With Apple and the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC)\u00a0dominating the news today,\u00a0I thought\u00a0I'd\u00a0pay tribute to a great technologist and a great human being. And I don\u2019t mean Steve Jobs.\n\tI\u00a0mean\u00a0(gasp!) Bill Gates.\n\tThat\u2019s right, Bill Gates, the nerdy, cutthroat entrepreneur who invented the operating system we all love to hate. The man who led the most successful, and one of the least loved, companies in all of techdom. In my opinion, Gates, who is dedicating the second half of his life to ending malaria, is the real hero, and to paraphrase\u00a0futurist Malcolm Gladwell, in 50 years Gates will be remembered and people will\u00a0ask \u201cSteve Jobs? Who was he?\u201d\n\tGladwell, the author of many popular and thought-provoking books, including\u00a0\u201cThe Tipping Point,\u201d spoke recently at The Toronto Public Library (check out the video below--and thanks to the folks at Fortune who did the editing), and said:\n\t\n\t\t\u201cGates is the most ruthless capitalist and he wakes up one morning and says \u2018Enough.\u2019 And he steps down, takes his money and takes his money off the table. I firmly believe that 50 years from now he will be remembered for his charitable work and no one will even remember what Microsoft is \u2026 and people will have forgotten Steve Jobs. There will be statues of Gates across the Third World.There\u2019s a reasonable shot that because of his money we will cure malaria.\u201d\n \n\tOf Jobs\u00a0Gladwell said:\n\t\n\t\t\u201cEvery single idea he had came from somebody else and he\u2019d be the first to say this. He was shameless\u00a0 [in taking credit for other people\u2019s ideas]\u00a0 -- he was also a brilliant businessman and entrepreneur\u00a0 [But] he was a self-promoter on a level we have rarely seen.\u201d\n\n\tStrong stuff. Like Gladwell, I believe that ultimately Gates\u2019s contributions as the head of a charitable foundation are much more significant than what Jobs did. But unlike Gladwell, I don\u2019t feel the need to criticize Jobs.\n\tI've often argued that business is not war and it's not a zero-sum game. If a business makes money for its shareholders, it is succeeding. It doesn't need to kill the competition, it merely needs do well enough to thrive. And so it is with remarkable individuals. Somehow it seems that if one man is great, the other has to be lesser. That's not true. I think Jobs will be remembered in much the same\u00a0way Henry Ford is remembered for pioneering mass production of the automobile.\n\tLike Jobs, Ford did not invent the car. I don\u2019t know who did. But Ford took someone else\u2019s idea, developed it, refined it and changed the world. So did Jobs.\n\tThat said, I would add that ultimately, Apple and its products are really just "stuff," or more formally, commodities. Sure,\u00a0Apple products are\u00a0beautiful, fun commodities that enhance our lives in much the same way Walt Disney brought joy to millions. And there's nothing wrong with that, as they used to say on Seinfeld.\n\tBut commodities are, in the end, simply things, and the overwhelming focus in the media on Jobs's death last year, and the\u00a0WWDC event this week,\u00a0are rather stunning examples of what Karl Marx termed the "fetishism of commodities." We all know that Apple and all technology companies exist to sell products or services to make money. The more they convince us that we absolutely must own those products, the more they sell and the richer they get.\n\tI'm not saying that's wrong. It's simply how a market economy works. But what is wrong is the pernicious belief that we are what we own. Apple's products have become must-have fashion accessories, in some ways not so different than the Rolex watches sported by the wealthy. Check out the guy at the next table in the caf\u00e9. He has a MacBook Air and you don't. Bummer. You still have an iPhone 3G S and not the iPhone 4s? What's wrong with you?\n\tAfter\u00a0leaving Microsoft, Gates and his wife Melinda made their foundation into one of the world's premier charities. Since 1994, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation amassed an endowment of more than $31 billion in funds to fight the world's most difficult issues and have, so far, given away more than $25 billion.\n\tNo disrespect to Steve Jobs, but who is the real hero?