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Entries in Bill Gates (9)

Thursday
Feb212013

Richard Branson, 11 Other Foreign Billionaires, to Give Wealth to Charity

Mark Wieland/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- For the first time, foreign billionaires including Sir Richard Branson are locking arms with U.S. counterparts to sign "The Giving Pledge" -- a commitment to give half their wealth to a mega-charity created in 2010 by Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates.

"Early on, the Giving Pledge was predominantly an American phenomenon," says Peter Newcomb, a Bloomberg News editor who compiles Bloomberg's list of global billionaires.

Giving away one's money, says Newcomb, is an idea that traditionally has been more appealing to Americans than Europeans.

"It was not really a European sensibility.  Now you're beginning to see that change," he says.

Of the 12 new signatories to the Pledge, one-each comes from Australia, Germany, India, Malaysia, Russia, South Africa and the Ukraine.  Five more come from the U.K., according to a Giving Pledge statement.  These names bring to 105 the number of billionaires who have signed so far.

The newcomers include the famous -- The U.K.'s Branson and his wife Joan -- and the not-so famous: Patrice and Precious Motsepe of South Africa, whose $2.67 billion fortune, according to Forbes, comes from mining.  Patrice, says Forbes, is the first and only black billionaire from Africa.

Like other new signers of the Pledge, Branson made his commitment by letter.

"Early on in my life," Branson writes, "I realized that personal 'stuff' really didn't matter.  Joan and I lived on a houseboat, and one day it sank.  We realized that we missed nothing except our treasured photo albums."

"Later our house in London caught fire, destroying everything inside.  Last year our home in the British Virgin Islands was completely gutted as a result of a lightning strike.  Were so relieved that everyone got out safely that even the loss of photo albums and notebooks were of little consequence," he continues.

Branson wants, he says, to make "a positive difference" in the world.  As he and his wife are able to take their monies out of Virgin Group, they intend to target such causes as the reducing carbon emissions, protecting nature and resolving conflict.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Mar072012

Forbes: Carlos Slim Is World's Richest Man Again

Susana Gonzalez/Bloomberg via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Mexico’s Carlos Slim Helu and family, with a net worth of $69 billion, again top Forbes’ listing of the world’s billionaires.

Slim’s self-made fortune comes from telecommunications. The 72-year-old is chairman of Mexico’s Telmex. His fortune is down $5 billion from last year, says Forbes, owing to a decline in the share price of America Movil, another telecom company that accounts for more than half of Slim’s net worth.

Bill Gates and Warren Buffett of the U.S., who respectively have $61 billion and $44 billion, are next on Forbes’ list. Gates’ fortune comes from Microsoft, the software giant that he founded. Buffett’s comes from investment giant Berkshire Hathaway.

This year’s list netted more billionaires than ever before: 1,226 people worth a record $4.6 trillion collectively.

Berhard Arnault of France, owner of luxury goods maker LVMH, is fourth-richest, with $41 billion, followed by Spaniard Amancio Ortega ($37.5 billion). American Larry Ellison, head of Oracle corporation, ranks sixth ($36 billion).

The richest newcomer is Colombia’s Alejandro Santo Domingo Davila, described by Forbes as a 35-year-old bachelor living in New York City, who took over his father’s beer empire after his October 2011 death. His wealth is $9.5 billion.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jan242012

Bill Gates on Using His Money to Save Lives, Fixing U.S. Schools and Steve Jobs

Scott Olson/Getty Images(SEATTLE) -- For the moment, Bill Gates is no longer the world’s wealthiest man.

But he didn’t lose the title to Mexico’s telecom titan Carlos Slim; he gave it away. And as a result, the businessman-turned-philanthropist can point to a different kind of scoreboard.

“Well, it’s easiest to measure in the health work,” Gates told Yahoo!/ABC News, “where over 5 million lives have been saved.”

In a wide-ranging interview with Yahoo! and ABC News, the former head of Microsoft talked about how Steve Jobs’ death affected him, his fix for American schools and his annual letter, which sets the priorities for one of the most generous charitable efforts in history.

