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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 2:03:17 AM , Rating: 0
Generosity comes easily to someone who has managed to take so many resources away from others.

The most generous person, as the Biblical parable shows, is the person who gives not what they won't miss but what they can't afford to do without.

RE: Not again!
By piroroadkill on 1/22/14, Rating: 0
RE: Not again!
By therealnickdanger on 1/22/2014 7:25:23 AM , Rating: 2
In all fairness to the Bible, it also tells people to be good stewards of their resources. If you are blessed with wealth, there's nothing wrong with being generous with it while also investing the rest of it in order to generate more wealth to be generous with. It would be stupid for Gates to dump all his $78 billion or whatever into one charity at once and then live on the street when that money can manage multiple charitable campaigns and buy influence over more wealthy people to get involved. That meager $30 billion he gives to charities quickly becomes hundreds of billions when applied smartly.

RE: Not again!
By superstition on 1/22/2014 1:45:51 PM , Rating: 1
Yes, he's given an estimated $28 billion to his foundation. He's still worth $72+ billion. He hasn't given most of it away.

I won't deny he's doing good things. But his road to getting there wasn't this great philanthropic zeal some think he's had. According to his father, it was his idea to have his son do this, when he complained about being hit in the face with pies and other not so wonderful things, his being caught lying on the stand three times in the last federal lawsuit against Microsoft, and closely avoiding contempt of court for that.

The way he ran Microsoft was, as we all know, through intimidation and threats against OEMs, refusal to share critical information with third party developers, and other partners, as came out in the first lawsuit, and the second.

His management style isn't quite possible for Microsoft any more, and so why should he come back? He's been divesting himself of Microsoft stock for years, and making mother investments. Why would he come back as CEO. It's enough that he's still Chairman, and will have the most influence on the choice of the next one.

I know this post is harsh, but if he really believed all he says, he would resign as Chairman, quit the board of directors, and just manage his foundation.

Nothing in that post supports your hyperbolic dichotomy of donating enough to charity to enhance one's image (PR) and actual generosity -- which is giving beyond one's comfort level.

The business of Gates is business.

RE: Not again!
By superstition on 1/22/2014 1:47:18 PM , Rating: 2
More clearly... nothing in that post says anything about having to become homeless.

RE: Not again!
By nikon133 on 1/22/2014 3:47:04 PM , Rating: 2
Didn't come easy to Jobs...

RE: Not again!
By superstition on 1/22/2014 4:50:44 PM , Rating: 2
Dahmer killed people which means Gates' attempts to rob his co-founder who was trying to recover from cancer is no biggie.

See how the fallacy works? If not, it's called tu quoque.

Oh, and Jobs never tried to exploit a cancer patient. The Breakout money doesn't quite compare.

RE: Not again!
By senecarr on 1/23/2014 11:32:17 AM , Rating: 2
Forcing his own child to live off welfare because he wanted to play legal shenanigans to deny a paternity test for no reason (he claimed to be infertile, for no medical reason) doesn't compare?

RE: Not again!
By superstition on 1/23/2014 3:33:07 PM , Rating: 2
Lisa Jobs turned out fine. However, putting such a strain on a cancer patient is a bit worse.

Regardless, you're engaging in the tu quoque fallacy. The post was about Gates' behavior, not Jobs', and not Dahmer's.

Don't you get it that it doesn't matter how good or bad Jobs was when you're evaluating Gates? It's not like Gates was an automaton who Jobs programmed. He's not his child.

"Let's face it, we're not changing the world. We're building a product that helps people buy more crap - and watch porn." -- Seagate CEO Bill Watkins

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