Bill Gates Throws Shade At Google For WiFi Balloons In Africa When People In Are Dying Of Malaria

“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.”

1. “Don’t be evil” might be Google’s corporate motto, but it seems like Microsoft’s Bill Gates would prefer if it was “Don’t be stupid.”

Yuri Gripas / Reuters

2. In an interview with Bloomberg, he was asked about one of Google’s core convictions — bringing Internet connectivity to less-developed countries. Namely, a project to float broadband transmitters on balloons:

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. 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.

3. Rather than drop the mic and walk out, Gates went further, chiding Google for reneging on an old promise.

Gus Ruelas / Reuters

Google started out saying they were going to do a broad set of things. 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.

5. He wasn’t done. In the same interview he moved onto heavyweights like Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Tesla’s Elon Musk and Virgin Galactic’s Richard Branson.

Reed Saxon, File / AP

6. Bill, what do you think of their extracurricular interests around space exploration?

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.

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Adrian Carrasquillo is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Adrian Carrasquillo at
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