In a recent article in the New York Times, Andrew Ross Sorkin writes about how Steve Jobs, unlike other high profile high tech gazillionaires, never had a reputation for his charitable gifts. Unlike Bill Gates, he has not promised to give away his fortune before he dies, and rumor has it that he declined to sign the Giving Pledge, made famous by Gates and Warren Buffet. Nor did Jobs make any magnanimous donations, like Mark Zuckerberg’s $100 million grant to the Newark School District.
“Of course,” Andrew Ross Sorkin writes, “it is very possible that Mr. Jobs, who has always preferred to remain private, has donated money anonymously or has drafted a plan to give away his wealth upon his death.” He goes on to point out that this “raises some important questions about the way the public views business and business people at a time when some ‘millionaires and billionaires’ are criticized for not giving back enough while others like Mr. Jobs are lionized.”
The article was contentious, with Bono of U2 responding that Apple has been donating proceeds from the sale of its special line of red iPods to the war on AIDS in Africa. On the other hand, that is just a sliver of the profits brought in by the sometimes largest company in the world.