Why Bill Gates is so interested in HIV and Malaria

It is finally time to share on my Weblog what I’ve been telling friends for the last two years when they ask why Bill Gates is so interested in funding treatments for HIV and Malaria….



“Bill Gates wants to keep Africans alive long enough that they can buy Windows Vista (a.k.a. ‘Longhorn’) when it finally ships.”


(I’d been holding off on this one because it seemed too offensive, but the latest slippage (to January 2007) of this release of the Windows operating system broke down my resistance.)

31 thoughts on “Why Bill Gates is so interested in HIV and Malaria

  1. I am not the president of Bill Gates Fan Club, nor am I a computer expert to debate the merits or lack of a Window XP. It simply came with my computer when I bought it. Many people have a “Bill Gates Wealth Clock” installed on their computer to track his money, but I would like to point out you cannot fault him for TRYing to fund efforts to help HIV and malaria treatments in Africa. The health care challange of HIV and malaria in Africa is overwhelming. I don’t need to quote any numbers or tell you sad tales of death and suffering to illustrate my point. It is a noble goal trying to help who are less fortunate than you whether you happened to be the richest person on earth or not.

  2. The fact that some two hundred million people worldwide have died from preventable and treatable diseases since the end of the Cold War highlights why efforts like those of Bill Gates are so important and laudable.

    For an accessible and detailed examination of the importance of dealing with infectious disease for increasing overall human welfare, see Jeffrey Sachs’ “The End of Poverty.”

  3. I’m amazed at how immature and cynical your perspective on life is. I am not a Microsoft fan, by any means, but your “joke” is just not funny. To insinuate a man’s clear desire to help millions of people is to buy an operating system just illustrates how far out of touch with real people’s problems you are. What percentage of your wealth (no doubt prodigious and “earned” with just as much hard work as Bill) have YOU donated?

  4. Matters of taste vary widely from person to person, however humor can be an appropriate response to widespread, meaningless suffering. That’s what humor is all about.

    I don’t think anyone should be able to criticize Philip’s sense of humor unless they themselves are free of the taint of hypocrisy. Judge not lest ye be…etc. etc.

  5. Much as I’m not a fan of Bill Gates, Microsoft or Windows in general, I think this is a pretty extraordinary accusation to make – even in jest. I mean, it’s not like he needs any more money. There seem to be innumerable other places where he rightly needs satirising, and where Microsoft’s venal and unpleasant approach to the world could be mocked, and I even think you could have quite effectively questioned his motives in terms of legacy building, but it seems a bit tacky to mock him on something quite so crass.

  6. You should have followed your initial instinct and held off on the joke. It is offensive. I can get annoyed as the next fellow at Windows, but to belittle the efforts of the Gates foundation in this area is over the top.

  7. I have been visiting this blog for a few months. I really enjoy the author’s writings. I find it really hard to believe that anyone can be offended by his joke. I don’t think Philip is attacking the good work of the Gates Foundation or making an apology of the anopheles mosquito. Freedom of expression gents! You make it sound like Philip should join the editors of the Danish magazine…

    Le droit de dire et d’imprimer ce que nous pensons est le droit de tout homme libre, dont on ne saurait le priver sans exercer la tyrannie la plus odieuse.

    Voltaire

  8. Humor needs to have some kernal of truth to be funny…

    So, what is the truth? Africa is an emerging market that has been largely held back by despots. The concentration of wealth into the hands of a few (who have moved it out of their local economies) has left the vast majority of the populations to fight against diseases (old and new) with little public infrastructure.

    There is great potential in natural resources and human resources in Africa. Providing adequate medical infrastructure is a key point to freeing up the human resources to enter into the global marketplace.

    Bill Gates is showing both philanthropic and capitalistic good sense in becomeing invlved in this transformation.

