Bill Gates berates tech evangelists

Microsoft founder Bill Gates told a conference on third-world development that computers and the Internet are not the solution to global poverty, favoring instead the actions of his Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, that puts most of its charitable spending into health care. According to Gates, "Mothers are going to walk right up to that computer and say, 'My children are dying, what can you do?' They're not going to sit there and, like, browse eBay or something."

On the other hand, a recent Associated Press story indicates that efforts to connect India's poorest and least-educated people to the Web may be paying off in dramatic ways. For instance, farmers have increased food production through access to agricultural information while women have found alternatives to local loan-sharking operations. Even access to online horoscopes, necessary for the marriage process, has been a boon to impoverished users.

To read coverage of Bill Gates' comments, click and To read the AP story on Web access for the poor, click