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Microsoft The Almighty Buck

Bill Gates Donates $258 Million to Fight Malaria 694

klubar writes to tell us that Bill Gates has donated approximately $258 million to fight malaria. From the article: "Malaria research accounts for about one-third of 1 percent of the total amount of money spent on medical research and development, even though it accounts for 3 percent of all the productive years of life lost to diseases, according to a report released Sunday." Gates was quoted saying "The report confirms what has been clear, and that is that the world isn't investing nearly enough in malaria R&D."
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Bill Gates Donates $258 Million to Fight Malaria

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  • by Emperor Tiberius ( 673354 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @12:34AM (#13921024) Homepage
    Whatever folks may say about "The Evil Empire," this a true gift of philanthropy. Let's give a hand to Bill Gates...
    • Agreed. Gates is right, it seems like malaria is almost overlooked even in the media with all the focus on AIDS, cancer, killer bees, avian flu, anthrax threats, SARS, etc...
    • I completely agree. His philantrophic activities are par none.
    • by SnarfQuest ( 469614 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @01:00AM (#13921165)
      ...but he already took an arm and a leg...
    • See what I just posted. [slashdot.org]. This does look good, but why is it people are saying it is so philanthropic without checking into everything first? When Gates gave large sums to research in India, it was at the same time MS was spending 2x as much in advertising to try to drive India away from FOSS and toward Windows. Gates is shrwed, and has shown his first focus is always himself. While his Father is the administrator of the charity fund, Gates himself still puts his hand in and uses charity gifts as a way t
      • That's ridiculous (Score:5, Insightful)

        by backslashdot ( 95548 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @01:37AM (#13921332)
        Ok, how much money do you think he makes in Africa?? Over $258 million?? LOL! Sorry but piracy is rampant there. It's possible to suspect everyone of having ulterior motives no matter what they do. If you look with hateful, bitter, and cynical eyes, you can make yourself see selfishness in everyone's actions.

        "Mother Teresa liked feeling important and only helped people because it made herself feel good and needed"

        Most of the time when people believe such things, it is because they themselves are unable to feel charitable to anyone or anything. So they cannot understand when others do something charitable. All they do is throw stones rather than replicate or surpass the charity they criticize.

        After all, who wants someone they hate to be better than themselves?

        Bill Gates believes in helping people, and he has given a large portion of his wealth to helping these countries get out of poverty and disease. This is fact. The "Return On Investment" on helping Africa is multiple decades, long after he's dead. And even believing that Africans can be productive enough to provide a ROI to Microsoft is itself above and beyond everyone else's "Africa is a basket case" attitude on Africa.

        What someone does in business, however shrewd, does not mean they don't genuinely feel for those who are suffering.
        • Re:That's ridiculous (Score:5, Interesting)

          by david_anderson ( 896517 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @02:16AM (#13921474)
          Well said!

          My girlfriend worked for the foundation for 4 years, and I got to see the passion that Bill and Melinda feel for these issues. They have held those AIDS babies in their arms in those clinics in Africa. They really do care.

          I don't like how Bill got his money, but I have complete respect for what he is doing with it.
        • This is a very good thing he did. Do not let opinions of his company cloud your thinking. See it for what it is. A charitable gesture. Pray for the guy instead.
    • by tabatj ( 927428 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @01:29AM (#13921294)
      Its the first thing he has ever done to _stop_ the spread of viruses.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @12:35AM (#13921027)
    but at the core, this guy is a saint. I cant fathom the millions if not billions gates + his wife have contributed to humanitarian causes.
    • I commend Bill for his generosity, really. The Gates Foundation is the largest charity organization in the world, and it does many worthwhile things. It follows in the grand tradition of billionaire benefactors, like Rockefeller and Carnegie.

      But keep in mind that Gates is the wealthiest man on the face of the planet, worth tens of billions of dollars. There's only so many mansions, exotic cars, yachts, priceless works of art, private jets, islands, and so forth he could purchase before they become ridiculou
  • Bless The Man (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SRA8 ( 859587 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @12:37AM (#13921036)
    I know Microsoft (and accordingly Bill Gates) hasnt been the fairest of competitors, but lets give the guy credit -- he appears to have genuine goodwill. Business is business and Microsoft is far from the most evil. For those on a MSFT warpath, perhaps your anger would be better turned towards Halliburton, Bechtel, Exxon or the NeoConservatives -- they create far more death, destruction, and misery in the world than Microsoft can or will ever do.
  • by epicstruggle ( 311178 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @12:37AM (#13921038)
    Is it really necessary to use the gates borg icon when he does something like this?

    Im glad that bill is using some of his fortume to help fight this disease. Africa thanks you.

