well he does have a point. And, it applies to Microsoft and other companies as well. There should be some attempt to give back to the world with what they can.

Re:That's Just Silly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44511855)

Smells like False Dichotomy.

I'm sure BG would be happy with any of the founders putting personal money into charity rather than rockets or personal (ahem, yes, personal, regardless of how it's listed on the books) jet #N.

Re:That's Just Silly (4, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year ago | (#44511891)

Gates is a typical alpha-geek. Hyper-competitive, he's always looking for ways to show he is better than other people, always has. It's something that motivates him.

Now he's interested in doing philanthropy, he's finding ways his philanthropy is better than what everyone else is doing. If you read interviews with him back in the 80s (like this one [amazon.com] ), you'll see he does the same thing.

Re:That's Just Silly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44512031)

This quote was part of an extensive interview in response to a question explicitly about Google's internet balloons.

That was a controversial question (because of MS vs Google) designed to generate news articles and page views. These are great questions to throw in if you're a news interviewer, they add a ton of exposure to a story.

Rule of thumb (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44512059)

When a person speaks negatively about another person or group, it usually says more about the person doing the talking (i.e. their own personal agenda) rather than the person being talked about.

The older I get, the more reliable this rule of thumb gets.

The thing I'm doing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44511749)

is better than things that other guys are doing. Film at 11.

Memories (1, Troll)

Jahoda (2715225) | about a year ago | (#44511757)

I personally have a hard time keeping track of all of the humanitarian efforts Microsoft engaged in while they abused their monopoly position to crush competitors without even the slightest regard for morality and decency. You know, because there were so many. I very much admire Mr. Gates and the work of his foundation - there is no question they have done and are doing wonderful things. But quite a lot of revisionism going on in his head, it seems. I wonder where he thinks his wealth came from?

Ugh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44511775)

He runs his charity like a business, holding its existence to be more important than the deaths and negative health consequences of the companies its invests in and profits from, and he still has the gall to be a dick about possibly doing more help than Google. Good work, Saint Bill, I'll always remember you for what you've done.

Re:Ugh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44511881)

I should have written, "holding a small % of ROI to be more important than the deaths and negative health consequences", but the end result is that it's because he wants to ensure the foundation exists more than he wants to ensure the foundation doesn't play a role in harming people.

As much as I like Bill Gates (3, Interesting)

Barlo_Mung_42 (411228) | about a year ago | (#44511777)

I think he's wrong about the importance of space exploration. He's trapped on this sphere just like the rest of us and one stray gamma ray burst could end us all with zero warning. Figuring out how to spread out is a worthy human endeavor.

He should hand out Surface tablets in Africa (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44511793)

if theres one place they have a chance of going viral, its there!

Clean water, sewage, vaccines & electricity... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44511801)

... these will have the greatest improvements in people's lives in the developing world.

Healthcare is important (1)

Jawnn (445279) | about a year ago | (#44511803)

But I submit that seeing to it that children, especially girls, receive a proper (i.e. secular) education would go even further.

Gates Foundation vs. Google (Huh???) (1)

Lluc (703772) | about a year ago | (#44511807)

I did not read TFA, but in the summary it seems like Gates is complaining that Google is not doing humanitarian work like he does through the Gates foundation. What sense does this make? How much money does Microsoft Corporation give to comfort kids with malaria or diarrhea?

Space exploration a waste of money (1)

starworks5 (139327) | about a year ago | (#44511819)

Using absurd amounts of resources and energy, to go to a place which is environmentally unfriendly, much like going to the bottom of the ocean, something that is best performed cheaply with robots. Beyond having those robots to help us learn things better, the whole idea of "manifest destiny" is utterly absurd at this point in time, we have completely more realistic priorities. We dont need an aerospace (and defense) "bubble" of fake capital, we dont need to be wasting precious minds on this nonsense, and the last people we should be serving is the super rich.

Re:Space exploration a waste of money (4, Insightful)

lazarus (2879) | about a year ago | (#44511941)

"The Earth is just too small and fragile a basket for the human race to keep all its eggs in."
--Robert A. Heinlein.

I understand what you are saying, but I just don't agree. Despite what Hollywood tells you, when that asteroid is on its way Bruce Willis will not be able to save you. We need options, and the sooner the better. "A footnote of history" will be a meaningless phrase (though apropos) if there is nobody to write or read it.

Although somehow it would be fitting if the only thing to survive were the space robots...

