Today’s Wall Street Journal (3/28/05) carried an interesting article about Bill Gates going on his annual retreat to decide which projects he’d like Microsoft to fund.

The article also pointed out that Billionaire Bill has risen from college dropout to world’s leading philanthropist in a mere 25 years.

The two thoughts crossed my wires and I made this connection:

If Bill Gates wants to do something that will truly help the world, I’d suggest he FIX everything that his company has produced that is now broken.

What do I mean?

How about fixing security holes in Internet Explorer? That would be a good start. Why can virus writers find holes in his systems mere minutes after the supposedly secure service is released to the public?

How about creating a system that defeats spammers at the opeating system level so we don’t have to waste time reading and deleting junk? If we count the number of hours spent dealing with spam and handed the invoice to Bill, I don’t think he’d be rich any longer.

I won’t even mention that the industry he helped to create is the only one on the face of the planet that charges people to get the new, improved versions of products that were bullet-ridden to begin with.

As you look at the great philanthropists of all time — Rockefeller, Carnegie, Vanderbilt, Pulitzer, Nobel and others, you see a few similar patterns emerging: they built their businesses on the suffering of others by creating monopolies, oligopolies and cartels that hoarded millions. Then they thought of their legacies and decided they didn’t want to be remembered as Robber Barons or the publisher of “yellow” journalism newspapers or the like. They sought to remake their image by making the world a better place.

Maybe Bill Gates can leave a lasting legacy by correcting what he unleashed.