    • he's also given aggressively in the fight against AIDS in Africa. I think something like a billion a year over ten years through the Gates Foundation.

      he's an awesome philanthropist. This is one of the reasons why I've never had an issue using Microsoft products.
  • by Ribbo.com ( 885396 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @12:38AM (#13921045) Homepage
    Bill is a generous guy, although yes it is easy to be generous when you're not putting yourself out. I have a lot of respect for him tackling the important issues rather than the popular ones. (There are a ton of people donating to the charities in the headlines, just to get in the headlines themselves, Red Cross right now at number 1) Bill is going for the forgotten charities which are just as, if not more, important due to the devastation malaria has on the human population. As always, Bill is not being cool, and that's a good thing!
  • by use_compress ( 627082 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @12:39AM (#13921049) Journal
    Malaria causes more deaths in children under 5 years old than even AIDS. (http://www.cdc.gov/malaria/impact/ [cdc.gov]) Bill is certainly doing the right thing and I'll feel a bit less dirty writing this post on a WinXP machine because of it.
  • I'm glad to see... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by spikexyz ( 403776 )
    ...he got away from the strictly technology causes and moved on to things that really matter.
  • Anti trust (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @12:40AM (#13921057)
    I still think it is wrong for Microsoft to get into the anti virus market.
  • That'll buy a hell of a lot of DDT, which is the only thing you need to eradicate malaria.

    Unfortunately, a bunch of overwrought environmentalists managed to get the use and manufacture of DDT severely restricted on the basis of some very bad science.

    The malaria problem has already been solved. We just need to allow third world countries to use the same solution we used before some trashy 60's book that cried about DDT softening eggshells.
    • by Ether ( 4235 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @01:06AM (#13921194)
      Ugh no.

      See: http://kenethmiles.blogspot.com/2004_02_01_kenethm iles_archive.html#107570569615970184 [blogspot.com] . In short, the myth of agricultural bans on DDT preventing the public health use of DDT is demonstrably false.
    • Actually, just like starvation/famime malaria is really a logistical and supply problem. Its easy to go around saying 'we have the technology, therefore the problem is solved', the problem now is 'how do you get millions of, most likely fragile, handle-with-care, containers' to a third-world countries. In many of these countries, 'the road' is the least vegatated path on the ground from point A to point B. Railroads are almost non-existant in some of them, airports are sometimes long strips of pressed dirt
    • by maynard ( 3337 ) <j@maynard@gelinas.gmail@com> on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @01:14AM (#13921227) Journal
      You source nothing to back up your assertion that DDT is environmentally safe, and then claim that the hundreds of millions of dollars would be better spent buying and spraying DDT instead of conducting research. I'll let a few organic chemists respond to your assertion of its safety. Instead, I'll simply note that spraying DDT is a recurring cost, that Malaria prone zones throughout the world which would require spraying quite large, and that (IMO) DDT is an old technology ready to be supplanted by something new. As one example of where modern research might go, I point you to this article (I'm sure a search would show plenty of others):

      Gene That Helps Mosquitoes Fight Off Malaria Parasite Identified [sciencedaily.com]

      Researchers have identified a gene in mosquitoes that helps the insects to fight off infection by the Plasmodium parasite, which causes malaria in humans. Anopheles mosquitoes transmit the malaria parasite to nearly 550 million people worldwide each year with these cases resulting in more than 2 million deaths annually. The protective gene was identified in a study conducted by a team of investigators from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health's Malaria Research Institute, the Imperial College of London and the University of Texas Medical Branch. It will be published in the Online Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences the week of October 24.

    • Even ignoring the side effects of DDT, they have sprayed it in Africa before, and there was political garbage going on, so the areas sprayed were a patchwork. This caused a monster of a problem, Africa has signifigant amounts of DDT resistant mosquitoes, more than enough to keep Malaria alive and kicking in Africa. So DDT can dampen an area for a bit, but it wont hold for the long run

      So now were going to need a good mix of pesticides, and the ability to spray the areas where we have these mosquitos, with

  • Malaria deaths (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dfjghsk ( 850954 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @12:46AM (#13921090)
    At the end of 2004, 107 countries and territories had areas at risk of malaria transmission. Some 3.2 billion people lived in areas at risk of malaria transmission.

    An estimated 350-500 million clinical malaria episodes occur annually. At least 2.7 million die per year from Malaria.

    Malaria is responsible for one in four global child deaths. These deaths could be prevented by means which are simple, effective and available.

    So lets all give a hand to Bill Gates for helping prevent at least some of these deaths.

    • by rishistar ( 662278 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @03:05AM (#13921656) Homepage
      According to the New Scientist [newscientist.com]...

      Malaria vaccine possible within six years
      11:18 31 October 2005
      NewScientist.com news service
      Shaoni Bhattacharya

      A malaria vaccine could be available within 6 years if new trials of the most promising candidate prove successful, say experts.

