Dr. Evil impressions, Zune defensiveness and a willingness to give away $28bn dollars: can you blame us for liking Bill Gates? The Microsoft chairman has been talking to UK paper the Daily Mail, and while the focus is the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization which kicks off today, there’s still plenty of time for gadget anecdotes and singing Travie McCoy’s Billionaire.
The iPod and iPad question is probably the least surprising, to which Gates points out unsurprisingly that his children “have the Windows equivalent. They have a Zune music player, which is a great Windows portable player. They are not deprived children.” As for whether he would respond to calls from some investors to return to Microsoft and take back the CEO position from Steve Ballmer, Gates’ answer is a definitive no. “My full-time work for the rest of my life is this foundation” he claims. “I’m part-time involved. But this is my job now.”
It’s not just Travie McCoy songs that Gates can do – his children apparently tease him by singing the recent hit – but characters from Austin Powers. Challenged with the question of whether foreign aid gets partially skimmed off by less than admirable regimes, he dismisses it with a Dr. Evil impression. “When we buy vaccines we are super-smart about what we pay. We get price reductions. We can track how many kids get the vaccines. People don’t stockpile vaccines. It’s not like you’re going to go to Mugabe’s mansion and you’d find polio vaccines in the basement and he’s going “Ha, ha, ha! I took it ALL!””
Still, you can’t escape the geek for too long, and Gates’ money – metaphorically speaking – is on speech control and its integration into our daily lives. “The next big thing is definitely speech and voice recognition” he insists. “You’ll be able to touch that board or speak to it and get your message to colleagues around the world. Screens are cheap.”