The Forbes list of the world’s richest people is practically a rite of spring around here. Are we home to the richest, second richest or, gasp, third richest person in the world? This year, as billionaires around the world saw their fortunes cut by the global economic downturn, Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates lost the least among the top three — $18 billion — and edged back to the top spot on the list with about $40 billion in his money bin. Gates’ friend and partner-in-philanthropy Warren Buffett is No. 2 on the list, with $37 very large. (He had moved to No. 1 in last year’s survey.) Mexican business magnate Carlos Slim Helu, who surpassed Gates as world’s richest in summer 2007 (by a different estimate), is third on the global list with $35 billion. Another software titan, Larry Ellison of Oracle, leaped from 14th in 2008 to 4th, at $22.5 billion.More
Nearly 60 percent of Microsoft’s U.S. employees gave to charity through part of the company’s corporate philanthropy program in 2008, it announced today. Counting matching donations from Microsoft, the company’s employees gave a record $87.7 million to the cause of their choice last year. The company matches employee giving dollar-for-dollar up to $12,000 a year.
On average, U.S. Microsoft employees contributed on average about $1,523 each — counting the company match. That’s based on a U.S. work force of 57,588 as of Dec. 31.More
Steve Jurvetson/flickr An image of Gates at TED, captured by venture capitalist Steve Jurveston with a Blackberry and posted on flickr. I’m trying to verify this with the press office of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, but if the reports streaming in from Twitter are to be believed Bill Gates just released…More
Microsoft plans to continue the same level of community giving despite a severe economic downturn and the first layoffs in its history.More
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Several stories today are tracking the status of Windows 7, the next version of Microsoft’s flagship operating system. Mary Jo Foley, who watches the OS as closely as anyone, states that a test version of 7 “is poised to make its public debut at the Consumer Electronics Show” next week in Las Vegas. She notes that Microsoft has said this test version, Beta 1, will be “feature complete.”More
Microsoft has been recognized by a survey of major corporations as doing the best job of investing in its community. The survey was part of a study published by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University.
The study was presented with a broader report on the relationship between business and their communities. Seattle was one of eight cities where the report held forums with business leaders, providing a not-too-surprising list of threats to innovation: education, “the Seattle process,” and transportation. Read on for more details.More
Microsoft and law firms in nine cities today launched an effort to help illegal immigrant children with legal representation.
My colleague Lornet Turnbull has a story on the effort, Kids in Need of Defense, in today’s paper. An excerpt:
“Last year, about 8,000 illegal-immigrant children with no official adult supervision were processed in immigration court. They came from all over the world — the majority from Central America — some fleeing untold horror and abuse.”More
Jeff Raikes, the longtime Microsoft executive who resigned earlier this year to take the helm of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is boosting the computer science program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Raikes is a proud Nebraska native, whose family still runs a farm there. He’ll talk about it on any occasion, such as over USDA Prime steaks at Daniel’s Broiler.More
Microsoft is finally putting Windows on the One Laptop Per Child low-cost XO machines aimed at children in poor countries. Here’s coverage of the development, which had been anticipated for some time, from The Associated Press.More
DEAN RUTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES
Bill Gates is bringing one of his most trusted Microsoft generals with him to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Jeff Raikes will become CEO of the world’s largest philanthropy beginning Sept. 2, the foundation announced this morning.More