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Bill Gates Promotes Vaccine Projects, Swipes At Google 481

Posted by timothy
from the imagine-needles-vs-blimps-as-a-video-game dept.
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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Bill Gates Promotes Vaccine Projects, Swipes At Google

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  • Idea (Score:4, Insightful)

    by twistedcubic (577194) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @01:38PM (#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 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Joining Yet Again (2992179) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @01:41PM (#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 (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Penguinisto (415985) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @01:55PM (#44511883) Journal

        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 (Score:5, Informative)

        by rudy_wayne (414635) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @02:05PM (#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 (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

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

          You people are f*cking mentally ill.

        • Re:Idea (Score:5, Insightful)

          by DigiShaman (671371) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @02:20PM (#44512149) Homepage

          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 (Score:5, Insightful)

            by oGMo (379) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @03:35PM (#44512915)

            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.

            I don't see the GP missing this at all, merely pointing out the less-than-philanthropic side of The Gates Foundation. The GP is saying more that the foundation is a front for Gates' personal profit than actually doing something good.

            Your point is more applicable to Gates' statement itself: Google's providing wifi, thus education, and hopefully thus good health, is more useful than second- and third-world countries becoming dependent on first-world drugs. Ideally, information on things like purifying water, health, etc can be provided to establish self-sufficiency. Of course, this may not work out ideally, but it's something more toward the root of the problem than establishing control by drugs.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by ackthpt (218170)

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

          • Re:Idea (Score:5, Interesting)

            by wireloose (759042) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @02:34PM (#44512301)
            Dow manufactured Agent Orange for the military. Only last year, Dow finally agreed with the EPA to clean up dioxin spills around its plant in Midland, Michigan, where they produced dioxin for almost 100 years, and it fought the cleanup for almost 20 years. That alone is a very bad record. If you really want more citations, just use Google. There are plenty.
            • Re:Idea (Score:5, Interesting)

              by Artifakt (700173) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @04:07PM (#44513279)

              Dow has what I would argue is an objectively bad record, but...
                        One of the reasons you can say "very bad" and ackthpt can say "very good" is that "bad" or "good" for Dow usually means 'in comparison to other representitives of the industry'. (I don't claim to know what either you or ackthpt were thinking, beyond what you or he (?) actually posted, but that does seem to be common to many people making such evaluations).
                          Many people forget that Union Carbide is now a wholly owned Dow subsidiary, but at the time of the Bhopal disaster, was a competing corporation - Dow bought them 17 years later. Do we count that as Dow was at least better than UC, and UC is not as bad now that Dow owns it, or not? Surely we don't blame Bhopal on Dow?
                          Morton-Thiokol had a magnesium related explosion in 1971 that killed 29 people and injured about 50 others, but the official cause of that one is that the US government gave them some very bad advice about some unusual additional explosive risks, known to the military but not to most civilian chemists, in storing magnesium based flares in extreme bulk, in spaces which didn't have powered venting and detectors, and otherwise even hundreds of flares burning off wouldn't have led to an actual explosion. Probably, M-T has a better environmental record for the same time frame than Dow, but that's if we believe the causes of the M-T 1971 Georgia explosion have been adequately analyzed by the courts.
                      The chemical industry in general is bad on both the safety and environmental records. Searching for "Chemical Industry Accidents", "Industrial Disasters" or such terms doesn't yield much evidence, but try searching for "Superfund Sites" and see how many of these tie to the major chemical industry players. Even if Dow somehow stood near the top of the pack in their industry (they don't), it's a lousy industry.

        • Re:Idea (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Joining Yet Again (2992179) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @02:21PM (#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 (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Ioldanach (88584) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @02:56PM (#44512539)

            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"? ...

            Also bear in mind that substantial investments in major corporations can give the investor some sway in the corporation's decisions. If a major stakeholder threatens to pull out, it can injure the corporation, so when a major stakeholder tries to effect change, the corporation is more likely to listen.

