back to article Bill Gates can’t give it away... Still crazy rich after all these years

Tech billionaires dominate the upper reaches of the Forbes Rich list this year, which proves that while he’s good at many things, Bill Gates just ain’t cutting it at throwing away cash. Gates came in top again, with a whopping $75bn fortune. The second spot is taken by Zara boss Amancio Ortega, with $67bn, while Warren Buffett …

  1. Martin

    Bill has better hair and a less annoying voice [than Trump].

    That's hardly setting a high bar, is it.

  2. Dave 126 Silver badge

    >Humanitarian worth 16.6 Donald Drumpfs


    1. Cynical Observer

      >Humanitarian worth 16.6 short fingered Donald Drumpfs

      Even more accurate

      1. Cynical Observer

        Can I just check.....

        Is that a short thumb down on my previous post?

        1. James Hughes 1

          Re: Can I just check.....

          Has DD been on here downvoting posts?

    2. ShadowDragon8685


  3. 2460 Something

    Assuming they vote trump as their next president I do wonder how many seconds it will be before he starts launching nukes at everyone.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I say put an A.I in charge of America.

      After analysing all the data, it will conclude that America is the ultimate evil force in the world, and nuke itself.

      1. hplasm

        "I say put an A.I in charge of America."

        Artificial Intelligence, or American Idiot?

        The second is getting a bit old now...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Assuming they vote trump as their next president I do wonder how many seconds it will be before he starts launching nukes at everyone."

      Here's one take on that. The problem is that it almost sounds possible.

      1. JennyZ

        you people seem to forget that we don't have a KIng on the side of the pond - I think you'll find that Trump is going to not be able to accomplish anything - which actually suits pretty well.

        1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          > you people seem to forget that we don't have a KIng on the side of the pond

          We don't here either. We have a Queen..

          (And she has a lot less power than El Pres. And if she were to use the one significant power she has (refusing to sign a law that Parliament has passed) then there would be YACC [Yet Another Constitutional Crisis]).

    3. Peter Simpson 1
      Thumb Up

      Assuming they vote trump as their next president ...

      Many of us are doing our damndest to prevent that from happening.

      // we're not all barking mad

    4. Lusty

      Obama's last act as president will be to replace all the launch controls with comedy red panic buttons. He has to live there after all!

    5. goldcd

      I'm presuming the establishment

      has already started putting together a set of dummy buttons for him to mash.

      An ICBM sound-board if you will, makes a "whooshy noise", then a "big band noise" and then says "America is great again".

      He'll be fine, if nobody tells.

  4. noboard


    I don't think someone who made their fortune through illegal business practices can really be called a 'Humanitarian'. He's only giving away some money in the hope History remembers him in a positive way, rather than a true representation as someone who ruined lives while amassing a fortune.

    There's not a person on the planet who wouldn't accept ten billion pounds with the understanding they give nine billion away to good causes. Would they be classed as Humanitarian?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Humanitarian!!

      Linux or Mac?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Humanitarian!!

        Thats good, he could give a few billion to support linux delopments and prove he is a good guy

    2. chivo243 Silver badge

      I didn't get rich by writing checks

      Compu-Global-Hyper-Mega-Net is Homer's Internet company from the episode "Das Bus". The company's headquarters is the dining room of 742 Evergreen Terrace. It is never made clear what the company sells or offers; however, Microsoft's Bill Gates still "buys out" the company.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I didn't get rich by writing checks


        1. chivo243 Silver badge

          Re: I didn't get rich by writing checks

          It's an American thing, nothing to see here, crawl back under your rock...

          1. Cynical Observer

            Re: I didn't get rich by writing checks

            Is it?

            Thought checks were things that Americans paid with bills

            Whereas bills are things that Europeans pay with cheques.*

            Mines the one with the empty wallet

            *Increasingly difficult these days as banks are trying to do away with cheques

        2. Lusty

          Re: I didn't get rich by writing checks


          Aww you still think British English is going to be the global standard? It's 2016, wake up and read the Internet!

          1. ShadowDragon8685

            Re: I didn't get rich by writing checks

            Let's make a new standard, then:

            American spelling becomes standardized, HOWEVER:

            The Received Pronunciation which is mandated, EXCEPT;

            In all business of government and all forms of newscast, excluding comedy newscasts, in which case all business must be conducted in the thickest possible yet most jovial Australian Strine, such that all business of government and all newscasters sound like they're doing their best Steve Irwin impression.

