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  (Source: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation)
Former CEO remains focuses on charity, says no country will be "poor" by today's standards by 2035

William Henry "Bill" Gates III, former CEO and co-founder of Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), had some good news for third world countries -- by 2035 there will likely be no "poor" countries by today's standards.  Today, Gates is known for his philanthropic work in fighting poverty and disease in developing nations.
I. Poverty Can be Defeated, Says Gates
The world's richest man said in the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's annual letter to donors that by 2035 -- 21 years from now -- he expects all 35 countries currently classified as "low-income" by the world bank, to reach the modest levels of income.  He predicts 70 percent of nations will at least reach the level of average inflation adjusted income seen today in China, and 90 percent will reach at least the levels seen today in India.
He says that the currently impoverished countries most at risk include a handful of countries controlled by extremist political regimes like North Korea and a handful of countries with challenging geographical locations, such as the countries of war-torn Central Africa.  Still he feels even these countries have hope of prosperity within a couple of decades.

In the letter he attacked the idea that charitable donations to the third world are wasted via local corruption.  He points to the vital role of donations in reducing the number of nations with active polio cases from 125 in 1988 to 3 today.

Bill Gates
Bill and Melinda Gates visit India in 2011 for charitable work.
[Image Source: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation]

He pointed skeptics to a commissioned study from his foundation and its economic partners, which was published in a special report [PDF] from The Lancet, the medical organization known for its titular prestigious peer-reviewed journal.  The December report predicts that by 2035 child mortality rates will fall to those of the U.S. or UK in the 1980s -- even the rate in today's poorest nations.
He also took issue with the belief that a more prosperous third world would lead to overpopulation.

He commented in a Bloomberg  interview:

The facts are on the side of the optimists.  It’s actually dangerous that people are focusing on the bad news and not seeing the progress we’ve made. It means they don’t look at the best practices, it makes them less generous.

The belief that the world is getting worse, that we can’t solve extreme poverty and disease, isn’t just mistaken. It is harmful.  By almost any measure, the world is better than it has ever been. In two decades it will be better still.

Headlines in a way are what mislead you because bad news is a headline and gradual improvement is not.  We almost have to take a letter like this and speak out and say, ‘Wait a minute, despite how bad we feel about what’s not yet done, we have some approaches that work.’ And the cynicism is holding us back.

If he's right that will be great news for the third world/developing world and for humanity in general.

II. No Return to Microsoft CEO Spot for Gates

While Mr. Gates had good news for charities, he had not so good news for Microsoft -- he's not coming back, despite the company's struggles.

Mr. Gates steered the company through years of record growth, establishing Windows as the dominant computer operating system.  Unlike Steve Jobs, who had to leave Apple, Inc. (AAPL) and mature before returning, Mr. Gates always seemed mature ahead of his years.  And since he's left Microsoft, he's been mature enough to stand by his decision not to come back, despite the temptation of his old post.

Since his retirement in 2000 his successor Steve Ballmer has had more of a hit or miss track record with success such as Windows XP and Windows 7 and flops such as Windows Vista and Windows 8.

Bill Gates
Bill Gates steered Microsoft through its boom years. [Image Source: Corbis]

But today with Microsoft struggling in the increasingly integral mobile market, the company's relevance is arguably at its lowest point in a couple of decades.  PC sales are in historic decline.  OEMs are turning their backs on Windows 8, offering customers the ability to pick Windows 7 instead.
Those struggles forced CEO Steve Ballmer -- Bill Gates' hand-groomed successor -- to announce an early retirement, leaving the CEO seat vacant.
Some might argue that Microsoft is a charity case these days, and Bill Gates should try to save it.  But Mr. Gates, who is leading the CEO search committee, refuted rumors that he might return to lead his troubled firm back to success.

My full-time work will be with the foundation for the rest of my life.  [In terms of the urgency of selecting the CEO] you always feel that way, but then again you want to pick the best person. They'll move at the right pace.

This isn't the first time Bill Gates has been forced to deny a return.  In 2012 he resoundingly denied rumors that he might return to Microsoft as CEO.

