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back to article 'It's a joke!' ... Bill Gates slams Mark Zuckerberg's web-for-the-poor dream

Microsoft mogul turned global healer Bill Gates has had some harsh words for Mark Zuckerberg's plan to improve humanity's lot by expanding internet access into the developing world. In August, Facebook supremo Zuckerberg published an extended screed [PDF] online in which he described the need to get everyone in the world online …

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He's Right

Computers aren't really important on the grand scale of things. In fact, it is sad that people think they are.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: He's Right

Neither do the poor need a free mobile Obama phone.

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Re: He's Right

Obvious troll is obvious.

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Re: He's Right

Bob, computers do a lot of heavy lifting. The Internet, in all of its glory, is a resource that, when not poisoned by get rich quick scam artists, provides a wealth of information.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: He's Right

Apples and oranges. Obama phones can be (and are) sold to buy drugs. Try selling internet access that is free.

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Re: He's Right

Actually they are Reagan phones.

Try some history channel instead of fox

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Re: He's Right

Only if you put his OS on them!

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Go

Re: He's Right

What the hell, those discussions are always silly. If I can provide shoos for African children then why would I not do it although I know there is more severe demand for food and fresh water. Let Bill provide what he wants and let Mark provide what he wants to provide. Perhaps I am unfair but I believe Bill is out for a profit in a higher degree than Mark.

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Re: He's Right

Yep. Bill Gates stands to make a fortune selling ridiculously overpriced pharmaceuticals to impoverished 3rd world nations. As soon as those people are free from the shackles of malaria they'll jump on the MS train and be the foundation for the next high growth OS market.

That's a great idea and it is simply amazing nobody ever tried selling advanced technology to starving illiterate pre plumbing and electricity societies before! Those people must be fucking loaded, they don't spend their money on anything! Look, that one won't even buy food for his family!

Just think, all this time there were untapped markets for office productivity software and operating systems in those wattle hut villages. Man, Bill Gates sure is a smart businessman.

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Both views are right

Anti-malarial vaccines will wipe a great scourge from the world, one that has caused endless pain, suffering and agonizing early death to untold millions throughout history.

Free access to global communication would allow all people the potential (note that I said "potential" here, instead of "ability") to iimprove literacy, to freely report on abuses of power, and to become involved in self-governing. This has the potential to end (or significantly hinder) the wielding of brutal, tyrannical power which has caused endless pain, suffering and agonizing early death to untold millions throughout history.

Both are worthy goals.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: He's Right

Reagan was president in the 80's, GSM and CDMA didn't come along until the 90's. Yes, there were AMPS phones around in the mid-80's, but the US Government wasn't handing any out. So, try some REALITY as opposed to getting your information from some talking head on the boob tube.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: He's Right

Working landlines are very different from mobile Obama phones. Try news stations instead of lunatic left echo chambers.

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Re: He's Right

Because, well call me a cynic, but Bill's proposed actions won't benefit him or his ex-company, other than perhaps polishing their images a little. But Google or Facebook giving the poor of the world access to the Internet, well isn't that, or can't it be seen as, about them expanding their potential customer base?

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Re: He's Right

Thing about the grand scale is another issue is the one of too many people.

Good thing about no internet is no NSA / GCHQ spying. (Just CIA being indistinguishable from the real bad people you want to avoid anyway.)

Gates is doing far better than nearly all politicians when it comes to actually getting stuff done.

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Re: He's Right

@ NogginTheNog

I dont think your a cynic, in fact its all about "bums on IP's", for the "services" & "Social Networks" you use just talk to...

"But Google or Facebook giving the poor of the world access to the Internet, well isn't that, or can't it be seen as, about them expanding their potential customer base?"

You mean the Secondary Internet ?, The internet you have to sign up to, again, to get some info from it

Seagate, Recently spent a email from support about their ASKSAM online support, its facebook, I can't use it, cause will not join Facebook, so If i need support for this 4tb drive, I can't use automated support, why is not a feature on website, no it's farmed off to Facebook, so they can advertise to you ....