    3. adnim

      Re: Humanitarian!!

      10 billion? I would buy an island, a deep bunker, lot's of porn and fine wine. And then nuke the fskin lot of you out of fear of being called selfish.

    4. Nigel 11

      Re: Humanitarian!!

      I'm no great fan of Bill Gates, but I attribute most of the Microsoft Evil to Ballmer, who succeeded Gates as CEO in 2000 and may have been responsible for a lot before then.

      There are lots of "philanthropists" who spend their money on monuments to their own ego stuffed with expensive artworks. Bill is spending his on medical and other research. In such endeavours, throwing more money at the problem today is rarely an improvement over guaranteeing that the supported projects will remain funded until success or failure are properly established. Its also likely that if he arrives at (e.g.) a cure for malaria, the people who most need it are people who could not afford it, unless Bill pays for them to get it for free.

      In short he deserves a lot of praise for what he's been doing outside and after Microsoft.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        "Bill is spending his on medical and other research."

        Basically he spends a lot on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Which in their turn also does plenty but... Has anyone checked the annual reports?

        In a post further down I pointed out how Gates donated 1.5 billion to the foundation in 2014. But the foundation itself spend "only" approx. 4 million in 2014. Don't take my word for it: annual report for 2014. A foundation also run by Gates and his wife I might add.

        It still accounts for something, for sure, but spending billions on a foundation which in itself only spends a fraction of that on charity (which includes research!)... I dunno.

        1. 142

          Re: @Nigel


          That's 4 BILLION spent in 2014.

    5. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: Humanitarian!!

      No different than Andrew Carnegie, Andrew Mellon, or other railroad-era robber barons...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Up

        Re: Humanitarian!!

        Free libaries etc from such as they

    6. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: Humanitarian!!

      well, I wouldn't say Gates earned his money through ILLEGAL means, but doubting the motivation for "humanitarian" give-away of his wealth is another thing entirely.

      It's been my opinion for a while that political lefties and liberals "give away" their money to "charities" which aren't, so they're actually BUYING SOMETHING and getting a tax break for it.

      A good example of this is George Soros, the man who broke the Bank of England [anyone LOSE money because of this?]. He regularly "gives" to organizations like "Media Matters", perhaps not directly, but through shell "charities", which according to U.S. Law are ILLEGAL charities because they engage in POLITICAL activities [those are different kinds of charities].

      (it makes me wonder if there are a sufficient number of politicians on his 'payroll' to keep the justice department from investigating him more thoroughly...)

      So Bill Gates in his "philanthropy" might decide to give money to some leftist cause, which engages in some level of political activism, or "philanthro-capitalism", which helps to shape things in favor of him making more money down the road [example, influencing patent enforcement in 3rd world countries, related to 'world health organization' donations and the influence it has on honoring the alleged influence for patents by 'big pharma' interests].

      None of this, of course, is proved. It's just POSSIBLE. But if _I_ had "that much money" I would certainly NOT spend or give it away without getting SOMETHING I WANT in the process. A truly BLIND approach to charity is actually a BAD idea [it's more like what GUMMINTS would do with "your money", so they can finance scammers and 'the lazy' at public expense and thus buy votes].

      So you can't BLAME him for being 'selective', or even asking for a little "palm-grease" in return. Giving to higher education means [possibly] that they purchase WINDOWS COMPUTERS, and then TRAIN PEOPLE to become future Microsoft employees, competitive in the world, making Bill Gates even richer than before. Can you blame him? I don't. But it's a good example, isn't it?

      If more people were to approach the subject of super-rich people giving their money away with THIS perspective, then maybe there would be a little *LESS* corruption in the world, particularly that which is funded by "charities". After all, a tax break for charitable contributions puts MORE money into the hands of those you give charity to, whether it's REAL CHARITY or "charity".

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Humanitarian!!

        How is this any different than the Koch brothers giving away money to support conservative causes and politicians that help support their businesses and therefore personal wealth by doing things like weakening anti-pollution laws? I agree that political donations should not be considered 'charitable' for tax write off purposes, but so long as politicians are responsible for writing tax laws, good luck changing that!