While that news may disappoint the Microsoft faithful, he did add a bit of reassurance commenting that he already is "help[ing] out part time" at the company, and that he will act as an advisor to the new CEO, whoever it may be as they navigate these troubled times for the company.

Well, that's better than nothing, at least.

Windows Device chief Stephen Elop (right) is among those rumored to possibly replace Steve Ballmer (left) as Microsoft's CEO. [Image Source: Reuters]

Leading candidates for the high-pressure position include current Microsoft Devices chief Stephen Elop (formerly CEO of Nokia Oyj. (HEX:NOK1V)) or former Skype CEO-turned-Microsoft chief evangelist/business development head Tony Bates.
Bill Gates has committed to donate nearly all of his massive fortune to charity by his death, slowly selling off shares in Microsoft.  While he remains chairman of the company and its largest shareholder, he's been slowly cutting his financial ties with the firm in the name of his charitable goals.
Mr. Gates owned 49 percent of Microsoft shares when the company went public in 1986, but entered a plan to sell off his holdings on a pre-set basis, selling about 80 million shares a year.  Sales to date have reduced Mr. Gates' stake to 4.5 percent of current shares, or about $12.4B USD worth of stock.  The share sales plan will eliminate Mr. Gates' ownership entirely by 2018, at which point he would presumably step down as board chairman -- a spot reserved for a top investor.

Sources: Bloomberg, YouTube

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RE: Not again!
By superstition on 1/22/2014 12:42:48 AM , Rating: 2
And, as for the notion that Jobs, not Gates, needed to mature:

He was growing into the taskmaster who would prowl the parking lot on weekends to see who’d made it in. People were already busting their tails, and it got under their skin when Bill hectored them into doing more. Bob Greenberg, a Harvard classmate of Bill’s whom we’d hired, once put in 81 hours in four days, Monday through Thursday, to finish part of the Texas Instruments BASIC. When Bill touched base toward the end of Bob’s marathon, he asked him, “What are you working on tomorrow?”

Bob said, “I was planning to take the day off.”

And Bill said, “Why would you want to do that?”

Bill liked to hash things out in intense, one-on-one discussions; he thrived on conflict and wasn’t shy about instigating it. A few of us cringed at the way he’d demean people and force them to defend their positions. If what he heard displeased him, he’d shake his head and say sarcastically, “Oh, I suppose that means we’ll lose the contract, and then what?” When someone ran late on a job, he had a stock response: “I could code that in a weekend!”

And if you hadn’t thought through your position or Bill was just in a lousy mood, he’d resort to his classic put-down: “That’s the stupidest ****ing thing I’ve ever heard!”


you could hear our voices up and down the eighth floor. And so we’d go at it for hours at a stretch, until I became nearly as loud and wound up as Bill. I hated that feeling. While I wouldn’t give in unless convinced on the merits, I sometimes had to stop from sheer fatigue. I remember one heated debate that lasted forever, until I said, “Bill, this isn’t going anywhere. I’m going home.”

And Bill said, “You can’t stop now—we haven’t agreed on anything yet!”

“No, Bill, you don’t understand. I’m so upset that I can’t speak anymore. I need to calm down. I’m leaving.”

Bill trailed me out of his office, into the corridor, out to the elevator bank. He was still getting in the last word

Some said Bill’s management style was a key ingredient in Microsoft’s early success, but that made no sense to me. Why wouldn’t it be more effective to have civil and rational discourse? Why did we need knock-down, drag-out fights? Why not just solve the problem logically and move on?

Sounds like the same management style that young Jobs employed.

RE: Not again!
By superstition on 1/22/2014 12:46:53 AM , Rating: 2
That management style also seems to fit with the terrible stack ranking system that Microsoft adopted. Why create a comfortable working environment when you can have the boot on your employees and exploit them as much as possible?

