Gates Takes Shot at Google Implying Project Loon is Loony for Starving Third-World Countries

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News Posted: Sun, Aug 11 2013 12:59 AM
You'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who would suggest that Bill Gates isn't a pretty intelligent guy. But, he's also Microsoft at his core, and that company doesn't exactly "get along" with the likes of Samsung, Apple, and Google. Lately, Gates has taken a particularly harsh tone in regard to Google's Project Loon -- a wild initiative that puts Internet distribution up in the clouds. The goal was to provide Internet to rural and under-served areas via floating balloons, but Gates is suggesting that it simply will not help the poor.


According to Gates: "When you're dying of malaria... I'm not sure how [the Loon balloons will] help you. When a kid gets diarrhea, there's no website that relieves that."


He's right, in a sense. Just putting Internet in the sky won't provide funding for computers, and it won't build schools. But he's also very short-sighted. How can you say that someone in a poor area with a disease wouldn't benefit from having access to WebMD? How could you suggest that having the Internet would be totally useless when it comes to searching for medical advice? Internet certainly won't solve everything, but it's a good start. Plus, any doctors and educators that may want to lay down roots in poor areas would benefit tremendously from having Internet in hospitals and schools.

Perhaps it's being taken out of context a bit, but it sounds a lot like sour grapes from here.
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Bill Gates: never innovative, always imitative, a modern Antonio Salieri, permanently envious of modern Mozarts, like Apple and Google.

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Alexander, you've said it all in one sentence !

Gates is an expert in two things only, the software business and exploiting a near monopoly on desktop operating systems. For him, they're probably one and the same thing.

Gates, despite some good work (and some questionable) with his foundation, is NOT an expert on vaccinations nor on education, nor on a great many other things.

Being a billionaire must be great, but it does not confer any special extra intelligence, insight or intuition on the lucky few in that class. Not Gates, not the Koch brothers, not anyone else.

Considering his open mouthed astonishment at being caught totally unawares of the rapid emergence of the Internet about when Netscape came along, Gates is, if anything, somewhat slower than others.

His pathetic attempt to give away the crash prone and security hole ridden Internet Explorer browser (even the name lacks imagination) in order to ruin Netscape, and then to claim that the Internet Explorer was an integral part of the Windows operating system, after the Microsoft engineers made it almost impossible to remove, indicate a rather pathetic patchwork quilt mentality which had neither to time, nor the inclination to engage in genuine innovation.

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ilemona replied on Sun, Aug 11 2013 8:51 AM

Gates is right on this one. The problem is hardly distribution, its bandwidth to the internet. I fail to see how balloons will address that, i also agree that internet connectivity is not first on the list of nations still struggling with dismal infant mortality rates and non-existent medical infrastructure/services. Spend the money on clean water projects and you will instantly save millions. I think Google is simply looking for more customers, but there is nothing wrong with that too.

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Dave_HH replied on Sun, Aug 11 2013 9:17 AM

Totally agreed ilemona. This is a solution to a non-problem (at least at this point in time, in that region). It's novel technology for sure and definitely worth-while in other areas, but clean water easily trumps internet access, even if it brings medical access with it.

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I disagree. I'm 47 and I remember when I was in grade school missions going to Africa to give them clean water. Maybe a new solution to this perpetual problem is needed or at least in conjunction with the clean water idea. Maybe the "clean water idea" is too downstream (no pun intended) of the real problem. Sort of like the old adage....feed a man a fish you feed him for one day...teach a man to fish you feed him for a lifetime......not that having balloons up there will teach everyone how to make clean water or solve the poverty but it cant hurt...and this is what google does best....they do information.....they dont do "clean water"...and just maybe some lucky poor kid with some computer access can make it to the 21st century.....A smart man once said...."The next Einstein has likely already perished in the deserts of Africa..not due to lack of food but due to the lack of access to modern thought.....it was after all a simple medical student who brought Einstein books on geometry when he was just a boy that ignited his mind.....maybe a single balloon can ignite a special mind and save us all.....

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Dave_HH replied on Sun, Aug 11 2013 4:53 PM

Huh... Never thought of it that way. Good points. I'm on the fence. I think Google even could think of better ways to help, within their core competency, beyond just flying internet access balloons.

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RiCoFrost replied on Sun, Aug 11 2013 7:25 PM

Bill Gates is the man.

There is no other person that has done more to make the world a better place, him and his wife.

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realneil replied on Sun, Aug 11 2013 10:02 PM

Gates has donated over 28 Billion (that's with a "B") to charity and is still at it. If that isn't "walking the walk", nothing is.

His efforts to get vaccines to under developed populations is on record. (and Mosquito nets as well)

I'd love to see Google work on providing safe water wells to people who need it. The money that this internet balloon idea costs could fund a hell of a lot of water wells in Africa. They get to spend their money as they see fit, and Gates does too.

I could care less about his business practices

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rafamrc replied on Sun, Aug 11 2013 11:31 PM

The two companies, Microsoft and Google are massive companies with deep pockets because they are in the business of making money. MS doesn't give Office cheaper or for free so then Gates can donate some of the billions he accumulated.

Same with "noble" Google, they are not trying to save the world, they want everyone to have Internet access (which I'm not saying people shouldn't) so they can reach massive amounts of people and make money from it. Their search engine and other services might seem "free" to some people, but they make their money from them, don't forget that.

Neither company is here to save the world, eh are here to take their money, and as much as they possibly can.

At least Gates has some decency to donate some of the massive amount of money he has, even if his children and grandchildren after him used it as toilet paper they won't spend it.

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