Bill Gates says Steve Jobs 'cast spells' to spur Apple to success

In our latest billionaires roundup, Microsoft founder Bill Gates said his former rival could mesmerise people and Warren Buffett gives away $3.6bn of his fortune

(FILES) In this file photo taken on February 9, 2019 US philanthropist and Microsoft founder Bill gates gestures as he speaks during the "Africa leadership meeting, investing in health", ahead of an African Union summit in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa. Jeff Bezos remains the world's richest person, ahead of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, according to the latest Forbes list of the ultra wealthy. But while things are largely stable up top in that ranking, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg dropped three spots and former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg rose by two. According to the list announced March 4, 2019 by Forbes, the riches of Bezos, 55, have swelled by $19 billion in one year and he is now worth $131 billion. / AFP / SIMON MAINA
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Bill Gates

Apple’s Steve Jobs was singular in his ability to take a company “on a path to die” and turn it into the world’s most valuable - in part by “casting spells", billionaire Bill Gates said.

Mr Gates spoke of Jobs, the Apple co-founder and chief executive who died of pancreatic cancer in 2011, in a segment on leadership to be broadcast on CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS.

“I was like a minor wizard because he would be casting spells, and I would see people mesmerised, but because I’m a minor wizard, the spells don’t work on me,” said Mr Gates, the world’s second-richest person.

“I have yet to meet any person" who could rival Jobs “in terms of picking talent, hyper-motivating that talent, and having a sense of design of, ‘Oh, this is good. This is not good,’” Mr Gates added of his sometime collaborator and competitor.

Even when he failed, he succeeded, Mr Gates said, citing the 1988 introduction of NeXT, the computer that “completely failed, it was such nonsense, and yet he mesmerised those people". NeXT ceased making hardware five years later, and in 1996 it was bought by Apple.

While it’s easy for leaders to “imitate the bad parts of Steve", said Mr Gates, “he brought some incredibly positive things along with that toughness".

Now a philanthropist with a fortune estimated at  $107 billion (Dh392.95bn), according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Mr Gates said he’s “not pushing quite as insanely". Yet he admitted to a tendency to micromanage at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which he established with his wife in 2000.

(FILES) In this file photo taken on May 4, 2019 Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, speaks to the press as he arrives at the 2019 annual shareholders meeting in Omaha, Nebraska. Billionaire Warren Buffett announced on July 1, 2019 that he donated $3.6 billion worth of Berkshire Hathaway stock to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and four other charities.
Buffett, 88, nicknamed the "Oracle of Omaha," will convert 11,250 of class "A" Berkshire shares into 16.9 million class "B" shares, Berkshire Hathaway said in a news release.
 / AFP / Johannes EISELE

Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett said he plans to donate $3.6bn of Berkshire Hathaway stock to five charities - one of his largest gifts ever.

Mr Buffett’s gift brings the total amount of stock he’s donated to foundations to about $34bn since making a pledge in 2006 to give away all his fortune. The recipients include the Gates Foundation, as well as charities named for his late wife and ones run by his children.

Buffett has spent more than five decades crafting Berkshire Hathaway into a company with a market value of more than $500bn, spanning industries from insurance to manufacturing. Its success once made him the world’s richest man, Lthough he has fallen back to fourth place as he steadily gives his fortune away.

The original 2006 plan was later modified, and envisages posthumously donating all of the Berkshire stock within a decade after his estate is settled.

The billionaire investor has long supported the Gates’ charitable endeavours, and said in 2006 that he aimed for the stock donations to ramp up their foundation’s “already impressive effectiveness” addressing societal problems. Mr Buffett is also giving stock to the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, Sherwood Foundation, Howard G Buffett Foundation and NoVo Foundation.

(FILES) In this file photo taken on June 1, 2019 US philanthropist Tom Steyer speaks on stage during the 2019 California Democratic Party State Convention at Moscone Center in San Francisco, California. Billionaire environmental activist Tom Steyer launched an underdog 2020 presidential bid on July 9, 2019, reversing his decision from months ago to  focus instead on pressing the case to impeach incumbent Donald Trump."My name's Tom Steyer and I'm running for president," the Democratic philanthropist and former hedge fund manager said in a video announcing his candidacy.
 / AFP / Josh Edelson

Tom Steyer

Tom Steyer, the billionaire investor and activist, is joining the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, reversing course after deciding earlier this year he would forgo a run.

