Strong opinions, weakly held

Anil Dash on Bill Gates

Anil Dash puts the career of Bill Gates in a wonderful context:

Bill Gates has pulled off one of the greatest hacks in technology and business history, by turning Microsoft’s success into a force for social responsibility. Imagine imposing a tax on every corporation in the developed world, collecting $100 per white-collar worker per year, and then directing one third of the proceeds to curing AIDS and malaria. That, effectively, is what Bill Gates has done.


  1. Dennis Savage

    June 27, 2008 at 9:10 am

    I’m glad someone else has finally seen it. It’s one of the great bait-and-switches of all time.

    Gates & co have done a better job of increasing First-World suffering and leveraging it into humanitarian support for the less-developed countries than anyone, even those Marxists who professed things would have to get worse (more suffering in the populace) to get better (in their case a revolution).

    As a coder and user I may revile Microsoft as a Great Satan, but I have to admit I respect the Gates Foundation’s goals and non-technofix orientation.

  2. But what about those poor little kids in Africa who are forced to suffer through endless BSODs and Vista Mother-May-I dialogue boxes?

    I jest, but Microsoft uses its muscle in strange ways sometimes even when they do so much good in the world.

    I’ve always respected Gates as a person; he’s a really intelligent guy — but I’ve never been a fan of the way Microsoft bullied, shoved around and basically screwed over so many companies in the 1990s. Allowing that to happen is Gates’ greatest failure, despite all of the other success.

  3. Dennis Savage

    June 27, 2008 at 1:32 pm

    You’ll find no disagreement from me on that. (I speak about the Foundation separately from MSFT . . . and in fact the Foundation’s flexing real estate municipal-giveaway muscles here in Seattle, so it’s not all good by any means.)

    That the OLPC/XO was unencumbered with decades of interface-kludge was easily half of the breakthrough part of its conception, the other half being the hardened hardware. When Negroponte acceded to porting Windows was the beginning of the end, if it doesn’t survive. (Though I hope not, as I’d love to own one myself without having to mug some kid in Ecuador.)

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