        If you look at it hard enough, you can find an ulterior motive (real or imagined) for almost any donation. Bill Gates is supporting anti-malarial activities in the third world? Pshaw, he's just doing that because fewer people dying from malaria means more potential Windows customers :)

    7. PhilipN Silver badge

      Re: Humanitarian!!

      I would go further. Most of the children here who live online through their browser would not understand the expression "browser wars". What happened is that progress was put back 10 years globally because MS behaved like the obnoxious kid who did not want anyone else to play on the swings.

    8. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Humanitarian!!

      "I don't think someone who made their fortune through illegal business practices can really be called a 'Humanitarian'. He's only giving away some money in the hope History remembers him in a positive way, rather than a true representation as someone who ruined lives while amassing a fortune."

      Maybe you got the downvotes for mentioning illegal business practices but the overall thrust of your post is absolutely spot on. Just look at all the Carnegie Libraries, Carnegie Halls, and all the other buildings and institutions endowed by the utra rich robber barons suddenly find they had more money than they knew what to do with after trampling everyone else into the ground.

    9. Mark 65

      Re: Humanitarian!!

      And whatever you think of his actions at Microsoft, Gates can be applauded for his humanitarian efforts since giving up the helm of the company.

      I believe that, with $75bn of net worth, the World is going to think you are one hell of an utter c*nt if you didn't start using it for such work. Anyway, Larry Ellison has already taken that title so I guess that's one area old Bill didn't think he could compete with the Oracle.

      Still, I guess at least he should get some kudos for not behaving like we imagine all 1%ers to be.

  5. Andy 73 Silver badge

    You could argue..

    ..that anyone smart and self-possessed enough to accumulate a >$10bn personal cash pile would be smart enough to not want anything to do with the current political system.

    Much more interesting are the opportunities to genuinely alter the future course of mankind - eliminate disease, get us to Mars, better energy sources. It's reassuring that tech wealth seems to bring along a certain amount of visionary spirit.

    1. adnim

      Re: You could argue..

      And you could pay someone to piss into Trumps coffee.

      1. Michael Strorm Silver badge

        Re: You could argue..

        "you could pay someone to piss into Trumps coffee"

        I suspect there are people already providing that service for free.

      2. hplasm

        Re: You could argue..

        And you could pay someone to piss into Trumps coffee.

        Or they could pay to jump the queue.

      3. Tromos

        Re: You could argue..

        You don't have to pay - just lure him into a Starbucks.

  6. Simplet0n

    Trumps value has been more reliably valued at 200ish million.

    1. Andy00ff00

      Er, no.

      Trump's WEALTH may have been valued at $whatever.

      Trump's VALUE is clearly a negative.

  7. Captain Scarlet

    even when he’s doing his best to offload it

    He hasn't asked me if I wanted any money, therefore I think he isn't trying hard enough.

    1. Graham Marsden

      Re: even when he’s doing his best to offload it

      But I dilligently shared that message that said he was giving it all away with all my friends...

      1. Martin Summers

        Re: even when he’s doing his best to offload it

        I got that email too, never heard anything back. Presume the cheque got lost in the post. He did give me a free upgrade to Windows 10 though. Right, back to my Nigerian friend who needs help with some kind of deal, I seem quite blessed with opportunities.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: even when he’s doing his best to offload it

        Yeah, I remember that email. Microsoft were tracking the email were going to pay everyone who sent it on. Seemed like a right pyramid scheme to me ;P

  8. Buzzword

    Tech geeks?

    Carlos Slim Helu is a very rich man, but he's no tech geek. He bribed Mexican politicians to maintain a monopoly on telephone services, then raised calling rates to squeeze every last peso out of his customers (i.e. the entire country). Mexicans should be calling for his head on a plate; but they can't afford the calls.

  9. Roger Kynaston

    If he wants to unload

    $1.6 million (~£1M). I have my eye on a Rival 41 and ideas about going cruising for a few years. Mine's the red one with reflective tape on it.

  10. flearider


    i'm sure those who took his injections in africa and have become sterial really think of him that way ..

    when he talks on population control as if talking about sheep ..

    yeah great guy ..hmmm

    1. d3vy

      Re: Humanitarian!!

      First off I think that you mean sterile.

