8 Takeaways From Bill Gates' Clubhouse Interview As He Becomes Latest Billionaire on App

Billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates appeared on the Clubhouse app on Wednesday for a wide-ranging conversation that touched on climate, bitcoin and the U.S. handling of the COVID pandemic.

The interview was conducted by Andrew Ross Sorkin, co-host of CNBC's Squawk Box, and was significantly more streamlined than earlier appearances by Tesla boss Elon Musk and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, with minimal user interruptions.

Pitched as a "casual chat" with the Microsoft co-founder, who is promoting a new book, the conversation took place on February 24 at 6 p.m PST.

Although thousands of people were listening in, the invitation-only and iOS-only nature of Clubhouse meant it was not accessible to everyone. Until the hour-long segment was uploaded to YouTube, that is. Here are eight takeaways you may have missed.

1. Bill Gates said he usually uses an Android phone

"I actually [use] an Android phone. Because I like to keep track of everything I'm often playing around with the iPhones, but the phone I carry around happens to be Android. Some of the Android manufacturers pre-install Microsoft software in a way that makes it easy for me and they're more flexible about how the software connects up with the operating system so that's what I've ended up getting used to. A lot of my friends have iPhones so there's no purity." He did not specify his phone's make or model.

2. Tesla has 'done the most for electric cars'

While Gates owns an electric Porsche Taycan Turbo, he had some kind words for Musk's Tesla: "Tesla is a fantastic car. I've bought Teslas for relatives. My very first car was a Porsche, it makes a certain sound. Tesla is the company that's done the most for electric cars, done a brilliant job."

3. Gates has not invested in bitcoin

Gates pointed to claims that bitcoin production could be damaging for the environment, but said he was not entirely convinced by them. "I don't see the topics as as deeply related even though you might label me a bitcoin skeptic. That is, I haven't chosen to invest money. I buy malaria vaccines. I buy measles vaccines. I invest in companies that make products. It's not a, 'Hey, somebody's going to buy this for more money than I'd pay for it.' If other people find their fortune that way, I applaud them."

4. He has had two COVID shots

"I had my second shot actually a week ago. It's the only time I've ever been thankful to be such an old person—65 years old. I want to set a good example. If you're vaccinated you can still transmit. It's not as likely but—unlike severe disease, that becomes extremely rare—you still have a possibility of transmission. I'm not going to stop wearing masks and [will] be careful particularly around people who haven't been vaccinated. I'm with my family a lot who [are] young enough that they're not yet vaccinated."

5. Global travel may not resume until 2022

"An important issue is getting the vaccine not just to rich countries but to all countries, and that's a huge role that the investments and efforts of the Gates Foundation have been involved with. We've started factories in India that are very high volume.

"Global travel, you'll have to be careful until some time in 2022 because of inequity that the vaccines aren't getting out there. In the U.S. the supply situation is getting good."

6. The U.S. made mistakes in handling the pandemic

"I think the quality of leadership you have during a crisis matters. If a leader is willing to share the bad news, if the leader is really getting the data out, encouraging more testing to be done, not having a testing system where you don't get your results within 24 hours. I mean, the number of mistakes were pretty unbelievable. We were lucky this thing wasn't more fatal than it ended up being. But it's still, you know, half a million Americans. That's an unbelievable toll and, of course, the global toll is much higher."

7. Gates is not much of a gamer

"I play bridge, which by some definitions is a game, but it doesn't require a video game [console]. I've got the latest Xbox. I played around with it some but I'm not a heavy gamer. I sit and watch my nieces and nephews and I learn more from them."

8. But he still loves his search engine Bing

"I use Bing. Of course. I look at Google to compare how we're doing competitively and I'm always happy, but I'm a loyal, loyal loyal Bing user. You just travel with a very snobby crowd. You've got to come down here and get with the masses and use Bing."

Bill Gates speaks during All In WA
Bill Gates speaks at a COVID relief concert on June 24, 2020, in Washington. He has just given an interview on the Clubhouse app. Getty Images for All In WA/Getty

Editor's pick

Newsweek cover
  • Newsweek magazine delivered to your door
  • Unlimited access to Newsweek.com
  • Ad free Newsweek.com experience
  • iOS and Android app access
  • All newsletters + podcasts
Newsweek cover
  • Unlimited access to Newsweek.com
  • Ad free Newsweek.com experience
  • iOS and Android app access
  • All newsletters + podcasts