(disapointed seagate, still got working ST506 drives here, I know your support was always good)

I don't understand when most people used MSN & Yahoo, IRC etc all free methods of communication & social Networks, where they couldn't share your data, and now where they can DATA-Mine it & target you for advertising to suck you in, everybody joins it .......

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Re: He's Right

I have watched the adventures of young William for a while, while I installed CPM systems, someone Disassembled it, Amiga dies its chipset features becomes MMX (the mouse still dont work right), Windows 2.0, Windows ME, 2000, maybe it's because sometimes my eyes get this blue mist in front of them, but it seems I digress, I think Bill's doing good with his foundation ALL power to it, Some good in PC industry is a hard find, sometimes ....

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Re: Both views are right

Given the global snooping of the US Government, and the evident failure of ANYONE to be able to stop it, I can't really concur with your dream of the internet being able to have any real impact on Tyranny. But I'd love to see you prove me wrong. The best place to start would be the good ole U S of A.

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Anonymous Coward

@lightknight: Point missed entirely

"Bob, computers do a lot of heavy lifting. The Internet, in all of its glory, is a resource that, when not poisoned by get rich quick scam artists, provides a wealth of information."

And Mr. Gates' position is that information does not move food to feed the hungry. Information does not inject the sufferer of polio with a liquid vaccine. Information does not create the means to clean up a dirty water supply. Information does not save a family running from a genocidal civil war.

Get your realities in check and come back when you've gotten the point of Gates' philosophy. You are living a first-world life and thinking that your concerns will solve third-world problems.

Hmmm. Strange. That's exactly Bill Gates' statement in the closing piece of this article.

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Re: He's Right

> Bill's proposed actions won't benefit him

Yes it will. Bill holds substantial quantities of pharmaceutical shares. By giving away samples he ties this in with local government support for buying products from his companies to continue the treatments, or at least not allowing the cheap unlicensed copies of those drugs.

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Anonymous Coward

Bill is right and wrong at the same time

He is RIGHT that basic needs trumps internet access. NO ONE can realistically argue that malaria and polio cures are more important than getting online.

He is WRONG if he thinks that most of the 3rd world who aren't online are all starving african children.

As a 1st world citizen. Net access is up there with electricity and water. For me, this is a fact, and people can benefit from net access. Who hasn't looked up medical conditions online?

End of story - for me.

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Coffee/keyboard

Re: He's Right

Stop it right now, Jefe. It's a laptop and I've about pounded through to the CPU.

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<sarcasm>

Communication, education through distance learning: these are the things that only the western world really needs.

</sarcasm>

What's the point of surviving malaria if you can't benefit from the technology that the world can offer to improve the lot of people in the middle of nowhere?

Malaria is a big problem, but Bill Gates has a severe case of short-sightedness.

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Anonymous Coward

Internet access as an incentive to recover from malaria. That's some deep thinking right there.

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Anonymous Coward

Malaria is a big problem, but Bill Gates has a severe case of short-sightedness.

No, merely a somewhat short memory. After all, this is the same guy that ran the company that baited schools with cheap software, and then dramatically upped the price once they were locked in. I cannot recall any IT guys at the time that didn't see that one coming a mile off, but, naturally, nobody was listening.

If you want to play with emotional statements, one could state that quite a lot of the money he's playing the hero with was stolen from school kids.

That does, of course, not mean he isn't right with dissing the relative importance of one item to another, but let's not forget that BG's capital started with exactly the same BS as Zuckerbergs. Zuck just hasn't finished playing with the cash yet, so there's as yet no way to compare.

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skelband: "Malaria is a big problem, but Bill Gates has a severe case of short-sightedness."

Dude, if you really think it through, you'll withdraw your post. You just revealed WAY too much about your life experiences.

For Christ's sake, what the hell is up with these FaceB0rK users?

