By SALLY HO Associated Press | SEATTLE — Bill and Melinda Gates said Monday that they are divorcing.
The Microsoft co-founder and his wife said they would continue to work together at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the world’s largest private charitable foundation. In identical tweets, they said they had made the decision to end their marriage of 27 years.
“We have raised three incredible children and built a foundation that works all over the world to enable all people to lead healthy, productive lives,” they said in a statement. “We ask for space and privacy for our family as we begin to navigate this new life.”
Bill Gates was formerly the world’s richest person and his fortune is estimated at well over $100 billion. How the couple end up settling their estate and any impact on the foundation will be closely watched, especially after another high-profile Seattle-area billionaire couple recently ended their marriage.
The Gateses were married in 1994 in Hawaii. They met after she began working at Microsoft as a product manager in 1987.
In her 2019 memoir, “The Moment of Lift,” Melinda Gates wrote about her childhood, life and private struggles as the wife of a public icon and stay-at-home mom with three kids.
She won Bill Gates’ heart after meeting at a work dinner, sharing a mutual love of puzzles and beating him at a math game.
The sprawling Seattle-based Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is the most influential private foundation in the world, with an endowment worth nearly $50 billion. It has focused on global health and development and U.S. education issues since incorporating in 2000.
As the public face of the foundation’s COVID-19 grants and advocacy work, Bill Gates has come under fire for being a staunch supporter of intellectual property rights for vaccine makers. While the tech icon says protecting the shots’ recipes will ensure incentives for research and development, critics claim that mentality hampers supply in favor of drug company profits.
Last year, Bill Gates said he was stepping down from Microsoft’s board to focus on philanthropy. He was Microsoft’s CEO until 2000 and since then has gradually scaled back his involvement in the company he started with Paul Allen in 1975. He transitioned out of a day-to-day role in Microsoft in 2008 and served as chairman of the board until 2014.
YAHOO! FINANCE – It’s a terrible time to be a publicist for Bill Gates. The billionaire, who the mainstream media celebrates as a philanthropist, is being criticized for his stance on vaccine patents.
When asked if he would share the COVID-19 vaccine recipes with developing nations, the tech mogul categorically refused, much to the shock of everyone who believed Gates prioritized saving lives over making profits.
Profits over lives: Gates doesn’t believe in transferring vaccine tech to developing countries
The Microsoft co-founder answered with an emphatic “no” when the vaccine patent relaxation question was fielded to him during a Sky News interview.
The logic backing the query being that transferring vaccine recipes to developing countries would not only accelerate localized production but also make it possible for poorer nations to inoculate more people with cheaper vaccines.
“There’s only so many vaccine factories in the world and people are very serious about the safety… Moving a vaccine, say, from a factory into a factory in India, it’s novel, it’s only because of our grants and expertise that can happen at all,” said Gates.
Grants and expertise: Gates believes vaccines tech transfer will be too expensive
Gates, however, provided a couple of reasons for his refusal to share vaccine recipes with poorer countries.
He contends there are limited vaccine factories in the world, and that transferring manufacturing technology can’t be done without American “grants” and “expertise”.
The vaccine czar essentially implies that it is impossible for developing countries to manufacture vaccines without the US spending a fortune transferring technology.
Weak argument: Contrary to Gates’ claims, India is proficient at vaccine manufacturing
Except, Gates’ notion that vaccine production cannot be moved to India is demonstrably false. India has shown remarkable technological proficiency in developing and manufacturing vaccines to become the vaccine hub of the world.
In fact, it had been exporting vaccines globally until US President Joe Biden invoked Defense Production Act, thereby starving India of critical materials required to keep up the manufacturing pace.
Gates’ logic is further undermined by United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres deeming India’s vaccine exports “the best asset that the world has today” against the pandemic … Click here to read more.