Friday, June 16, 2006

Bill Gates steps down at Microsoft, steps up philanthropy

(Source Article: Gates swaps software for philanthropy -

This week Bill Gates announced his plans to greatly reduce his time spent managing Microsoft, the revolutionary software company that he founded and made his billions through, in order to dedicate himself full-time to his NGO, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; the Foundation is worth an estimated $US 35 billion.

A decade ago, Gates’ contributions to the world of philanthropy were relatively modest, but sharp criticism from anti-Microsoft types in the industry, and even from his wife and mother, pushed him to step-up his contributions and become a major player in the world of global development. In 2000, he created the Foundation, pledging that all of his money would eventually go to charity.

Gates began with an interest in spreading access and availability to technology—especially the internet—to those otherwise too poor to afford it in the US, with an emphasis on the inequalities that he felt left minority students behind their peers. It was the same issue of inequality that led him to be concerned and involved with unequal opportunities—particularly access to adequate medicine and care—in poor and developing countries; thus, his Foundation began helping to fund treatments for various diseases plaguing such third-world economies. The foundation contributes large amounts to fighting Malaria and other diseases in Africa, through cooperation with the World Health Organization and UNICEF. (see The foundation that gates built – CNet news)

Gates plans to, within the next two years, give up most control of Microsoft and move his workplace into an office building set aside for the Foundation. This move, as noted by Gates’ longtime friend and Microsoft partner, Steve Ballmer, has Gates poised to become “the greatest philanthropist of all time.” (see Gates calls time on career at Microsoft -

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