With a pledge to give away 95 percent of Gates’ personal wealth, the Gates Foundation claims to have granted more than $26 billion since 1994. While some of that money is devoted to improving U.S. education, roughly 75 percent goes to the poorest countries in the world, and Gates scoffs at the idea that the money would be better spent at home.

“Well, the question is, are human lives of equal value?” Gates said. "For the mother whose child dies in Africa, is that somehow less important, less painful?  If we can save that life -- for very little [money], is that appropriate to do?  And, in fact, we know that if we do save those lives, it can reduce the population growth.  It can let them be on a path to graduate from receiving aid.”

After the Gates Foundation’s vaccination efforts in India, that nation reported only one case of polio last year. And while the foundation promises to fight on against preventable diseases, the top focus of this year’s letter is agriculture and Gates’ belief that without technology, farmers could never feed the world’s exploding population.

He calls for further research into the creation of flood- and drought-resistant crops through genetic engineering.

“It is hard to overstate how valuable it is to have all the incredible tools that are used for human disease to study plants,” he writes. But the idea of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, is loaded with controversy. Environmental groups worry that the practice could upset the food chain, leading to the spread of disease, “superweeds” and mutant insects.

To the dismay of GMO opponents, public records reveal that the Gates Foundation recently spent $27 million to buy 500,000 shares of Monsanto, the agribusiness giant with labs devoted to improving on nature to boost crop yields. And while Gates avoids the words “genetically modified” in his letter, he defends the idea when pressed.

“Over time, yes, countries will need to look at specific GMO products like they look at drugs today, where they don’t approve them all.  They look hard at the safety and the testing.  And they make sure that the benefits far outweigh any of the downsides.”

Aside from the environmental concerns, England’s Prince Charles was among those who blamed a rash of farmer suicides in India on the higher cost of GMO seeds. But Gates insisted that his foundation’s partners are not out to exploit developing nations.

“There’s absolutely no payments, no royalties of any kind.  It’s just like in medicines....We go to the big companies who don’t expect to make profits from the poorest billion and say: ‘Will you help us?’ And so they donate it.”

Back in America, Gates is renewing his push toward “peer-reviewed” teaching as the key to reforming education. Since the best — and worst — teachers often operate in a bubble, he suggests training an elite group to roam from class to class to share what works and what doesn’t.

“You take at least two percent of the teachers, train them very well and have them do structured visitations,” he said. “And they tell the teacher, ‘OK, you were good at this, but you didn’t engage these kids very well.  You didn’t create discussion here.  You didn’t explain why a kid would wanna know this thing,’ and help those teachers improve.”

And Gates also reflected on the passing of Steve Jobs. Weeks before the Apple founder died, Gates paid an unannounced visit to the home of his sometime friend and longtime rival.

“He and I always enjoyed talking. He would throw some things out, you know, some stimulating things. We’d talk about the other companies that have come along. We talked about our families and how lucky we’d both been in terms of the women we married. It was great relaxed conversation."

How did Jobs’ death affect him?  "Well, it’s very strange to have somebody who’s so vibrant and made such a huge difference and been...kind of a constant presence, to have him die,” Gates said. “It makes you feel like, ‘Wow, we’re getting old.’  I hope I still have quite a bit of time for the focus I have now, which is the philanthropic work.  And there’s drugs we’re investing in now that won’t be out for 15 years — malaria eradication, I need a couple of decades here to fulfill that opportunity. But, you know, it reminds you that you gotta pick important stuff, because you only have a limited time.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Oct302011

Despite Budget Crisis, Bill Gates Pushes Continuing Foreign Aid

Scott Olson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Despite the economic crisis rippling around the world, Microsoft co-founder and chairman Bill Gates is pushing countries to continue foreign aid efforts to poor and developing nations, saying that every dollar of aid "makes a huge difference."

Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, traveled to Capitol Hill last week to make his case to members of Congress, who are grappling with major budget cuts while debating greater investments to spur job creation.

"They do have a tough constraint," Gates told This Week anchor Christiane Amanpour after his meetings in Washington. "And so the question of should these monies that help the poorest, that enhance national security, should they be cut more than other things? Should they be cut equally? Or should they be preserved?"

