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The Bill Gates Legacy

by Sachin Balagopalan on June 23, 2008 · 1 comment

As Bill Gates gets ready to walk into the proverbial sunset at the end of this week there is no doubt an era is truly coming to a full stop. The blogosphere has been inundated with posts and opinions about Gates and the impact he has had on the software industry and on society in general. Most of the conversation revolves around Microsoft, the company he founded along with Paul Allen and the shape it currently finds itself in i.e the competitive challenges it faces from the likes of Google to the recent debacle involving Yahoo. The timing of Gates departure couldn’t be any worse than it is right now as he leaves Microsoft facing some challenging times.

NewsWeek has a pretty interesting piece in its June 30 issue that is worth reading. While most of the article focuses on Bill Gates vis a vis Microsoft a substantial amount of ink focuses on the transition to his other job - his $37 billion charitable foundation he will be focusing on full time after he leaves Microsoft. One particular statement he made I thought was pretty poignant …

This whole thing about which operating system somebody uses is a pretty silly thing versus issues involving starvation or death.

I wonder what Bill Gates’s legacy will be as future generations look back? I think he is going to have a bigger impact utilizing his vast resources helping the less fortunate. Whatever you may think of him one thing that seems pretty clear is that both his wife and himself are truly committed to helping the poor and needy. I remember watching an interview on Larry King Live years ago (long before the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation was started) where Larry asked him about his vast fortune and how he planned to spend it. He said something along the lines of (paraphrasing) “… for every dollar I consume there is a kid somewhere out there in the world who needs food or a vaccine …” . He then went on to say that a substantial portion of his wealth will be “given” away to worthy causes but he needs to do it in stages and make sure the money actually gets to the right causes or people. Looks like he kept his word!

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topaz 10.08.09 at 11:46 pm

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