Claiming Israel “is part of the Silicon Valley,” Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates praised the successful high-tech industry of the Jewish State where he is currently on a 24-hour visit.
“Israel is doing fantastic things in the area of technology and I’m excited to be here,” he said, adding the country was home to numerous remarkable talents.
The world’s richest man and one of the most influential philanthropists is set to meet Prime Minister Ariel Sharon with whom he will discuss a cooperation agreement between Israel and the giant software provider.
In an interview with the Yedioth Ahronoth daily, Gates said he is enthusiastically anticipating the meeting with Sharon whom he praised for Israel’s valuable contribution to the global high-tech industry.
“I will discuss with him (Sharon) ways to further advance Israeli technology which is certainly remarkable,” Gates said.
Sternly sticking to his business agenda, Gates refused to comment on any of the political questions fired at him, be it U.S. involvement in Iraq or the Israeli-Arab conflict. Yet the high-tech magnet acknowledged that he is well-read and knows a good deal about the Middle East and the regional conflict.
“I read a lot,” he said when first asked to hint at his political inclinations. “I am a software expert,” he uttered when pressed to make a plain political statement on the Israeli-Palestinian problem.
On the business front, Gates does not shy away and spoke about his decision to relinquish the day-to-day management of Microsoft to serve in the new position of “Chief Software Architect.”
Asked whether his company is wary of the growing threat from Google, the world’s leading internet search engine, Gates acknowledged the tense competition between the two companies over who will dominate the digital surfing industry in the future.
“We do not fear Google, but there is intense competition between us," Gates said, adding that Google is Microsoft's main competitor. He said excellent people work there, yet when it comes to content searches on the internet, the situation is still terrible in comparison to what can be achieved.
He hinted to Microsoft’s plans to exceed Google’s domination over the next six months acknowledging that other competitors like Yahoo have their sights set on the same target.
Gates also ruled out the possibility of purchasing Google or any other surfing giant.
The USD 50-billion-worth man did not fail to mention the philanthropic work undertaken by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation which has so far donated USD 27 billion to charitable organizations and humanitarian causes in the third world. Gates unraveled plans to funnel tens of billions of dollars in donations in the future, something that makes him proud of Microsoft, he said
“Vaccines against AIDS and Malaria, and supplying basic medical services,” were the main projects in which Gates plans to invest a fraction of the golden coins that fill his pockets on the Wall Street Stock Exchange.
Gates said that the world’s rich are not doing enough to help millions of unfortunate people around the world. He added that his wealth is “a right and a responsibility,” referring to the joy that Microsoft has brought him in enabling to be one of the founders of the technological revolution.