          • Re:Idea (Score:4, Funny)

            by Darinbob (1142669) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @02:59PM (#44512573)

            Well clearly, until we find a charity that is perfect in all regards we should only give our money towards getting faster internet.

        • Re:Idea (Score:4, Insightful)

          by bberens (965711) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @02:24PM (#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 (Score:5, Insightful)

            by oGMo (379) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @03:28PM (#44512843)

            You're overlooking the bigger picture in an attempt to rationalize [wikipedia.org] your portfolio. Your "good investment" makes money when people want the stock, which generally means when the company does well (or just looks good). The company and its board own the majority of those shares. A windfall for you is a massive increase in their net. Anytime you make money from them, they are making tons of money doing probably-bad things and passing those profits on to willing investors. You.

            If everyone on the other hand tried to sell the stock, the value would crash and the company would go under because everyone was trying to jump ship and sell to squeeze the last bit of profit out of it. But they don't, because people, yourself included, are completely supporting them doing bad things, because they give you money. Rationalize all you want, but you are a supporter.

        • Re:Idea (Score:5, Interesting)

          by stymy (1223496) <pdezuviria@gm a i l . com> on Thursday August 08, 2013 @04:07PM (#44513273)
          The Gates Foundation is run as a business, which is why it has been so successful thus far. One side effect of that is that the investing branch of the charity is completely separate from the charity part. So the investors just try to maximize the return on investment of the Foundation, while the charity people figure out how to spend the money.
        • by msobkow (48369)

          What you're saying is that the foundation's funding isn't run by the same people as it's charity branch. This is no surprise, as very few charitable organizations and investments are profitable, and if the foundation is to survive long-term, it has to earn revenue.

          Now that's not to say that I agree with the idea of developing something like clean energy technologies while investing in oil companies, but I can understand the rationale. One could even look at it as a classic case of robbing Peter to pay

    • Re:Idea (Score:4, Insightful)

      by lgw (121541) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @01:45PM (#44511759) Journal

      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.

      • Re:Idea (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 08, 2013 @02:10PM (#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 (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Darinbob (1142669) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @03:07PM (#44512647)

          You can do something though! Do you refuse to do anything to help even one person with disease because it won't fix the entire problem? No, you start by helping people. People standing on the sidelines aren't helping at all when they say "Doomed to fail, just saying 'told you so today' to save time tomorrow."

          Throwing money at problem can also lessen the problems even if they don't eliminate it entirely. Imagine how much worse it would be if there weren't the free medicines or trained doctors.

          Perfect is the enemy of the good.

      • Re:Idea (Score:4, Insightful)

        by DragonWriter (970822) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @02:15PM (#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.

        • Re:Idea (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Charliemopps (1157495) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @02:28PM (#44512237)

          I've been to africa. Internets not going to do them a damn bit of good. Most don't even have toilets. I watched a man die in front of my eyes because he fell a short distance out of a tree and there were no doctors within several hundred kilometers. These people didn't even have lightbulbs in most cases... 40% of the continet doesn't even have basic litteracy in their own native language and to get any use out of the internet they're going to have to speak English, French, spanish, etc... There are over 3000 languages in africa, most of which don't even have character sets available for any computer much less websites written in them. The idea that "The internet" is going to help Africa in any way what-so-ever only makes sense if you've never been there.

          They need:
          Clean water
          Toilets/Sanitation
          birth control
          Basic Edgucation (litteracy)
          The West and China to stop funding warlords in exchange for mineral rights.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Been there as well and I can tell you that you hit the mark with your comment.

            Go to Africa and you get a real sense of how puny mortal people are. Simple things can kill people. Heck, drinking the wrong water can kill you there. All the while, people are killing each other. So it's not enough that mother nature wants you to die, but you've got a whole sect of people out to gun you down as well.