Either or ... it is a logical fallacy Mr. Gates (3, Interesting)

EngineeringStudent (3003337) | about a year ago | (#44511827)

Education does more to liberate women than medical service. Education is available over the internet. Acculturation too. This includes education about culture and medicine - health. Why give a person a fish (or a vaccine) when you can teach them how to fish (or make their own vaccines) more efficiently through online educational programs. EdX - valuable stuff there.

not really a "fight" - thank God... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44511829)

Bill Gates does not waste his time "attacking" Google - he just answers questions.

-question: "One of Google’s (GOOG) convictions is that bringing Internet connectivity to less-developed countries can lead to all sorts of secondary benefits. It has a project to float broadband transmitters on balloons. Can bringing Internet access to parts of the world that don’t have it help solve problems?"
-answer: "When you’re dying of malaria, I suppose you’ll look up and see that balloon, and I’m not sure how it’ll help you. When a kid gets diarrhea, no, there’s no website that relieves that. Certainly I’m a huge believer in the digital revolution. And connecting up primary-health-care centers, connecting up schools, those are good things. But no, those are not, for the really low-income countries, unless you directly say we’re going to do something about malaria.
Google started out saying they were going to do a broad set of things. They hired Larry Brilliant, and they got fantastic publicity. And then they shut it all down. Now they’re just doing their core thing. Fine. But the actors who just do their core thing are not going to uplift the poor."

The same about the "shooting rockets" thing!
-question: "There are other successful businessmen who are orienting their extracurricular interests around space exploration. Is that interesting to you? Is that worthwhile for humanity?"
-answer: "Everybody’s got their own priorities. In terms of improving the state of humanity, I don’t see the direct connection. I guess it’s fun, because you shoot rockets up in the air. But it’s not an area that I’ll be putting money into."

Keep saving the world Bill - God bless you!

Re:not really a "fight" - thank God... (1)

slash.jit (2893213) | about a year ago | (#44512125)

Right.. I hope one day Bill Gates foundation doesn't have to use internet in these areas using Google Baloon for helping in their work. Cause then it would be like Steve Jobs saying 8 inch tablets will never work.

Re:not really a "fight" - thank God... (3, Informative)

MozeeToby (1163751) | about a year ago | (#44512223)

"When you’re dying of malaria, I suppose you’ll look up and see that balloon, and I’m not sure how it’ll help you. When a kid gets diarrhea, no, there’s no website that relieves that.

When my kid gets diarrhea the first thing I did was went online to lookup what the causes could be, what the home remedies (if any) were, at what point I should be concerned enough to schedule a doctor visit (or an ER visit for that matter). If a doctor visit is necessary I can then look up what doctors are nearby and accepting patients, or schedule an appointment with our existing doctor, or check wait and travel times to an emergency center. So... yes, there is in fact a website (several actually) that helps me cope with my child being sick, it can't magically cure them, but it can help manage resources (both parental and medical network resources) much more efficiently.

google diarrhea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44511837)

The internet may not relieve diarrhea or any other disease, but a someone might look up information on how to treat diarrhea, such as keeping yourself hydrated, types of medicine that help curb it, etc. Of course, it's all moot if you do not have a computer, but hey nothing is perfect.

"Ok, FINE!" (2)

briancox2 (2417470) | about a year ago | (#44511869)

"Ok, FINE! Surface can't compete with Android tablets. But my goodness is better than your goodness!"

Childish?

Sooooo... (2)

malkavian (9512) | about a year ago | (#44511871)

Bill Gates made his money from screwing people over and devastating an industry. This saw his personal wealth become huge.
Now, he puts bits of the personal wealth into altruistic things. That's how it used to work (where the industry barons used to sponsor altruistic actions, before the State really got into it).
What he's doing is calling Google as a company out on not doing something that Microsoft is also not doing. If the Google founders end up with the personal wealth he's accumulated, then sure, call them out individually for not doing their bit. If they don't make the billions Gates has done, then perhaps their contributions will also be lesser.
Compare like for like; it's great to do altruistic deeds.. But don't use those as a bludgeoning stick to boost your own ego and agendas...

Re:Sooooo... (2)

TheSync (5291) | about a year ago | (#44511925)

Bill Gates made his money from screwing people over and devastating an industry.

Yeah, because personal computers were so cool before Windows. Too bad we don't have Commodore 64's any more! Oh wait, they had Microsoft Basic in them anyway.

