David Pogue, no Microsoft fan, argues that Bill Gates has mellowed:
Despite Microsoft’s history, I find it almost impossible to remain cynical about Bill Gates’s intentions. I think he’s changed. Maybe when you’re in your 50’s, you start to think about how you’ll be remembered.I don't know Bill Gates, obviously. (Does anybody really know Bill Gates?) But the impression I get is not that he wants to be loved. He has, after all, been repeatedly diagnosed by the media with some form of autistic-spectrum disorder. (Wired points to "his single-minded focus on technical minutiae, rocking motions, and flat tone of voice." This is more credible when it comes from Temple Grandin, herself autistic: "It is also likely that Bill Gates has many Asperger's traits. An article in Time Magazine compared me to Mr. Gates. For example, we both rock. I have seen video tapes of Bill Gates rocking on television.")
I think what Bill Gates wants is some interesting problems to solve. For a while, he was focussed on dominating the software marketplace and becoming the richest person in the world. And then that got old, and somebody pointed him at global health, and we should all be very glad she did.
Pogue links to an interview Gates did with Bill Moyers in which Moyers basically keeps trying to get Gates to express a non-autistic response, and Gates gamely tries, but acknowledges that it's not really his thing:
MOYERS: It's one thing to read a book, it's one thing to read the statistic, one thing to read a graph, it's another thing to read a human being's face. Did you go into the field?
GATES: Yes. And it's awkward. I'm not you know particularly good at this. Maybe I'll never be good at it. But to walk around to each patient and ask you know what is your problem? And be respectful of, you know, their desire for privacy.