    Surely it is worthy of a joke or two…

  9. To me the really shocking implication is that Philip actually censors himself. And since this is an objectively funny joke, it also shows that the world is being deprived of some zingers by Philip’s political self-corrections

  10. I say post every joke that comes to mind,and let us be the judge of whether they are offensive or not. 🙂

  11. It’s not too offensive. It’s too offensive given how funny it is. Funny/offensiveness is too low.

  12. The funny thing about another Vista delays is that it is likely to go up not against Mac OS X 10.4 – what all the comparissons have been about now – but instead it will probably go up against the next version of OS X. Not only that, but it will go up against it at a time when the complete range of Macs with the same Intel CPUs as Dell sells will be available; something that will take away the FUD about comparing different CPU architectures. On top of that, most, if not all, software will be intel native by that time.

    I am sure Bill & co. are looking forward to that fight!

  13. Michael, as a Mac user I ask myself the same question.

    I guess there are folks out there who just want to pay more for a “pretty” computer and then run an ugly OS on it…

  14. “I found the joke funny… I guess I’m just a hideous, evil person…”Mega Dittos to that!

  15. I am sure no one takes this comment seriously. As a Johns Hopkins School of Public Health alumni I am extremely impressed with the generous works of the Gates Foundation.

  16. ha ha ha
    I liked it mostly for the reactions.
    It is like a joke about feminists a friend used to tell, the joke itself is not particularly funny, and he’s not mysogynist, but seeing the reaction of politically correct nazis is priceless.

  17. Economists have invariably found that the wealthy give a much smaller proportion of their income/wealth to charity than the poor and the middle-class. I am cynical enough to think that Bill Gates examined the tax implications of his Africa HIV/AIDS effort very closely before deciding how to proceed. While I am glad William Gates III (I may have his lineage wrong) is working to alleviate the pain and suffering of millions of children and adults, I wish he and other tycoons would give away more of their income. Income disparity in our world is getting larger and larger, which will have enormous implications for the stability of our society. I worry for my children’s future about this issue, along with the great struggle between the Muslim world and the West.

  18. Economists have invariably found that the wealthy give a much smaller proportion of their income/wealth to charity than the poor and the middle-class. I am cynical enough to think that Bill Gates examined the tax implications of his Africa HIV/AIDS effort very closely before deciding how to proceed. While I am glad William Gates III (I may have his lineage wrong) is working to alleviate the pain and suffering of millions of children and adults, I wish he and other tycoons would give away more of their income. Income disparity in our world is getting larger and larger, which will have enormous implications for the stability of our society. I worry for my children’s future about this issue, along with the great struggle between the Muslim world and the West.

  19. Economists have invariably found that the wealthy give a much smaller proportion of their income/wealth to charity than the poor and the middle-class. I am cynical enough to think that Bill Gates examined the tax implications of his Africa HIV/AIDS effort very closely before deciding how to proceed. While I am glad William Gates III (I may have his lineage wrong) is working to alleviate the pain and suffering of millions of children and adults, I wish he and other tycoons would give away more of their income. Income disparity in our world is getting larger and larger, which will have enormous implications for the stability of our society. I worry for my children’s future about this issue, along with the great struggle between the Muslim world and the West.

  20. This is one of the best blogs out there. The main reason why people are so easily offended is because they are insecure. Furthermore, it takes some degree of intelligence to have a sense of humor.

    insecurity + low intelligence = easily offended

  21. I enjoyed your blog and used to look forward to reading your postings. I am linux fanatic, but the Gates foundation’s work will save millions of lives. I do not want to cast stones at you by asking how many lives you have saved. This needless trivializing of their work against HIV/AIDs shows you for who you are – stuck up jerk – an intellectual giant with a very small sense of self.

  22. I full-heartedly support the Gates foundation’s work, and I believe that for being the richest man in the world, Bill Gates does a lot of good.
    However, his bread and butter – Microsoft – might be slipping some since his attention is not 100% on the company like it used to be.

    I have a few co-workers who have recently bought computers with the new “Vista” OS and they are less than thrilled. One had to purchase a new printer since his only 2 year old HP laser printer isn’t compatible with Vista. He is having to replace Quickbooks for the same reason.

    It will be interesting to see if Microsoft can carry forward without Gates being actively at the helm – but the charity work he is doing is more important than any growing pains with a new operating system.

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