"I'm reminding them that every dollar makes a huge difference," Gates added.

Gates will present a plan at the G-20 Summit next week in France, calling on the wealthiest countries to continue their aid efforts, despite austerity measures being taken around the world.

"If we really look at how the world's improved in the past few decades, it's very impressive how we've reduced poverty, reduced malnutrition, reduced the under-five death rate," Gates said.

Gates said that despite general opposition to foreign aid, Americans have remained "very generous" on efforts to supply AIDS drugs and malaria bed nets to out-risk nations overseas.

"They're very excited that the U.S. has been the leader in both of those areas," Gates said. "And they're pretty surprised when they find out that it's less than one percent of the federal budget going to aid very broadly, where these high-impact health programs are just a portion of that."

Gates said current foreign aid promises are at risk as focus turns to budget cuts and making greater investments and "nation-building" at home.

Gates did not commit support to President Obama's proposed "Buffett Rule," named after billionaire investor and Gates’ friend Warren Buffett, which would raise taxes on the wealthiest one percent.

He did say he supports the principle of raising taxes on the wealthy, even if it is not enough to solve deficit problems.

"I'm not an expert on how we should do taxes. Clearly, you can't raise the taxes we need just by going after that one percent," Gates said. "Yes, I'm generally in favor of the idea that the rich should pay somewhat more. But to really deal with the deficit gap we're talking about, that alone just numerically is not going to be enough."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Oct302011

Bill Gates Dismisses Criticism in Steve Jobs Biography

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Microsoft co-founder and chairman Bill Gates dismissed criticisms of him by long-time competitor Steve Jobs in the new biography released after Jobs' death, saying "none of that bothers me at all," while praising the impact the late Apple executive had on the world.

"Steve Jobs did a fantastic job," Gates told This Week anchor Christiane Amanpour. "When you think about why is the world better today, the Internet, the personal computer, the phone, the way you can deal with information is just so phenomenal."

In the biography Steve Jobs, author Walter Isaacson quotes Jobs saying of Gates: "Bill is basically unimaginative and has never invented anything, which is why I think he's more comfortable now in philanthropy than technology. He just shamelessly ripped off other people's ideas."

"You know, he said a lot of very nice things about me and he said a lot of tough things," Gates said, reflecting on their work together on the software for the first Macintosh computer, and on the 30 years they worked together. "We got to work together. We spurred each other on, even as competitors. None of that bothers me at all."

Gates said some of Jobs' frustration with him may have been caused by Microsoft’s business success as Apple struggled for years, before becoming dominant in the last decade.

"He faced, several times at Apple, the fact that their products were so premium priced that they literally might not stay in the marketplace," Gates said. "So the fact that we were succeeding with high volume products, you know, including a range of prices, because of the way we worked with multiple companies, it's tough."

Gates added that the fact that Jobs “felt beleaguered—he felt like he was the good guy and we were the bad guys” was “very understandable."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Oct062011

President Obama, CEOs and Others React to Steve Jobs' Death

Andrew Burton/Getty Images(CUPERTINO, Calif.) -- Hailed as a visionary and a technological genius, Steve Jobs' death prompted several Fortune 500 company CEOs, celebrities, politicians, fellow tech-savvy experts and Apple lovers to offer their condolences and praises of Jobs' life accomplishments.

Apple, Inc. also launched a shout-out tribute page on their website, Apple.com, inviting all to share their "thoughts, memories and condolences."

Jobs died on Wednesday. He was 56.

Here are their words:

Statement from President Barack Obama:

"Michelle and I are saddened to learn of the passing of Steve Jobs. Steve was among the greatest of American innovators - brave enough to think differently, bold enough to believe he could change the world, and talented enough to do it.

By building one of the planet's most successful companies from his garage, he exemplified the spirit of American ingenuity. By making computers personal and putting the Internet in our pockets, he made the information revolution not only accessible, but intuitive and fun. And by turning his talents to storytelling, he has brought joy to millions of children and grownups alike. Steve was fond of saying that he lived every day like it was his last. Because he did, he transformed our lives, redefined entire industries, and achieved one of the rarest feats in human history: he changed the way each of us sees the world.

