This morning at the MVP Summit, we were fortunate to have Bill Gates as our keynote speaker. He spoke on many topics ranging from our technological progress to date, and his hopes for software in the future.
This was followed by a Q&A where many questions were asked. There was one particular question about the One Laptop per Child initiative and why Microsoft wasn't particularly taking the lead on a product similar to this. His answer definitely provided me with an insight as to why Microsoft, or his foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, haven't targetted this as something they are focusing on.
In his response, Bill felt that there were more important items to focus on at the moment. Health issues and connectivity were issues that he gave as examples. He had felt that we had not reached a tipping point where health concerns were adequately addressed. In addition, his point about connectivity should have struck a cord with everyone in the audience. He said that at the moment, even us in the Western world pay more for connectivity than we do for computers. Assuming everyone pays roughly $40 a month for their broadband connections, that is about $480 a year. Imagine how much more it would be for people in the Third World to have this kind of connectivity. He wished that it was simply hardware being the restriction point as to getting more computers into the hands of children in the third world, but it really isn't.
I know that this is the last time that us MVPs will have Bill speak to us in his role as the Microsoft chairman as he is transitioning out of that role later on this year. Despite this, I feel that we will hear a lot more from him as he continues to take on new challenges through his foundation, and if he is as successful as he has been at Microsoft, there's no question that he will make a positive mark on society in the years to come.
See here for more details about the keynote that he delivered at the 2007 MVP Summit.
MVP Summit, Bill Gates, One Laptop Per Child, Microsoft