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Childcatcher

Gates is burning a straw man

The potential for education via connectivity isn't a substitute for aid, nor is it meant to be, but it is necessary, in the same sense that teaching a starving man to fish is just as necessary as giving him a fish.

If all you ever do is give him fish, then yes you'll keep him alive ... much like cattle are kept alive by a farmer.

Not that one is likely to learn much from Farcebook, but that's just the gimmick. The real benefit is what lies beyond Farcebook - the potential facilitated by this gimmick.

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@AC 00:38

"After all, this is the same guy that ran the company that baited schools with cheap software, and then dramatically upped the price once they were locked in."

Uh, AC, I think you'll find that that was Steve Jobs, not Bill Gates.

"Zuck just hasn't finished playing with the cash yet"

zuck has very little cash, just a lot of paper. If he tries to cash out, the paper becomes valueless. Bill's money is real. Not that I use any products associated with either of them, of course.

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Re: @AC 00:38

Yep. Apple only survived the 80's, 90's and early 2000's because of their 'special terms' for educational institutions and students.

Most schools couldn't afford computers so Apple stepped in to politely overcharge for the pleasure of using their products to teach students things that at the time didn't translate into most career paths. It did ultimately pay off with the 'Apple is for Creative People' campaign which is wonderfully funny because it is just a minor modification of their campaign for schools that used to be 'Apple is for Creative Students'; I still have the literature package they gave school board members.

Apple make fine products, but it is flat wrong to think that Apple ever acted with any less aggression than MS or Oracle or SAP. It's the way the big software business game has always been played. It's only very recently that interoperability, data portability and FOSS has been seriously tried as a competing business model and the argument still isn't settled on whether people prefer to pay or be analyzed and sold to advert companies.

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Facepalm

Errrrr yeah. Really?

"I don't have internet - I may as well die of malaria"

Hash - First -World-Problems

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@AC 00:38

In mitigation to the "money ... stolen from school kids", I would have to point out that some of these would have gone on and earned significantly more as a result of knowing a little bit about his [soft]wares. Whatever Zuck ends up doing with his cash, there is nothing positive that can be said about the crap he is peddling.

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Re: @AC 00:38 @jake

I'm only closely aware of one project funded by the 'Foundation' and that involved thousands of cheap PC's with windows office installed in africa. The free gift didn't extend to upgrades and so, to my eyes, was more of a revenue stream generator than a real donation.

The foundations pictures of the net manufacturing site makes me wonder if more has been spent on the site than wages and figures I've seen for the cost of the nets are a bit baffling.

It may be that one shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth but when its as cavernous and voracious as Gates when I do I see some very dodgy teeth.

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Anonymous Coward

You've got it the wrong way round: What's the point of being able to do a google search for anything you want or update your facebook status when you've not got any electricity and you're dead from malaria.

The dream is to have people vaccinated against malaria, hiv and the many other nasty killers, then have them able to increase their income and education by having things as simple as solar powered lights enabling them to work in darkness when daily chores are finished. If you think these people have laptops just waiting for the Internet you've got a very skewed view of poverty.

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The thing about Gates

Is that love him or hate him, no matter how you cut it he's Robin Bloody Hood.

Set up a monopoly that screwed pretty much everyone in the first world, and gave (is giving) the proceeds to the third world.

Robbed your local school for thousands of dollars? why that's raised your taxes, that's probably a cheap burger he's stolen from your belly, and the fucker just pissed it all away vaccinating orphans what a cunt.

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What's the point of surviving malaria if you can't benefit from technology

Well all the developed countries got to that position without the internet, so I'll wager if we cure malaria et al, it is possible to then provide education even without GoogleBalloons.

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Pint

Re: @AC 00:38 @jake

"It may be that one shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth", Yes, and I sometimes agree regarding the result but it is still a rather cynic sentence and there is no way that the guy who coined that was not aware of the fact that sometimes there are very good reasons to look at the gift. "Candy for children" and so forth.

