Bill Gates
Bill GatesReuters

Microsoft founder Bill Gates has slammed Google's initiative to provide internet connectivity in developing countries through its Project Loon, saying that it is not for really low income countries.

"When you're dying of malaria, I suppose you'll look up and see that balloon, and I'm not sure how it'll help you," Gates told Business Week in an interview.

But the former Chairman of Microsoft clarified that he believed in digital revolution. "Certainly I'm a huge believer in the digital revolution. And connecting up primary-healthcare centres, connecting up schools, those are good things. But no, those are not, for the really low-income countries, unless you directly say we're going to do something about malaria," Gates said.

Google launched Project Loon in June this year with 30 balloons above New Zealand as a pilot scheme. The balloons were to provide internet access through receivers on the ground.

Project lead Mike Cassidy had announced on the company's official blog, "We hope balloons could become an option for connecting rural, remote, and under-served areas and for helping with communications after natural disasters."

"We believe that it might actually be possible to build a ring of balloons, flying around the globe in the stratospheric winds that provides Internet access to the earth below."

However, Gates questioned Google's commitment during the interview, "Google started out saying they were going to do a broad set of things. They hired Larry Brilliant, and they got fantastic publicity. And then they shut it all down. Now they're just doing their core thing. But the actors who just do their core thing are not going to uplift the poor."

Moreover, he refused to believe that an internet connectivity can solve the real issues gripping the developing countries of the world.

"When a kid gets diarrhea, no, there's no website that relieves that," said Gates, adding that unless some physical effort is being made to tackle healthcare in such countries, such technology projects won't help.