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Through his innovation and tireless work ethic, Microsoft founder Bill Gates became the world's wealthiest man.  (Source: Corbis)

The only Apple products found in the Gates household come from trees.  (Source: Google Images)

Mr. Gates revealed that close friend Mark Zuckerberg, the richest person under 30, is engaged to long-time girlfriend Priscilla Chan.  (Source: Facebook)

Bill Gates dreams of someday helping to fund the world's first reliable malaria vaccine.  (Source: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation)
Some things just don't fly in the Gates household

The UK's DailyMail has published an entertaining interview with renowned tech visionary and philanthropist Bill Gates, founder and former chief executive officer of Microsoft Corp. (MSFT).

I. No iPads, No Big Inheritance For the Gates Brood

These days Mr. Gates is still deeply involved with Microsoft, where he serves at the Chairman of the board, as the company's largest shareholder.  But he's been busier with his family and charity than his "workaholic" days of the 1980s and 1990s.

Mr. Gates has donated $28B USD of his fortune to charity, via his Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, reducing his wealth to $56B USD -- a fortune second only to Mexican media mogul Carlos Slim's $74B USD net worth.  Mr. Gates plans to give away most of his fortune to charity, reportedly leaving his children -- two daughters and a son -- with less than $10M USD each.

He did not explicitly confirm this rumor to the Daily Mail commenting reservedly, "It will be a minuscule portion of my wealth. It will mean they have to find their own way. They will be given an unbelievable education and that will all be paid for. And certainly anything related to health issues we will take care of. But in terms of their income, they will have to pick a job they like and go to work. They are normal kids now. They do chores, they get pocket money."

In his mind, Mr. Gates is just a regular guy.  He comments, "I drive myself around town in a normal (sic) Mercedes. I’ve had a Lexus. The family has a Porsche, which is a nice car that we sometimes take out. We have a minivan and that’s what we use when it’s the five of us. My eldest daughter rides horses, so we go to a lot of three-day shows. The kids are a big part of my schedule."

And a massive inheritance isn't the only thing his children are going to miss out on.  When asked if the kids get iPods, iPhones, or iPads he responds, "They have the Windows equivalent. They have a Zune music player, which is a great Windows portable player. They are not deprived children."

Zing.  The Daily Mail has some critique of its own describing Mr. Gates as follows:

To say that Gates is socially awkward is putting it mildly. This is a man who built a multi-billion-dollar company yet seems totally unaware of the social niceties of life. His voice is loud and oddly high-pitched. He’s in constant motion as he speaks, rocking in his chair with his arms folded protectively in front of him, tapping his toes, fiddling with a pen. He fails to look me in the eye and doesn’t engage in small talk.

Overall, though the tone of the interviewer Caroline Graham is adulatory.

II. A Focus on Philanthropy

Mr. Gates' charitable foundation currently has $37.1B USD, thanks to major contributions from fellow billionaire Warren Buffett.  The charity disperse funds from a slick new $500M USD state-of-the-art "eco-friendly" headquarters in the Seattle, Wash. area.

The foundation's roots trace back to Mr. Gates' father, Bill Sr. who began sending his son carefully selected requests from "begging letters" sent to Microsoft's headquarters.  Bill Sr. turned to the past time after Bill Gates mother passed away from breast cancer.  He recalls the letter his mother sent him, which stated:

From those to whom much is given, much is expected.

He says that he thinks the best way to donate money to impoverished nations is vaccines.  He states, "You get more bang for your buck...There are more people dying of malaria than any specific cancer. When you die of malaria aged three it’s different from being in your seventies, when you might die of a heart attack or you might die of cancer. And the world is putting massive amounts into cancer, so my wealth would have had a meaningless impact on that."

He has allocated $3.7B USD to inoculate 243 million children in the world's poorest countries.

He dismisses criticism of aid to the third world, stating, "Charities like the World Food Programme go in on a direct basis. When we buy vaccines we are super-smart about what we pay. We get price reductions. We can track how many kids get the vaccines. People don’t stockpile vaccines. It’s not like you’re going to go to Mugabe’s mansion and you’d find polio vaccines in the basement and he’s going [Dr. Evil impression] 'Ha, ha, ha! I took it ALL!'"

And he says criticism of aid to developing nations like India, which has 70 billionaires, is overstated.  He comments, "Countries which receive aid do graduate,’ he insists. ‘Within a generation Korea went from being a big recipient to being a big aid donor. China used to get quite a bit of aid; now it’s aid-neutral. India in the north still needs all the help we can give in terms of helping with childhood death rates, maternal deaths and polio."

Mr. Gates insists that he's not doing the charity for fame.  He rebukes, "Legacy is a stupid thing! I don’t want a legacy. If people look and see that childhood deaths dropped from nine million a year to four million because of our investment, then wow! I liken what I’m doing now to my old job. I worked with a lot of smart people; some things went well, some didn’t go so well. But when you see how what we did ended up empowering people, it’s a very cool thing."

He says his biggest passion today is finding a vaccine for the malaria virus -- though speech recognition software is a close second.





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