      Secondly,do you have anything to back this up? do we have results of sperm tests before and after their inoculation that would prove the cause as being the vaccine? If you don't have anything to back this up (and I wont accept a link to "the mind unleashed" or "spirit science") then you're talking out of your arse.

      Edit, just googled it, the top results are from VACTRUTH and similar sites... I'd love to see your credible sources.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Anonymous Coward

        Re: Humanitarian!!

        I think he meant chem-trails or some such rubbish, but considering the guy who invented anti-knock (lead based) additives you never know, do you?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How much actual money has Bill Gates given away vs how much has he just transferred some of his assets into a non-profit foundation that he controls?

    Rather than giving away his wealth I think the system is just designed to give away the profits during his lifetime and then when he's dead it will slowly spend his wealth.

    1. ShadowDragon8685

      $4b in spending on medical research in 2014? That ain't nothin', pardner.

  12. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    If the metric is 'Trumps', Bill Gates is worth a lot more than 16.6 of them, in every possible interpretaion.

    Oh, and BTW, maybe Jeff Bezos can look under his couch and find the money to finally pay his open bills. I'm pretty sure his suppliers don't care whether they get a cheque or a check.

  13. Peter Simpson 1

    Won't someone think of poor Kanye West?

    Who has been forced to start a gofundme campaign to raise $53M to pay his bills.

    // mine's the one with the tiny violin in the pocket

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Won't someone think of poor Kanye West?

      "mine's the one with the tiny violin in the pocket"

      The memory is a funny thing. The phrase "small violin" prompted an image of Tiny Tim...

    2. Banksy

      Re: Won't someone think of poor Kanye West?

      At least Kanye can use the Forbes list as a directory of people to beg from if Zuckerberg doesn't get back to him.

  14. Darryl

    Talk about buying votes... If Bill wanted to be president, he could send every person in America a personal cheque for $200 and still be in the top 100

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      He only needs to pay half of us, and only those of voting age. I'm holding out for $500, then I'll vote for him. He can hardly be worse than Trump or Hillary.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        you really think he can't be worse - say Windows 10 mandated by law etc

    2. ShadowDragon8685

      That would arguably make him one of the biggest philanthropists of all time, as it would mean he'd just given away just under $64.5b in one go.

      Of course, the LOGISTICS of putting $200 into the hands of every man, woman and child in America would, in and of themselves, create a hell of a lot of temporary jobs, causing a spike in USPS activity.

  15. Kimo

    There are a lot of people on the list that, agree with them or not, have spent more time thinking about policy in various forms than Trump. No matter what you think of Gates, he's done a great deal for world health but has been conned by the charter school movement into doing some real harm to education.

  16. Anonymous Coward

    Are they really so charible?

    The main problem when these guys donate to charity is that people only look at the cold numbers while ignoring the relationship with their income. Or put differently: the percentage of their fortune which is been given to charity. And when you look at those numbers then things suddenly look a whole lot different.

    For example: According to CNBCGates has donated 1.5 billion ($1.500.000.000,00) worth of Microsoft stocks to the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation in 2014, making him someone who donated most to charity. But if you look at Gates' income, my source being Paywizard dot org then you see that his annual income is estimated at: $11.500.000.000,00. 11 billion, 500 million dollars per year. So now we can determine that Gates has actually spend approx. 13% of his annual income to charity.

    I know people who make around E2400,- per month. When they spend E200 on charity they spend 8% of their monthly income. And something tells me that it would have much more consequences for them as well. Some people actually cut on their expenses in order to donate to charity, something which I seriously doubt would apply to Mr. Gates.

    Yet the latter are the people which no one takes into account.

    Do note that I'm not claiming that what Gates does isn't impressive at all. But I do think you shouldn't look at the numbers alone, also look at what people actually do (or don't do).

    1. billium

      Re: Are they really so charible?

      Fully agree.

      I wonder what terms conditions under which these donations are made.

      Advertising for the monopolist.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      That site is obviously bogus

      Gates did not make $11.5 billion in a year, unless they count capital gains for his stock. If they do, then many of the others like Warren Buffett have wildly inaccurate numbers as they have had capital gains as well. Not to mention that there are years when Gates has lost many billions when MSFT stock went down.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Are they really so charible?