In April 1980, shortly before leaving town on a business trip, I agreed that we should offer him up to 5 percent of the company, because Bill felt certain that Steve wouldn’t leave Stanford unless he got equity. A few days later, after returning from my trip, I got a copy of Bill’s letter to Steve. (Someone had apparently found it in the office’s Datapoint word-processing system, and it made the rounds.) Programmers like Gordon Letwin were furious that Bill was giving a piece of the company to someone without a technical background. I was angry for another reason: Bill had offered Steve 8.75 percent of the company, considerably more than what I’d agreed to.

It was bad enough that Bill had chosen to override me on a partnership issue we’d specifically discussed. It was worse that he’d waited till I was away to send the letter.


I was in Bill’s office one day talking about MS-DOS revenues. Our flat-fee strategy had helped establish us in several markets, but I thought we’d held on to it for too long. A case in point: We’d gotten a fee of $21,000 for the license for Applesoft BASIC. After sales of more than a million Apple II’s, that amounted to two cents per copy. “If we want to maximize revenue,” I said, “we have to start charging royalties for DOS.” Bill replied as though he were speaking to a not-so-bright child: “How do you think we got the market share we have today?” Then Steve came by to weigh in on Bill’s side with his usual intensity (Microsoft later switched to per-copy licensing, a move that would add billions of dollars in revenue.)

One evening in late December 1982, I heard Bill and Steve speaking heatedly in Bill’s office and paused outside to listen in. It was easy to get the gist of the conversation. They were bemoaning my recent lack of production and discussing how they might dilute my Microsoft equity by issuing options to themselves and other shareholders. It was clear that they’d been thinking about this for some time.

I replayed their dialogue in my mind while driving home, and it felt more and more heinous to me. I helped start the company and was still an active member of management, though limited by my illness, and now my partner and my colleague were scheming to rip me off. It was mercenary opportunism, plain and simple.

When Microsoft incorporated, in 1981, our old partnership agreement was nullified, and with it his power to force me to accept a buyout based on “irreconcilable differences.” Now he tried a different tack, one he’d hinted at in his letter. “It’s not fair that you keep your stake in the company,” he said. He made a lowball offer for my stock: five dollars a share.

Sounds a lot like Jobs to me.

RE: Not again!
By ebakke on 1/22/2014 2:13:20 AM , Rating: 2
Jesus. We get it already. Post the link. Let us go read it. You don't have to duplicate the whole VF article in the DT comments.

RE: Not again!
By superstition on 1/22/2014 3:08:56 AM , Rating: 2
That is only a very small portion and contains only the most relevant parts. Most people aren't going to read the article.

RE: Not again!
By ClownPuncher on 1/22/2014 11:56:04 AM , Rating: 2
Neat. That was 30+ years ago.

RE: Not again!
By superstition on 1/22/2014 1:40:21 PM , Rating: 2
Motoman's frothing and klutzy indictment of Jobs didn't contain any such caveats, nor do I think one's behavior as an adult is exempt from being taken into consideration when evaluating the person's character.

In other words... nice try.

RE: Not again!
By superstition on 1/22/2014 2:00:01 PM , Rating: 2
It's also worth noting that Jobs never conspired to steal the share of a co-founder while he was trying to recover from cancer. The Breakout money rather pales in comparison.

RE: Not again!
By ClownPuncher on 1/22/2014 2:18:48 PM , Rating: 2
You're only interested in evaluating one part of this person's character.

RE: Not again!
By superstition on 1/22/2014 2:26:50 PM , Rating: 2
My post was counterpoint to Motoman's post.

Find me anything about his post that evaluates the positive aspects of Jobs' character.

Plus, my posts contain a lot of substance, not screamy rhetoric with no facts behind it.

You really should give up. No amount of evasion is going to erase Gates' quite poor behavior from the record.

RE: Not again!
By ClownPuncher on 1/22/2014 3:22:00 PM , Rating: 2
Nobody is trying to erase it. We all know it happened. It just doesn't matter, since he has done more good than harm by a large measure.

RE: Not again!
By superstition on 1/22/2014 4:45:28 PM , Rating: 2
That is very debatable.

RE: Not again!
By ClownPuncher on 1/22/2014 6:04:02 PM , Rating: 2
It isn't. Helping save thousands of people, or (many) more, is a net positive vs. being a jerk to some guy with cancer.