Mr Steyer, 62, is one of the most visible and deep-pocketed liberals advocating for President Donald Trump's impeachment. Despite becoming a national voice on the impeachment issue, Mr Steyer made no mention of it in his campaign announcement. Instead, he said his campaign will focus on reducing the influence of corporations in politics.

"The other Democratic candidates for President have many great ideas that will absolutely move our country forward, but we won't be able to get any of those done until we end the hostile corporate takeover of our democracy," Mr Steyer said.

The billionaire confirmed he would spend at least $100 million on his campaign, a figure that was first reported by The New York Times.

Senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who are competing for the support of liberal voters in the Democratic presidential primary, decried the influence of billionaires in the 2020 race.

Ms Warren, who didn't mention Mr Steyer by name, tweeted after his announcement: "The Democratic primary should not be decided by billionaires, whether they're funding Super PACs or funding themselves. The strongest Democratic nominee in general will have a coalition that's powered by a grassroots movement."

Mr Sanders said that while he may "like Tom personally" he is "a bit tired of seeing billionaires trying to buy political power."

Asked about their criticism of his plan to invest so heavily in his own campaign, Mr Steyer said the common goal among all candidates is to present a vision that connects with voters.

"That's what Americans are waiting for, that's what's missing, and that's something that every single candidate, including Senator Warren and Senator Sanders, have to address," he said. "And so, if I can't do that, all the money in the world isn't going to help me."

Chairman of Adani Group Gautam Adani poses during Akash Ambani's wedding reception in Mumbai, India, Sunday, March. 10, 2019.(AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade)

Gautam Adani

The Indian billionaire behind the controversial Carmichael coal mine in Australia is hitting back at criticism the endeavour will be both unprofitable and too dirty.

In an interview in New Delhi, Gautam Adani took aim at two major faults opponents have flung at the development: that the mine’s low-quality coal won’t earn enough money to justify his $2bn investment, and that the world must abandon the fuel in favour of renewable energy to avoid catastrophic climate change.

“If the project wasn’t viable, we wouldn’t have pursued it,” said Mr Adani, whose net worth of $9.6bn makes him India’s sixth-richest person, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. “Renewable energy is good for the nation, but it can’t meet our baseload power needs.”

Mr Adani bought the resource in Australia’s Galilee Basin in 2010 as Indian companies rushed for overseas energy supplies amid forecasts of booming demand. But as coal prices fizzled through the first half of the decade, Carmichael’s output - closer to lower-quality Indonesian coal than the high-value varieties Australia is known for - is seen unable to fetch a price strong enough to be profitable.

Carmichael, which cleared final state approvals last month, will open up a new mining basin in the Australian outback amid increasingly dire warnings of the need to cut carbon emissions to avoid the ecological and economic havoc of climate change. Although coal is the most carbon-intensive fossil fuel, Mr Adani has found a relatively friendly host country in Australia, where the economic heft of the resource industry helped re-elect a pro-coal federal government and overcome staunch opposition from environmentalists.

“We entered Australia with two overarching goals; contributing to energy security in India and creating job opportunities for the locals,” said Mr Adani, 57, who started as a diamond trader in Mumbai before setting up Adani Group in 1988. His conglomerate - spanning ports, energy and mining - has become one of India’s key infrastructure service providers, while also venturing overseas.

H. Ross Perot, an honorary member of the Special Forces regiment, stands in front of a statue (not shown) he commissioned and donated to the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, U.S., April 5, 2012. Picture taken on April 5, 2012.    Courtesy Russell Klika/U.S. Army/John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School/Handout via REUTERS   ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.

H Ross Perot

H Ross Perot, the Dallas billionaire who offered his business background and homespun wisdom to US voters as a third-party candidate for president in 1992 and 1996, has died at the age of 89.

He passed away on July 9 at his home in Dallas, according to a statement from the family. The cause was leukaemia, said James Fuller, a spokesman for the family.

Whether on education reform or US foreign policy, a company’s balance sheet or the federal budget, Mr Perot had no shortage of prescriptions over the years, delivered with certainty, simplicity and his Texarkana twang.

“If someone as blessed as I am is not willing to clean out the barn, who will?” he said during his 1992 campaign.

Before taking American politics by storm, Mr Perot did the same to American business. He sold the first firm he founded, Electronic Data Systems, to General Motors for $2.6bn, and the second, Perot Systems, to Dell for $3.9bn. He amassed a net worth of $4.4bn, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.