            Internet blimps are just a whole hearty dumb idea that'll serve no one there. There has to be a minimum level

    • Re:Idea (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jellomizer (103300) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @01:46PM (#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.

         

      • 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: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by X0563511 (793323)

        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.

        • by westlake (615356) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @04:29PM (#44513525)

          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.

          The American South was once haunted by parasites and tropical diseases.

          In 1910, an estimated 40% of the population of the southern United States was infected with hookworm.

          In 1910 the RSC began campaigns to eradicate hookworm in nine states, including Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana. The RSC used a three-pronged approach that included:

          1.Conducting a survey to map out the prevalence of the disease in a particular area
          2.Curing patients at mobile dispensaries
          3.Providing education through illustrated lectures and demonstrations that urged prevention through improved sanitary measures, including the construction of privies.

          Southerners initially distrusted RSC efforts. Many were offended by accusations of infection and refused to accept testing and the treatment of Epsom salts and thymol. Others believed that the disease simply did not exist. Regional newspaper editorials also strongly criticized RSC employees and viewed them as a Northern imposition.

          Eradicating Hookworm [rockefeller100.org]

          The geek thinks that putting up a web page = meaningful access to information = the solution to someone else's problems.

          The Rockefeller Foundation page has some telling exhibits to the contrary. The doctors are on horseback. Their patients desperately sick and debilitated. Educational materials --- films, posters and the like --- could only reach out to those who were well enough to act ---

          and literate in all media.

      • 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 (Score:5, Insightful)

        by MightyYar (622222) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @02:25PM (#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 (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Lennie (16154) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @02:43PM (#44512417) Homepage

          I think Internet could help with education. You can bring lots and lots of things to Africa, for example. But eventually they'll have to do it themselves. They will need education to rise above what they are doing now.

          • by Darinbob (1142669)

            How does it help? Are there even any internet web pages in those student's native language? Electricity isn't even available and it's a horrible idea to assume we'll just fix that with highly toxic batteries. Why not give them a damn book before you turn them into internet addicts, maybe hire some teachers.

      • Re:Idea (Score:5, Insightful)

        by KiloByte (825081) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @02:42PM (#44512405)

        This is perhaps grossly politically incorrect, but: feeding and/or healing people in poorest parts of the world does nothing good in the long run. It only means they will reproduce more, having even more starving sick children. Promoting local means of drug manufacture could at least have a meaningful effect on their quality of life, but Gates Foundation's gifts come with strings attached: countries that want to get free drugs need to enact "intellectual property" laws that in the long run deprive them of availability of such drugs.

        Google's internet baloons, on the other hand, lets those people obtain education. This lets kids escape the deadly circle of starvation and cranking out more kids for local warlords' private armies.

      • by jelle (14827) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @03:22PM (#44512781) Homepage

        Bill Gates might have made his money in a company that now competes with Google, but he really is comparing apples and oranges.

        The big difference between the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Google is that one organization is a publicly traded Internet company that does things to make money, and the other is a privately held charitable organization that has received lots of money and is looking for a way to spend it.

        So, for one of the two it makes sense to try to cure malaria, for the other it makes more sense to get more people access to the Internet. Both things will be good for the world.

    • 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.

    • by cjjjer (530715)
      To late, no cure but a possible vaccine.

      U.S. reports malaria vaccine breakthrough http://edition.cnn.com/2013/08/08/health/malaria-vaccine/ [cnn.com]
  • But it's not an area that I'll be putting money into.

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

  • by Joining Yet Again (2992179) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @01:38PM (#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.

    • by durrr (1316311)

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

    • 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.

      Bullshit. He's doing PR against google for business reasons and because he can think he can sell people on what he's saying. The Gates Foundation does a lot of good for people in poor countries, but it also does a lot of good for Bill Gates. It really isn't entirely selfless. It's also used for tax avoidance and for promoting pharmaceutical patents around the world in countries that typically don't respect them. "Here, we'll donate these vaccines if you agree to recognize these patents, making local pr

  • Lack of Vision (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lazarus (2879) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @01:43PM (#44511741) Journal

    "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.