If you're going to go on some baseless eugenics rant, I'm going to ask you to kick yourself in the balls.

RE: Not again!
By superstition on 1/23/2014 4:47:11 AM , Rating: 1
Do you believe your babble, or just post it for some sort of postmodern pointlessness?

RE: Not again!
By ClownPuncher on 1/23/2014 12:17:30 PM , Rating: 2
I believe you aren't a good person and have some sort of need to bring down people who are.

RE: Not again!
By superstition on 1/23/2014 3:29:47 PM , Rating: 3
The tu quoque fallacy wasn't enough. Now it's time for a baseless ad hominem.

I don't need to believe that your rhetoric is empty and your logic asinine. Anyone who claims that someone who tried to scam the person who cofounded their company more than once, including when that person is trying to recover from cancer is a better person than someone who criticizes that behavior is not being rational.

And, since you clearly don't understand that fallacies don't count as a rebuttal, remember that it doesn't matter who I am. What matters are the facts about Gates. As I said before, no amount of evasion is going to erase his behavior from the record. That includes deigning to give some of his hoard to the poor and it includes the empty PR you and Motoman are posting.

RE: Not again!
By Motoman on 1/22/2014 11:15:02 AM , Rating: 5
[slow clap]

Uh-huh. And then what happened?

Gates grew up. He became possibly the most important philanthropist in the world, and is directly credited with saving tens of millions of lives.

And Jobs? Did he ever grow up? No...not in the slightest. He started his life as a megalomaniacal a$$hole of Biblical proportions, and he died that way too...never having helped a single soul his entire life, and instead made his life's work the conning of every person he could get his hands on.

Maybe they both started out as dicks. But Gates has practicaly become a saint, while Jobs will go down in history as one of the worst people ever to live who wasn't actually a Nazi.


RE: Not again!
By superstition on 1/22/2014 1:36:26 PM , Rating: 2
Your hyperbolic obsession with Jobs is comical. The post you responded to was about Gates. Giving away some of the spoils of your greed hardly turns you into a saint, nor does finding someone else who you think is worse.

Again, that's called the tu quoque fallacy. Look it up sometime before trying to pass it off as some sort of revelation.

Gates has never been and never will be a saint. But, I'm glad the PR is working so well for him. Maybe you can construct a shrine for him in your bedroom.

RE: Not again!
By Motoman on 1/22/2014 2:36:31 PM , Rating: 2
Hyperbolic? Look at the vast reams of stuff you've frothed all over this article and compare to the few lines of stuff I've posted.

Gates has never been and never will be a saint.

OK. Find me someone who has done more to improve the lives of the world's wretchedly poor than Gates. Go on. I'll wait.

You irrationally hate Gates. Fine. And no, he probably won't ever be beatified or declared an actual saint. But to even imply that he's not one of the most beneficial people in the world today does nothing but label you a lunatic.

Please go do your foaming-at-the-mouth elsewhere.

RE: Not again!
By Motoman on 1/22/2014 2:38:13 PM , Rating: 2
Oh...and as for the tu quoque fallacy - that's what *you're* doing.

YOU are the one trying to prove that Gates is as bad a person as Jobs was...when it's blindingly obvious that it isn't true.

Tens of millions of lives saved prove that beyond the shadow of a doubt.

You're a cock.

RE: Not again!
By superstition on 1/22/2014 4:48:09 PM , Rating: 2

Look at the vast reams of stuff you've frothed all over this article and compare to the few lines of stuff I've posted.

Yes, it's mostly substantive information from Paul Allen -- in comparison with your hyperbolic flaming that irrelevantly changed the subject to Steve Jobs when the post you were responding to was about Gates.

RE: Not again!
By nikon133 on 1/22/2014 3:43:51 PM , Rating: 2
Difference is, Jobs grew up from the prick he was in '80 to a person he is now. I'm finding this acceptable, even natural.

Jobs remained very much the same person till his last days. More beard, less hair - that was about how much he changed.

"I modded down, down, down, and the flames went higher." -- Sven Olsen

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