      Malaria vaccine research received a $107.6 million injection of funds on Monday, part of a $258.3 million donation from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for the study of malaria and its treatment.

      The cash boost will accelerate the development of an effective vaccine, says Melinda Moree, director of the Malaria Vaccine Initiative (MVI). The anticipated date for a vaccine could be as early as 2011. At one point what the world considered to be fairly unattainable is actually coming along quite rapidly, she told reporters. It is absolutely possible to make a vaccine against malaria."

      MVI will work with GlaxoSmithKline on the most promising vaccine candidate yet, called RTS,S, which, in trial in Mozambique, cut the rate of severe malaria in children aged 1 to 4 by 58%. This was the first time that a malaria vaccine candidate had shown protection against severe disease in children.

      The new series of planned trials will examine whether the vaccine is safe and effective when given to infants alongside other childhood vaccines. Research will then proceed to a phase III trial to permit licensing. The trials, to be conducted in locations across Africa, will have about 17,000 subjects.

      more at the url above.

  • by stox ( 131684 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @12:47AM (#13921092) Homepage
    Melinda Gates must be one hell of a women. Until he got married, his charitable contributions were non-existent. Since then, his/their contributions have become sigificant.
  • by dananderson ( 1880 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @12:49AM (#13921109) Homepage
    Bill Gates reminds me of John D. Rockefeller. Both Rockefeller and Gates were despised when they were creating monopolies. Rockefeller is best remembered now for his generous donations for National Parks, libraries, and the Rockefeller Foundation.

    I think Gates will be remembered likewise for his good works in reducing the worst misery in poor countries. I think we owe a lot to Gate's wife, Melinda. He didn't do this stuff before he was married. OTOH, we wouldn't do it if he felt strongly for this also.

    I still don't like the Microsoft monopoly, but not all Computer billionaires are so generous and he doesn't have to do this. Thanks Bill!

  • Moral Corporations (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Da3vid ( 926771 )
    I hate how people seem to dislike most large corporations for the sake of them being large. I personally have no problem with places like Microsoft or Wal-Mart (I used to be an employee of Wal-Mart) and I'm glad that acts like this are shown to skeptics. I'll give you that they aren't perfect, and that some companies are not good companies. However, by virtue of being large, does not make a company bad. However, I fear that many people will point to this as a donation made to gain public support, which I ad
    • by rm69990 ( 885744 )
      No one around here has many problems with IBM, who is much larger than Microsoft. It is the tactics that made Microsoft large that people dislike. IBM cleaned itself up in the 90's and is no longer like what Microsoft is becoming (has become).
    • by Burpmaster ( 598437 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @02:39AM (#13921568)
      I hate how people seem to dislike most large corporations for the sake of them being large.

      And who does that? People that dislike most large corporations do so because most large coporations, in my opinion and theirs, do bad things. People that disagree with this view put forward the notion that we just hate the corporations for being large, because it's much easier to demonstrate a fault in that position.

      To debate ethically, they should actually address the criticism made of large corporations.

  • by PIPBoy3000 ( 619296 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @12:50AM (#13921117)
    At least according to this article [newscientist.com]. The current vaccine has to be given each year. Some of the money is also earmarked towards treating malaria, which should help in the interim.
  • Cynics (Score:2, Insightful)

    by H0D_G ( 894033 )
    it's sad to see the cynicism over such a big donation
  • by zhiwenchong ( 155773 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @01:00AM (#13921166)
    A mosquito was heard to complain
    That a chemist had poisoned his brain
    The cause of his sorrow
    Was paradichloro

    Heh heh... from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DDT [wikipedia.org]
  • by EuroChild ( 523969 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @01:02AM (#13921177)
    After reading the article on steve jobs (http://apple.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=05/10/31 /0355254&tid=3 [slashdot.org]) and now this on bill gates, I move that we should have two icons for each: good steve and bad steve, borg bill and... saint bill?
  • ... since he got rich on money he stole from all of us, it always feels like I would be doing part of the donating here. And yes, if someone uses illegal methods to enrich himself its like stealing from me in my book.
  • by jjeffries ( 17675 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @01:21AM (#13921253)
    This just proves what I've always said...

    "When you support Free software, you support malaria!"

    What the hell's your problem? Do you like dead babies? Do you???

    No, save the precious infants! [amazon.com]


    Yes, let's kill some babies! [kernel.org]

  • He also donated... (Score:5, Informative)

    by mandreiana ( 591979 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @01:26AM (#13921279) Homepage
    ...more than $1bn to fight cancer [theregister.co.uk]
  • by linumax ( 910946 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @01:30AM (#13921296)
    You can find the main article here. [it-director.com]

    I have never been a fan of Bill Gates, the technologist. I don't harbor the opinion that Bill has made a great contribution to technology. Indeed, I blame Mr Gates for the absurdly bad PC user interface that we all have to put up with--and I don't just mean the Windows interface--I also mean the Apple interface and the two (for-chrissake-make-up-your-mind) Linux interfaces.