    • by ackthpt (218170)

      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

    • by rve (4436)

      SpaceX has nothing to do with space exploration - the business model is making money with commercial space flight. Think launching satellites, resupplying the space station, for a fee. They will not be boldly going where no man has gone before, they will not be looking for life on other planets.

      There's no money in space exploration, unless the government buys their equipment or services, like it has used the equipment and services of other companies in the past.

      I get the impression that BG feels he has enou

  • That's Just Silly (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cervesaebraciator (2352888) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @01:44PM (#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?
    • by Andrio (2580551)

      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.

    • by phantomfive (622387) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @01:57PM (#44511891) Journal
      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.
    • by Guppy06 (410832)

      Corporations are people too, my friend.

    • by afgam28 (48611)

      To be fair Gates is comparing his foundation to Google's philanthropic arm, Google.org.

  • by Barlo_Mung_42 (411228) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @01:47PM (#44511777) Homepage

    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.

  • But I submit that seeing to it that children, especially girls, receive a proper (i.e. secular) education would go even further.
    • Combine that with access to contraception, and you've got a roadmap from third-world poverty to first-world prosperity. Or whatever passes for prosperity these days.

  • 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?
  • 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

    • by lazarus (2879) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @02:02PM (#44511941) Journal

      "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...

  • by EngineeringStudent (3003337) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @01:50PM (#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.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 08, 2013 @01:50PM (#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!

    • by MozeeToby (1163751) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @02:26PM (#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.

      • by briancox2 (2417470) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @03:18PM (#44512753) Homepage Journal

        "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.

        That's because you live in a world that has doctors and ERs. The children in the area that Bill was talking about do not live in such a world.

        Context, Mozee. Context.

  • by briancox2 (2417470) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @01:54PM (#44511869) Homepage Journal
    "Ok, FINE! Surface can't compete with Android tablets. But my goodness is better than your goodness!"

    Childish?
  • by malkavian (9512) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @01:54PM (#44511871) Homepage

    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...

    • by TheSync (5291)

      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.

    • by cusco (717999)
      Your UID is low enough that you probably were there, so let me refresh your memory. Prior to the introduction of Windows 3.1 my mom's coworker had three computers on her desk to do billing. One Wang word processor, one (IIRC) Apple with VisiCalc, and some behemoth with CP/M that ran their contact management system. To do billing she looked up the customer on the CP/M machine, typed the name and address on the Wang, then calculated the bill in VisiCalc and typed that into the Wang. If unifying that into
  • Fitzgerald: The rich are different than you and me.

    Hemingway: Yes, they have more money.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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
  • 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.
  • If you are to get 50 billion dollars, how would you proceed to avoid pay taxes, and to keep your money for yourself?
  • by AdmV0rl0n (98366)

    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

  • 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

  • ... 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.

  • 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 initia

  • Money spent to combat malaria must be worlds better for improving the human condition than money spent to support Senator Inhofe.

  • by QuietLagoon (813062) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @02:42PM (#44512403)
    1) 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.

    .
    2) Gates is an individual, google is a corporation. Apples and oranges to compare the two.

    Gates needs to look past his self-important blinders and see the whole picture.

  • by echtertyp (1094605) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @03:45PM (#44513025)
    Vaccines don't really help the root problems of the world's poor. So more children survive a while longer to die of something else, or simply exist and need feeding. Google is doing two HUGE long term things for the world's poor: 1) the Renewables Cheaper Than Coal project. Addressing global warming head-on, and working for affordable energy for all, to give poor societies the juice to join the 21st century 2) Internet for the poorest regions, the blimps that Gates hates, means enlightenment for all, and promotes education for girls -- the latter being the single most effective way to lift people out of poverty. Gates just doesn't get it. Nor do I think he ever will.

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