      Yeah, refer to the WIdows Mite

    4. This post has been deleted by its author

  17. sisk

    I gotta say I'd vote for any of the tech nerds on the list, even those I consider to be evil, soulless abominations of human beings, before I'd vote for Trump. Even Bill, who has admitted in the past that he doesn't think he'd be very good at the job. Then again I'd vote for Bubba J over Trump, so that's really not saying much.

  18. Joe User

    Bill Gates can’t give it away...

    Sure he can! Just give me a call, and I will gladly help him to lighten his wallet.

  19. chivo243 Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    And another!

    One more wonderful El Reg units of measure! The Trump!

  20. Graham Marsden

    " having a big pile of cash of one’s own...

    " one an advantage when running for political office"

    Didn't work very well for Ross Perot

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: " having a big pile of cash of one’s own...

      Perot lost it when he got up in front of an audience comprised of mostly NAACP members and referred to them as 'You People'. ref

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    He's not trying very hard...

    If he refunded $10,000 to every person who bought any version of Windows, that would only partly pay for the damages suffered by Windows users. It however would be a good start. I hope Bill is reading this because the champ change he gives to charities after violating all sorts of laws in numerous countries to reap billions annually in revenue, is unsavory.

  22. nilfs2

    Why on earth do someone needs that much money?

    Nobody lives long enough to spend that obscene amount of money, that people are the worst case of hoarders alive, they need psychiatric help!

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Why on earth do someone needs that much money?

      I'm sure people like Gates have vast sums on hand in cash compared to likes of you and I, but the vast majority of their wealth is in shares in their own companies as well as other investments. In other words, most of it is what is keeping a significant numbers of people in work. I'm not saying that it's a good thing for so much wealth and power to be in the hands of individuals, but it's not cash stuffed in a mattress. Even if Gates cashed in and put the whole lot in a savings or current account, the bank wouldn't just put in a vault. They'd lend it out themselves, again making the money "work".

  23. goldcd

    "Gates for President"

    Is the feeling I walked away from this story with.

    Thinking about it, actually doesn't seem entirely crazy (has Bill ever expressed any party affiliation?)

    He's got the Trump-trump-card of actually having enough cash to run without being beholden to backers - but with the bonus of not coming across as an egotistical-cock and actually having a track record of using his money to do some good.

    Of course "the not being an egotistical-cock" is also his Achilles heel.. Voters are idiots.

    1. sisk

      Re: "Gates for President"

      He was asked about it in an interview leading up to 2000 or 2004. He said he wouldn't run because #1) he wouldn't be very good at running a nation and wouldn't like the job and #2) people wouldn't vote for him. I don't think either of those things has changed since then.

      1. ShadowDragon8685

        Re: "Gates for President"

        2 has probably changed.

        1... Well, let's put it this way: he'd be a hell of a lot better at running a country than Donald Drumpf would. Unlike the Ass Trumpet, his company is actually wildly SUCCESSFUL, and not just a "rich"-sounding brand name that has left shitloads of people out their retirements.

        So, sure. He might not LIKE the job, but to be frank, I don't imagine any presidents like their jobs after February. They do it because it has to be done, not because they want power - at least, I HOPE they do it because they don't want power. Donald Drumpf, on the other hand? Oh, he wants power.

        January 20th, 2017. If Donald Drumpf is elected, we'll find out if Time Travel is possible or not, because that'll be when the disruptor rifles come out and disintegrate him.

  24. Thaumaturge

    Living amidst sagebrush...

    I'm still waiting for the opportunity to prove that money won't corrupt me!

    1. ShadowDragon8685

      Re: Living amidst sagebrush...

      You and me both, mate.

      Even my wildest dreams could be realized on very little money, comparative to the kind of cash even the Drumpf can throw around, let alone the money Bill Gates has. The rest, I'd probably just give away to some charity or another.

  25. Tamroi

    Spread the word

    I'm serious.

    Bill Gates for President.

    All parties.

    Spread the word

    and write him in.

  26. Tamroi

    Really smart and really caring

    In thinking about Bill Gates as an extraordinary techie, entrepreneur, and philanthropist,

    we overlook that he is extraordinarily intellectual and extraordinarily connected with the world.

    As well as extraordinarily nice personally.

    Check out his blog.

    Check out

    I think he would lead political parties out of the morass

    and continue to extraordinarily change the world,

    like no one else is in a position to do.

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