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Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates are giving themselves a two-year trial period to see if they can co-parent their multibillion-dollar charitable foundation baby.
When the couple announced their divorce two months ago, they said they would both stay on as co-chairs of the Gates Foundation, which they set up together more than 20 years ago. But on Wednesday, the foundation’s CEO announced a contingency plan “to ensure the continuity of the foundation’s work.”
That’s a nice way of saying they realize the capital-T Truth that working with one’s ex is an exceptionally terrible idea.
Here’s the deal: They’ll try running this thing in parallel for a bit, but if they can’t stand it, Bill will essentially buy Melinda out so that she can do her own philanthropic work. She would receive “personal resources” from her ex-husband — resources that would be “completely separate from the foundation’s endowment,” the foundation’s CEO said.
WHY IT MATTERS
The Gates Foundation is one of the world’s largest charities, and it’s given away more than $55 billion — much of it from the Gateses’ personal wealth — to a wide range of initiatives related to global health, poverty alleviation and, more recently, the global rollout of Covid-19 vaccines.
But its reputation has been under scrutiny since the couple announced their divorce in May. Soon after, media reports emerged about Bill Gates’ alleged improper behavior with Microsoft employees decades ago. And in another blow, Bill’s longtime friend Warren Buffett resigned from his role as a trustee last month.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Banning an IPO that just went public in the US — with US investor money — on our Independence Day was basically a big F-U to the United States.”
Kyle Bass, the hedge fund manager and outspoken critic of Beijing, says the timing of China’s crackdown on ride-hailing app Didi is no coincidence. Didi’s shares plunged 20% on Tuesday after Chinese regulators announced on July 4 they were banning the platform from app stores because it poses cybersecurity risks and broke privacy laws. My colleague Matt Egan has more.
WARNING TO PC USERS
PC users: Don’t freak out but, like, stop reading this and update your computer immediately.
Microsoft issued an urgent plea to Windows users to immediately install an update after security researchers found a serious vulnerability in the operating system.
The security flaw is called PrintNightmare (not to put too fine a point on it), and affects the Windows Print Spooler service — basically the thing that manages computers’ access to printers and lets you keep working while the printer does its thing.
Hilariously, the main reason we know about the flaw is because a bunch of researchers at cybersecurity company Sangfor accidentally published a how-to guide for exploiting it. Whoops!
The vulnerability could allow hackers to install programs, view and delete data or even create new user accounts with full user rights. In other words, they could do a bunch of damage.
This is yet another security headache from Microsoft.
- Last year, the NSA alerted Microsoft to a major Windows flaw that could let hackers pose as legitimate software companies.
- Earlier this year, hundreds of thousands of Exchange users were targeted after four vulnerabilities in its software allowed hackers to access servers for the popular email and calendar service.
- Microsoft was also the target of a devastating SolarWinds breach.
Gosh, I wonder why the Pentagon pulled the plug on Microsoft’s $10 billion JEDI contract to build a cloud storage system for sensitive military data and technology…
NUMBER OF THE DAY
Here’s a fun summer indicator: Shares of theme park owners are fired up. Six Flags’ stock is up nearly 25% this year and has more than doubled in the past 12 months. Cedar Fair, which runs parks in Ohio and Pennsylvania and trades under the A-plus ticker symbol FUN, has risen about 15% this year. It’s not hard to see why: Americans are making up for the lost summer of 2020.
TRUMP SUES TECH
Former President Donald Trump is suing Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, because, well, he does this kinda thing. It’s a Hail Mary attempt to get his social media accounts back online after he was de-platformed in the wake of the deadly January 6 insurrection.
In announcing their decisions to remove Trump’s accounts, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube all cited the potential for future incitement of violence or risks to public safety following the Capitol riot.
It’s notable because the whole saga — from Trump’s turbulent presidency to the attack on the Capitol to the social media backlash — is unprecedented in American history. But it doesn’t take a legal scholar to see that this lawsuit is doomed from the get-go. Courts have tossed out similar cases before, not least because being an American corporation means running your business as you see fit.
WHAT ELSE IS GOING ON?
- The Ever Given, a massive shipping container that clogged up the Suez Canal and unleashed hell on the world of global trade earlier this year, is finally leaving.
- WeChat has deleted more than a dozen student-run LGBTQ accounts, sparking fears that safe spaces for China’s sexual and gender minorities are going to shrink even further.
- The Ford Mustang Mach-E has won Car and Driver’s first EV of the Year award.
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