Bill Gates’s decision to move away from day-to-day running of Microsoft was doubly shrewd. First, because it allowed him to leave when his company was at its apogee, and to avoid association with its current – inevitable – decline (notice how the meme that Microsoft is irrelevant is becoming widespread?) And secondly, it enabled him to help Microsoft extend its reach – especially in developing countries – by other means, while earning plaudits for his charitable work.

Unpicking the complex weft and weave of philanthropy and self-interest at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation would require an entire book (and no, don’t worry, I won’t be writing it). Rather than plunging into that maelstrom, I wanted to pick up an extraordinary aspect of the Foundation’s site, spotted by Thierry Stoehr.

It’s rather telling that the Terms of Use for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation run to no less than *seven* pages when printed out (who knew that using the Web was such a complicated and risky operation?). But even more extraordinary is the following clause:


Our Links to Other Sites: Our Site may contain links to Web sites of third parties. We provide these links as a convenience, but do not endorse the linked site or anything on it. While their information, products, services and information may be helpful to you, they are independent entities and we do not control or endorse them. You agree that any visits to linked sites are at your own risk and governed by their privacy policies (if any).

Your Links to Our Site: You are not permitted to link or shortcut to our Site from your Web site, blog or similar application, without obtaining prior written permission from us.


Which is worse: the hypocrisy or the cluelessness? It’s a tough call….

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