The world has lost a visionary. And there may be no greater tribute to Steve's success than the fact that much of the world learned of his passing on a device he invented. Michelle and I send our thoughts and prayers to Steve's wife Laurene, his family, and all those who loved him."

Statement from Bill Gates:

"I'm truly saddened to learn of Steve Jobs' death. Melinda and I extend our sincere condolences to his family and friends, and to everyone Steve has touched through his work. Steve and I first met nearly 30 years ago, and have been colleagues, competitors and friends over the course of more than half our lives. The world rarely sees someone who has had the profound impact Steve has had, the effects of which will be felt for many generations to come. For those of us lucky enough to get to work with him, it's been an insanely great honor. I will miss Steve immensely. "

Statement from Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and CEO:

"Steve, thank you for being a mentor and a friend. Thanks for showing that what you build can change the world. I will miss you."

Statement from Jerry Yang, Yahoo!, Inc. co-founder and former CEO:

"Steve was my hero growing up. He not only gave me a lot of personal advice and encouragement, he showed all of us how innovation can change lives. I will miss him dearly, as will the world."

Statement from George Lucas, filmmaker/producer, creator of Star Wars and Indiana Jones series who sold Pixar to Jobs:

"The magic of Steve was that while others simply accepted the status quo, he saw the true potential in everything he touched and never compromised on that vision. He leaves behind an incredible family and a legacy that will continue to speak to people for years to come."

Statement from Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen:

"My condolences to Steve Jobs family and friends. We've lost a unique tech pioneer and auteur who knew how to make amazingly great products."

Statement from Walt Disney president Bob Iger:

"Steve Jobs was a great friend as well as a trusted advisor. His legacy will extend far beyond the products he created or the businesses he built. It will be the millions of people he inspired, the lives he changed, and the culture he defined. Steve was such an "original," with a thoroughly creative, imaginative mind that defined an era. Despite all he accomplished, it feels like he was just getting started. With his passing the world has lost a rare original, Disney has lost a member of our family, and I have lost a great friend. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Laurene and his children during this difficult time."

Statement from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.:

"Steve Jobs was a visionary who changed the way we live, an innovator whose products brought joy to millions, a risktaker who wasn't afraid to challenge the status quo, and an entrepreneur who led one of the most creative companies of our time.

"His sage advice was respected by policymakers on both sides of the aisle. His courageous fight against cancer brought strength to many.

"I hope it is a comfort to those who loved him, especially his family, that so many grieve his loss and are praying for them at this sad time."

Statement from California Gov. Edmund Brown:

"Steve Jobs was a great California innovator who demonstrated what a totally independent and creative mind can accomplish. Few people have made such a powerful and elegant imprint on our lives. Anne and I wish to express our deepest sympathy to Steve's wife, Laurene, and their entire family."

Statement from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg:

"Tonight, America lost a genius who will be remembered with Edison and Einstein, and whose ideas will shape the world for generations to come. Again and again over the last four decades, Steve Jobs saw the future and brought it to life long before most people could even see the horizon. And Steve's passionate belief in the power of technology to transform the way we live brought us more than smart phones and iPads: it brought knowledge and power that is reshaping the face of civilization. In New York City's government, everyone from street construction inspectors to NYPD detectives have harnessed Apple's products to do their jobs more efficiently and intuitively. Tonight our City - a city that has always had such respect and admiration for creative genius - joins with people around the planet in remembering a great man and keeping Laurene and the rest of the Jobs family in our thoughts and prayers."

Celebrities and other politicians also took to Twitter to offer condolences.

Ashton Kutcher, Actor on Two and a Half Men:

"@apluck: RIP Steve Jobs #DontCallMeIf #ThankYouSteve #iSad"

"@aplusk: We have all surfed on the wake of Steve Jobs ship. Now we must learn to sail, but we will never forget our skipper."