Re:Sooooo... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44512141)

Yeah, because personal computers were so cool before Windows. Too bad we don't have Commodore 64's any more! Oh wait, they had Microsoft Basic in them anyway.

There were many better operating systems at the time Windows came into power and I'm sure you know that. Sarcasm just makes you look stupid.

This drivel reminds me of the following exchange (1)

korbulon (2792438) | about a year ago | (#44511921)

Fitzgerald: The rich are different than you and me.

Hemingway: Yes, they have more money.

Gates is an idiot (1)

QuietLagoon (813062) | about a year ago | (#44511957)

The wi-fi balloons will provide the needed networking infrastructure in those areas, infrastructure that assists the medical and other health professionals with their tasks.

.
Gates needs to look past his self-important blinders.

Waste of whose money? (0, Flamebait)

pboy2k5 (840416) | about a year ago | (#44511959)

Dear Bill Gates, Please refund all the money we "wasted" for buying the crappy Windows OS with the BSOD that got you really rich. I can't imagine how much money people have lost because their computers got the BSOD and didn't have the chance to save their work. Then you can rip over Google for "wasting" their money on some hot air balloon. Sounds like the pot calling the kettle black.

Different Strokes? (1)

MMC Monster (602931) | about a year ago | (#44511989)

Different strokes for different folks. You would think he would know that.

And you would think he would be secure enough in what he's done that he doesn't have to tear down others.

Right and wrong (2)

SinShiva (1429617) | about a year ago | (#44512015)

While Bill Gates isn't necessarily wrong, this is kind of awkward to see. I'm glad that Bill Gates cares enough to help countries in need of healthcare reform, however i would imagine those same countries would be glad for technologies that would enable them to figure out things like that for themselves. They are both covering relatively immediate needs.

So, I wonder if Bill Gates has considered asking Google's humanitarian projects if they might like to dedicate some resources to helping improving (and reducing cost of) the tech side of healthcare, which would be of the best ways to use a resource like Google, aside from throwing money at the problem.

Regardless, story feels incomplete or Bill needs to communicate.

He's forgetting... (2)

Alejux (2800513) | about a year ago | (#44512021)

that one of the best things to stop the spread of these diseases, is education. Vaccines won't remove poverty and promote more infrastructure to 3rd world countries.

50 billion dollar question (1)

stanlyb (1839382) | about a year ago | (#44512039)

If you are to get 50 billion dollars, how would you proceed to avoid pay taxes, and to keep your money for yourself?

Irrational stupidity (1, Insightful)

AdmV0rl0n (98366) | about a year ago | (#44512047)

I've grown more and more fed up of this kind of posturing from people like Gates.

While its nice that he is working on vaccines and is on a crusade for healthcare, the world has far deeper problems. We have entire failed states where stupid people have children that they simply cannot look after. They cannot feed them. They cannot educate them. This behaviour has become one where its rewarded and not penalised. This isn;t viable. It cannot work. Its_not going_to_work - They cannot economise the places where they live - and yet birth rates and economic collapse is only underwritten and fueled by people like Gates. Entire cities are now based around being refugees, and living off food aid and have no sustainable living capability at all - and are only maintained by wholly bankrupt operandai.

The human population on this planet is exploding. There are 7 billion, 103 Million, 448,849 people and its sky rocketting upwards. The numbers of people and growth are going to dwarf Gates vaccine programs, and food aid, and the numbers of people dying will upward curve, and I don't wish harm directly on anyone - but the fucking source of problems has to be faced.

For every child Gates saves, his program better be ten fold bigger to treat the children that will come from it. Same for food aid.

The programs that people like Gates are running paint a picture of fighting poverty. That is true. They fight short term poverty. They *do not* fight long term poverty, deprivation, or lack of healthcare. They create the fuel on which the next wave will burn.

At some point, the inhuman reality will have to be faced. Unsustainable human growth and failed states, on land that cannot sustain the populations, will run out of even generous people's large donations. Even if the most humanitarian people keep swinging, at some point round 12 billion, and even with advances in food, the reality is huge death tolls.

This can only be stopped now, and it can only be stopped now by harsher policies that at least focus people to behave and change their ways. Humans have for millenia realised that population control can become a scenario that cannot be avoided, except in our own population. Somehow this has become skewed to the degree that we refuse to believe it, and will avoid it no matter what the cost or logic.

