Bill Gates pours scorn on Google third world internet connectivity plans

Project Loon won't help the poor, says Microsoft chairman.

Bill Gates

Bill Gates castigated efforts by Google to bring internet connectivity to poor parts of the world say that such scheme won't "uplift the poor".

Google's Project Loon will use solar-powered, remote controlled balloons complete with transmitters to allow affordable internet access in remote, hard-to-reach areas. However, the Microsoft chairman said that such schemes are missing the point.

"When you're dying of malaria, I suppose you'll look up and see that balloon, and I'm not sure how it'll help you," Gates said in an interview with Bloomberg BusinessWeek.

"When a kid gets diarrhea, no, there's no website that relieves that. Certainly I'm a huge believer in the digital revolution. And connecting up primary-health-care centers, connecting up schools, those are good things. But no, those are not, for the really low-income countries, unless you directly say we're going to do something about malaria."

Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement - Article continues below

Google set up a charitable organisation in 2006, called with a mission to "[develop] technologies to help address global challenges."

Gates' beef with such charitable efforts by tech companies boils down to the narrow scope they take.

"Google started out saying they were going to do a broad set of things," said Gates. "They hired Larry Brilliant, and they got fantastic publicity. And then they shut it all down. Now they're just doing their core thing. Fine. But the actors who just do their core thing are not going to uplift the poor."

Gates said that saving lives and eradicating disease was a bigger priority. He also took pot shots at other tech billionaires throwing money at space exploration and added he saw no connection between such exploits and "improving the state of humanity".

"Everybody's got their own priorities. In terms of improving the state of humanity, I don't see the direct connection. I guess it's fun, because you shoot rockets up in the air. But it's not an area that I'll be putting money into."

Featured Resources

Digitally perfecting the supply chain

How new technologies are being leveraged to transform the manufacturing supply chain

Download now

Three keys to maximise application migration and modernisation success

Harness the benefits that modernised applications can offer

Download now

Your enterprise cloud solutions guide

Infrastructure designed to meet your company's IT needs for next-generation cloud applications

Download now

The 3 approaches of Breach and Attack Simulation technologies

A guide to the nuances of BAS, helping you stay one step ahead of cyber criminals

Download now


cloud computing

Google adds partners to real-time translation tools

8 Jan 2020

The IT Pro Products of the Year 2019: All the year’s best hardware

24 Dec 2019
search engine optimization (SEO)

Google is getting worse as it does more

21 Dec 2019

The IT Pro Podcast: Is the future multi-cloud?

29 Nov 2019

Most Popular

operating systems

17 Windows 10 problems - and how to fix them

13 Jan 2020
Microsoft Windows

What to do if you're still running Windows 7

14 Jan 2020
web browser

What is HTTP error 503 and how do you fix it?

7 Jan 2020
mergers and acquisitions

Xerox to nominate directors to HP's board – reports

22 Jan 2020