is the huge amount of money he (and his wife) give to charities: "The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will win the Nobel Peace Prize within twenty years. The global impact of the Gates Foundation (GF) is not only due to its enormous size ($24 billion), but for its innovation and emphasis on global health.
You might be shocked to learn that prior to the GF, most charities did not measure how effective their programs were in reaching their goals. They rarely monitored expenses nor used sound management practices. Instead, they poured money into programs because they believed the cause was right. Prior to the GF, most donors never really asked the charities how they were doing; instead, a few personal success stories (Julio can smile again!) and lavish parties were enough to generate donations. I can't find a reference right now, but Forbes has a list of charities and how much they waste on overhead expenses. Some of the biggest charities are borderline scams.
The GF has changed the world of non-profit organizations for the better. Not only has the GF done an amazing job of investing money in key initiative and measure their effectiveness, they have inspired (or shamed?) other foundations into doing the same. The impact of the GF will go further as soon as Gates' figures out that bribing governments to take action is more effective than spending one's own money. I've heard they've hired a D.C. lobbyist, so it may soon happen.
Whatever you may think of Gates and Microsoft, you must agree that they are smart and ruthlessly driven to win. If Gates carries that attitude to world issues, and it appears he has, the GF will have a larger impact on the world than even Carnegie & Rockeller did on the US. If you still dislike Gates, remember that these other guys were robber barons, too. At least your Microsoft Tax will be spent wisely."