Re:Irrational stupidity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44512185)

you have to also flip that around. Us here in comfortable, Elysian-like lifestyles (compare even rural hard-scrabble life to that in Somalia, Haiti, refugee camps, slums of Cairo, Rio De Janiero, et al), really have no clue. Our lives and lifestyles really are propped high on the backs of many people.

I do enjoy my very comfortable lifestyle, but realize that it is a bit of a pyramid game compared to the rest of the world, and it could come crashing down unexpectedly, whether in a macro (societal) sense or individual level (open your eyes and see the homeless... not all of them are meth heads, alcoholics, schizophrenics, etc). You or I are a traumatic brain injury away from a comfortable lifestyle to existing on disability payments.

Oooo... Look at me! (1)

nine-times (778537) | about a year ago | (#44512085)

Oooo... Look at me! I'm a multi-billionaire dilettante! I made all my money screwing over the little guy, engaging in unethical business practices, but now I'm the best person in the world because I gave some money to malaria. That's right, I screwed y'all out of so much money, that after buying my mansions and getting bored being a super-rich asshole, I still had plenty to spend on African diseases!

Oh, some other rich guys also donate to charitable causes? Well, are those charitable causes MUTHERFUKIN MALARIA?! No? Well then I shit on all of their efforts. In fact, the world just grind to a halt right now, and everyone should focus on 2 things:

1) Wiping out malaria, because that's the only problem that matters.
2) Talking about how awesome I am, because I'm donating some of my money to wiping out malaria.

High pricetag (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44512139)

The way everything Gates says is a dismissal of the activities of other wealthy institutions, I'm forced to conclude that what Gates is spending his money on is in fact a license to feel self-righteous.

Is Bill Gates only using money that he acquired... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44512145)

prior to starting Microsoft or is he now so full of himself that he can preach to the rest of the world?

How humanitarian was he when he was destroying lives to make his fortune?

Bill Gates has a guilty conscience and is having trouble living with himself so he is out to right the world. maybe is he wasn't soo greedy there would be more humanitarians contributing to his cause. What a hypocrite.

Gates is worthless (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44512157)

Right now, he is picking projects that make him look good. However, like his OS, it will come with major hits.
At this time, all of the locations that have malaria issues, have a very high death rate and local resources are strained badly. So, what happens if this is cured? It will put far more pressure on the local resources.

Instead, if gates REALLY wanted to help, he would cut way back on Malaria R&D and instead push for new businesses that do 2-way trade with all of these locations. In addition, put in schools and push education. Finally, make certain that it is the SMALL guy that gets the new businesses and not war-lords. By doing this and helping these locations to build up their economy, they will over time, clean up the environment and solve these issues. BUT, to be able to do this, you must have a decent economy.

Google is the ones that have it right. They are working on developing new ideas and new businesses. Not just in the west, but all over. They tried it in China and found that it was disaster (not surprising). However, if Google pushes for 2-way trade with Africa, middle east, and Latin America, they will improve many many lives and help re-start the global economy.

What an ass. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44512193)

What nonsense. Gates is a hypocrite. For years he could have cared less about anyone else on the planet apart from how much he could get out of them. Now that he's got his, he's going to tell all of us how it's supposed to be. It's not Google's job to save the world. It's not Bill Gate's job either. It's a job that belongs to all of us. Gates lives under, and promotes, the illusion that only people with money have the ability to do any good in this world. He used to bill himself as the world's greatest "innovator". Now he wants us to believe he is the world's greatest philanthropist. What a deluded, egotistical, pompous ass. I dislike him worse than ever.

How about... (2)

benjfowler (239527) | about a year ago | (#44512207)

... teaching people to keep their dicks to themselves and stop multiplying?

Because if we don't stop ourselves, Mother Nature will do the stopping for us -- and it won't be pretty.

And Microsoft is doing what, exactly? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year ago | (#44512215)

Google focusing on its core mission is fine, he added, "but the actors who just do their core thing are not going to uplift the poor."

And what, exactly, is Microsoft doing to uplift the poor and how are they different? Anything? What were you doing to get Microsoft to help uplift the poor when you were the CEO besides trying to get vendor lock-in in schools and charities?

Arguably, Google is doing nothing different than every other corporation -- and singling out what they are doing with technology initiatives has nothing whatsoever to do with what he chooses to do with his charities.

Google as a corporation is pursuing technology stuff. So is Microsoft.

The whole article is a red herring and just a sensational headline. It boils down to "rich asshole berates a company for doing the exact same things as the company he founded still does today".

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