I have no claims, what so ever, regarding anybodies use of his wealth, and that applies to Gates too. But when, for instance, libraries around the world are given money, the one teeth in the mouth of the horse is that that money has to be used on Windows. And while Gates is doing good work on malaria vaccine in Africa, and that is fine, then one should also remember that when he pulls out money from his right pocket some, perhaps more, will turn up in his left pocket, because he invests in the companies selling the stuff in Africa.

Now Gates has never claimed to be some Jesus (that title was given to Jobs) but if he was really involved he would build that pharmacy industry in Africa, skip, and give a shit, about patents and hand it out for free. I know he is not Santa Claus either and nobody has any right to demand it of him, still the intelligent and obvious response to "shouldn't look" is "should look" too. Just ask any kid.

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Re: The thing about Gates

"Is that love him or hate him, no matter how you cut it he's Robin Bloody Hood."

Not really. Robin Hood stole from the rich, Gates stole from everyone and anyone and now he's using the cash to buy himself a reputation as some sort of saint (while making sure his stocks and shares are kept high, of course). Give me back the money he stole from me, and I'LL decide which charity to give it to, thanks.

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Re: Gates is burning a straw man

Oh Homer wrote :- "The potential for education via connectivity ... is necessary, in the same sense that teaching a starving man to fish is just as necessary as giving him a fish."

Quite right. Like when I was two I got a serious illness. I waved away doctors and medicines and instead I hired educators to teach me medicine and pharmecology. Meanwhile my parents learned how to build a plant to make the serums I had been taught I needed, which they did under my learned direction. Good job it was done in the nick of time for me, but so much better to teach a baby how to make medicine than to give it to him.

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It would be nice if BG could do one of his 'lunches' with MZ, like he did with Warren Buffet. This might convert MZ into someone who zealously attacks something like contraception, overpopulation (I know, sometimes the same thing) rather than "The next billion fb users".

Speaking to people who have had Malaria three or more times, it is hard to imagine how tough it makes their lives, people are affected for their entire life by debilitating diseases, they can affect mental capabilities as well as making people physically weaker and shorter-lived.

Helping more people lead longer, healthier lives in the developing world doesn't worsen the population problem, it improves it, along with a better GDP etc. from fewer resources being used to support people who are would otherwise be able to contribute.

Successful eradication of Polio in the face of people hell-bent on preventing it would be a huge accomplishment, obviously with the aid of others but a significant contribution none-the-less.

It would be deserving of a Nobel even, possibly the Peace prize. Obama could then hand him a Medal of Freedom, which would make BG blush I imagine.

Why people would revere Jobs for 'inventing amazing devices' staggers me and revering people solely because they made astounding amounts of money makes me shudder.

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Re: The thing about Gates

Yeah, the American way... We don't need no steenkin' government, just let me keep all my money and I will spend it the way I see fit.

Except, the US has an huge military, a free education system and even, shock horror, a last-resort health system. They also have Federally insured banks, flood prevention, the National Guard, the EPA, the CDC, the FDA (no Thalidimide in the USA thanks to them).

Individuals are generally utterly selfish bastards wen it comes to spending their money, Europeans generally know this, the further north you go the more obvious it is. But even Americans (well, a reasonable proportion of them) think the government needs to do some stuff.

BG is attacking problems western governments are unwilling to face and side-stepped past them if necessary,working with NGOs and similar organisations to try and overcome difficult or intractable issues.

I, for one am glad he stole your money, he is definitely using better than you would have. I also think all the windows licences I have bought with my hard-earned over the many, many years were not that bad value, certainly cheaper than paying for Apple kit and certainly worth the effort to avoid Linux (which I use a lot professionally and yes, I know it is a reliable OS, blah, blah, blah).

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Re: Gates is burning a straw man

"Like when I was two I got a serious illness. I waved away doctors and medicines and instead I hired educators to teach me medicine and pharmecology. Meanwhile my parents learned how to build a plant to make the serums I had been taught I needed, which they did under my learned direction. Good job it was done in the nick of time for me, but so much better to teach a baby how to make medicine than to give it to him."

