I'm Actually Starting to Like Bill Gates

It will come as no surprise to anybody that I’m not particularly found of Microsoft. Their products too often seem feature-rich rather than actually powerful, shiny rather than stable (and are frequently neither). But I have watched Bill Gates with growing respect for a number of years. Today he secured his position in my eyes as Microsoft announced that he’ll be stepping down from his position there in two years to devote his time to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, a non-profit he and his wife established several years ago from their own personal fortune and which has been doing some tremendous work in global health and education. I think it’s spectacular that Gates would be willing to leave behind a doubtless exciting and fulfilling job at the company he founded to pursue something that is principally of benefit to others. Bravo, Mister Gates.

Contrast this with Steve Jobs, who is at the helm of both Apple and Pixar. Apple has their share of issues with product, but overall seem to put together much better thought-out, more polished hardware and software. Pixar has consistently produced some of the best films, animated or not, of the last decade, all of which have been quite financially successful. But Jobs personally does far less to support charitable causes, in spite of having similar stratospheric wealth to Gates.

Will this make me follow Microsoft down their computing path? There’s little chance of that. But I’ll certainly be keeping a close eye on the company’s founder and what he’s choosing to do with the money that company has produced.