Gates tries buying a better image with $100m donation

Microsoft demagogue Bill Gates hasn't been getting the greatest PR recently as his company battles antitrust charges in federal court.

Microsoft demagogue Bill Gates hasn't been getting the greatest PR recently as his company battles antitrust charges in federal court.

Could the enormous donation he gave last week to a children's vaccination program be the first step toward resuscitating his image?

Gates denied this and accused reporters of being too cynical (that's what we're paid for, Bill). 'If there's any two things that are more unrelated, then this has got to be it,' he said. 'We wanted to get this (program) started as soon as possible, so that's why it is now.'

According to Gates, the $100 million donation is the largest private donation to a healthcare program. The money will be put toward vaccines for underprivileged children in poor countries.

Gates is no stranger to charitable causes. He and his wife Melinda had previously set up two foundations - one health-related and the other dedicated toward supplying libraries with computer technology - with a combined endowment of $2 billion.

Still, the timing of the announcement, which also happened to coincide with Forbes magazine's disclosure that Gates earned $40 million per day last year, raised more than a few eyebrows. 'People can look at this (donation) in any way they choose,' he said.

Asked how he thinks the ongoing antitrust litigation is affecting Microsoft's image, Gates said, 'I don't think it's like sports where they give you scores. I'm focused on the products of the company.'.

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