The world’s richest person Bill Gates has announced he is shifting his emphasis from working for Microsoft towards giving away his billions.
He will soon step down from day-to-day work at the software giant to concentrate on his charity, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which funds the fight against diseases like malaria, TB and AIDS.
Reminiscing, Gates said: “Thirty years ago Microsoft was just an idea that Paul Allen and I had; and it’s amazing to think what that idea has transformed into – not just in terms of the company and the great people there – but the impact that it’s had: the personal computer is the tool of communications and creativity.”
Created in 1975, Microsoft dominates personal computer operating systems. Its turnover last year was 34 billion euros. The foundation has received 24 billion euros of Gate’s money.
Gates will ease himself out of the company over the next two years having hand-picked his successors including Steve Ballmer, a friend from university days, who is already serving as Microsoft’s chief executive.
In his role as joint head of the world’s richest foundation Gates has used his high profile and access to put pressure on governments worldwide to increase their spending on health.
His philanthropy has been recognised by an honorary knighthood from Britain’s Queen Elizabeth and praise from public-health experts.
The Gates Foundation’s annual spending on health rivals that of the World Health Organisation.