The hole in your sarcasm is that the educated doctors and the medicines they use are the result of your country being part of the high-maintenance high-tech world you live in. Gates wants that world to stay where it is, and have 2-year-olds like you simply hope that some nice monopolist somewhere has donated the required materials, or for your country to pay to import them rather than for them to be able to stand on their own feet and be independent. Which, if you think about it, has been his attitude all his life - the rich are in charge and everyone else should be kept in their place and learn to like it.

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Re: The thing about Gates

The US had a free education system? What the fuck? Not this US pal.

The government provides daycare for those aged 4-18ish but after that it's on you (or your parents) to borrow the money to go to college. While you're there, assuming you study, you might learn the basic math and science kids in European grammar school learn. After that you can do some graduate work and know almost as much as a high school graduate from Europe. Once you cross into PhD territory in the sciences you're actually starting to learn, but then you're in your late 20's, haven't started working yet (because your course load was too demanding!!!) and you've got your first six figure debt. Dumb and Debt, that's living the American Dream!

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Re: Gates is burning a straw man

This isn't a give a man a fish situation. Malaria and polio are things you cure, one person at a time. You can't teach them the cure and get them to teach others.

Having said that, I know what you mean. Technology and medicine aren't mutually exclusive. Except in the case of charity, where there's a finite amount of money being allocated to charitable causes, it in practice is a choice between internet or real needs. What you spend money on removes options, because you could've spent it on something else. So for all intents and purposes it is a substitute for aid.

(Then you would generally move on to the "well it's his money, can't he spend it how he likes?" "argument", which is nothing to do with your previous point but makes you feel better. Don't do it!)

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@ MyBackDoor

"For Christ's sake, what the hell is up with these FaceB0rK users?"

That’s what Mark wants to fix, next time there’s a Rwanda Massacre, Ethiopian famine or A tidal wave etc, it will all on Facebook etc, you can feel machetes fall, Waves crushing families in real time ....

When we are desensitised from it all, the world will be a better place .....

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Nothing new here, Gates, Zuckerberg, Jobs..all criminals that have screwed every person over for the sake of $$ move along

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Just out of curiosity, what exactly did Bill Gates or Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg say or do to force you to buy or use their products? I've met Bill Gates several times and he isn't exactly intimidating, and while I never met Steve Jobs, he wasn't exactly a tough guy either; just caustic I gather.

There have been other options around for years, the thing is that it just isn't a big enough deal for most people to care about migrating to them. It is a good example of how, as this article notes, those outside the IT community don't really care about how/why their tools and toys run.

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"Just out of curiosity, what exactly did Bill Gates [...] say or do to force you to buy or use their products?"

You have an interesting lack of understanding how monopolies work. Microsoft weren't the first, they won't be the last and they certainly won't be the nastiest - doesn't make them angels however. That said, at least Gates, unlike most other of his peers, and the Foundation (although not without its issues) is actually doing something useful with our money.

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I was being a bit facetious. The article and discussion is about the true value of technology in society. Food is taken from those in 3rd world countries by force. People aren't forced to buy any technology, they do it for economic advantage.

I'm well aware that big businesses act like dicks and take advantage of people's greed, but again, not a problem outside wealthy countries. I just felt the earlier posters comment wasn't very realistic.

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Facepalm

I'm Bill Gates...

... and only *I* know the solution for mankind's ills!

Yes, dealing with Malaria is a Good Thing(tm) but giving people access to information and education is, incredibly enough *also* a Good Thing(tm)!

The two are not mutually exclusive, Bill.

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Re: I'm Bill Gates...

But money isn't infinite, you have to pick one.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I'm Bill Gates...

Ironic icon there sport. No, they aren't mutually exclusive but neither are they equally important. Bg's diss was because suckerburg said bringing innanet to the poor was the most important thing in the world - only someone who never went hungry, or never sat helplessly watching a child die would think that.

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