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Bill Gates slams Google's Project Loon initiative

Says the firm should be more like him
Fri Aug 09 2013, 15:35
Bill Gates at the World Economic Forum 2007

MICROSOFT CO-FOUNDER AND VERY RICH MAN Bill Gates slammed Google's Project Loon initiative in an interview this week, saying that the project "won't uplift the poor".

Google's Project Loon sees the internet giant looking to provide internet access to people in developing countries by suspending WiFi enabled balloons in the air, but Bill Gates isn't impressed with the company's plans.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Gates said that Google's Project Loon initiative, which is still in the concept phase, won't help solve core issues in developing countries, addimg that the firm should be doing more to help the poor. Basically, Gates said that Google should be more like him.

Gates said in the interview, "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 healthcare 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.

"Google started out saying they were going to do a broad set of things. They hired Larry Brilliant [the former director of Google's charitable arm], 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."

Google disagrees, obviously. It said that its balloon idea, for which a pilot has already been set up in an area of New Zealand, will help the poor connect to the web without having to fork out for complex infrastructure.

Google also said that the system could potentially help in the aftermath of a natural disaster in such areas. µ


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