Lance Armstrong, professional cyclist/cancer research foundation founder:


"@lancearmstrong: 'A computer is the most remarkable tool that we've ever come up with. It's a bicycle for our minds' - Steve Jobs"

Jon Huntsman, Republican presidential candidate:

"@JonHuntsman: Sad to hear about the passing of Steve Jobs, a true inspiration and a great American innovator."

Jimmy Fallon, host of Late Night With Jimmy Fallon

@jimmyfallon: Thank you, Steve Jobs, for all of the fun and amazing ways you made our lives better....Sent from my iPhone.

Will.i.am, rapper/musician/actor:

"@#youchangetheworld we lost a great innovator...steve jobs designed a whole new world...he will be missed..."

Ryan Seacrest, American Idol host/radio talk show personality/producer:

"@RyanSeacrest: 'Have the courage to follow ur heart & intuition. They already know what u truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.' - Steve Jobs"

Nancy Grace, TV host, Dancing With the Stars contestent:

"@NancyGraceHLN: About to go to air & discovered news about Steve Jobs - My heart goes out to his family tonight. #RIP Steve Jobs"

LeBron James, Miami Heat forward:

"@KingJames: R.I.P Steve Jobs. Someone who definitely left his mark on this world! Innovations that will live and last forever!!"

Neil Patrick Harris, Actor on How I Met Your Mother:

"@ActuallyNPH: Rest in peace, Steve Jobs. Your genius will live on for generations to come..."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Sep212011

'Forbes' Lists the Richest People in America

Scott Olson/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Forbes has released its annual list of the 400 wealthiest Americans, worth an estimated combined $1.53 trillion.

Their total combined wealth is up 12 percent from last year. Perhaps more notable is that 70 percent of the individuals on the list are self-starters, which marks an increase of 55 percent since 1997.

In addition, a group of younger entrepreneurs are also making their way up the list. Topping the ranks of younger entrepreneurs is Facebook’s 27-year-old Mark Zuckerberg, coming in at 14th place, with $10.6 billion, ahead of Google rivals Sergey Brin and Larry Page with $1.7 billion, tied at 15th.

Dustin Moskovitz, Zuckerberg’s former roommate, is the youngest billionaire to make the list.


Here’s a look of the top ten wealthiest Americans:


1.    Bill Gates, $59 billion
2.    Warren Buffett, $39 billion
3.    Larry Ellison, $33 billion
4.    Charles Koch, $25 billion
5.    David Koch, $25 billion
6.    Christy Walton, $24.5 billion
7.    Jim C. Walton $21.1 billion
8.    Alice Walton $20.9 billion
9.    George Soros $22 billion
10.  Sheldon Adelson, $21.5 billion


Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Aug022011

First Apple, Now Bill Gates: Richer Than The Government

ABC NewsWASHINGTON -- The latest treasury statement, for last Thursday, reports 53.6 billion in the government’s bank account. It was reported last Wednesday that Apple  Inc. had more money than the government, with about $74 billion,  and the comparison is now being stretched to include the wealth of some of the richest people in the world.

Microsoft Corp founder Bill Gates’ personal worth is one of the top names on the list with an estimated $56 billion.

Although some argue that the cash holdings of the U.S. Treasury aren't really comparable to Apple’s cash or Gates’ net worth -- going through an estimated $10 billion a day -- but the comparisons do seem to form a symbolic backdrop for the recent debates in Washington.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jul182011

Obama Meets with Buffett, Gates to Discuss Giving Pledge

President Barack Obama meets with Warren Buffett, the chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, in the Oval Office, July 18, 2011. Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama hosted the two wealthiest Americans at the White House Monday to receive an update on the Giving Pledge, the pact to encourage the nation’s wealthiest people to donate the majority of their riches to philanthropy.

Obama met with Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates, co-chairs of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to discuss the ways in which private philanthropy can help address the country’s greatest challenges.

Asked by ABC if the president is considering donating his personal wealth to the cause, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney would say only that they met because the president “thinks that what they’re doing is extraordinarily noble and good.”

Buffett and Obama also likely discussed the ongoing deficit-reduction negotiations, Carney said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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