    By doing little more than slavishly follow innovations introduced by Apple and occasionally coming up with original bad ideas, Microsoft has put no competitive pressure on Apple at all to provide a truly usable PC interface. (When it needed to produce a brilliant interface, as per the iPod, Apple was up to the task). With Linux, it's worse. GUI innovation amongst the Linux desktop crowd has been so invisible that one wonders whether Open Source naturally evolves according to the principles of unintelligent design. It's all a mess.

    I have more respect for Bill Gates as a businessman. Admittedly Microsoft's power grew out of a monopoly situation, but Bill Gates was intelligent and focused in establishing that monopoly and outmaneuvered a swathe of competitors. It's difficult to fault it, although it's also easy to conclude that it has not been good for the IT industry.

    But never mind, there is an area of activity where, in my view, Bill Gates deserves genuine respect. A current article in the New Yorker provides a detailed account of Bill (and Malinda) Gates' philanthropic activities. Most impressively, Bill Gates is (unarguably) doing more for world health than the WHO itself. The simple fact is that the Bill and Malinda charity provides much more finance to specific world health initiatives than the WHO does--and it is managed (by Bill himself) as if it were a competitive business. It sets targets, invests and reviews progress. According to the New Yorker, at the moment Bill is doing what he can to combat Malaria--which is more deadly to world health than AIDS. The article is worth reading. Not just for what it reveals about Bill Gates but also what it reveals about the health problems the world faces.

    Detractors of Bill Gates may well maintain that with his particular pile of dollars it is easy to be philanthropic. Indeed with one tenth of his dollar pile it would also be easy. And indeed there are a few individuals that have such piles, but I don't know of any (with the possible exception of George Soros) that actively engages in the kind of activity that Bill Gates does. Hats off, I think.

  • by Stephen Maturin ( 530754 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @02:22AM (#13921493)
    I'm currently in a country where Malaria prophylaxis is required... recently we switched from daily Malarone tablets to weekly Mefloquine HCL tablets. "Malaria Mondays" are also known as "movie night" because of the really bizarre dreams this shit induces.
    One of my co-workers woke up in the middle of the night, standing in the middle of his B-Hut (basically a wooden tent, sleeps 8-10 with about 9'x7x per man), screaming his head off at nothing.
    Last night, I dreamed I was accosted by a giant rooster wearing a shaggy fur coat, a wide brimmed velvet hat, gold chains, and big gold rings. He was giving me shit for eating eggs, and was really pissed off at me. He forced me to sit on this egg until it hatched. When the egg hatched, it was a miniature version of myself, dressed like the rooster, and carrying a pizza!
  • by OO7david ( 159677 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @03:14AM (#13921676) Homepage Journal
    The World [theworld.org] (a PRI program) mentioned this in part of a larger story on malaria in Africa [theworld.org] (WMA file, fittingly enough). The ultimate point was that as much as Bill is being generous in his giving, he largely has wanted to see it go toward technological improvements rather than simple things that work now (eg sleeping mats spayed down with repellent).

    It's a good listen overall, though.
  • by hagbard5235 ( 152810 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @05:30AM (#13922046)
    While *Microsoft* tends to only engage in self-serving philanthropy (giving things away to enhance their business interests in the long term), I have to give kudos to Gates for his foundation. Everything I've ever seen the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation give money to has been a very important cause with absolutely no potential to benefit them or MS materially in any way.

    In particular, Gates has backed research into treating the maladies that vex the third world. These are diseases that do incredible harm, but frankly aren't commercially worth the spending medical research dollars on because the people they afflict are so poor. This is why a few hundred million here and there from Gates is such a huge thing. He spends the money that no commercial interest could ever justify spending to try to alleviate the suffering of the worlds poorest residents.

    Don't get me wrong here, I have nothing positive to say about how Bill made his money, but he does deserver credit for how he disposes of it through his charity.
  • Well... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by frank_adrian314159 ( 469671 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @11:04AM (#13923332) Homepage
    I hear that another approach he's looking at is to fund mosquito control - you know, one blood sucker getting rid of his competitors.

    OK, now that the obvious joke is out of the way, you do have to hand it to the guy for doing this. As an orphan disease, malaria research doesn't get nearly enough funding. Doing something like this puts him on the side of the angels (for this particular skirmish).

If a camel is a horse designed by a committee, then a consensus forecast is a camel's behind. -- Edgar R. Fiedler