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Gates doesn't want to be world's richest man

Bill Gates, Donny Deutsch
Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates, left, is interviewed by CNBC's Donny Deutsch at the company's headquarters Wednesday in Redmond, Wash. Elaine Thompson / AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

Most people probably dream of being the world's richest person — except, perhaps, the man himself.

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates told an online advertising conference Wednesday that he'd prefer not to be the richest person in the world.

"I wish I wasn't," he said in a session in which he was being interviewed by Donny Deutsch, the host of an interview show on CNBC.

(MSNBC is a Microsoft-NBC joint venture.)

Gates is ranked by Forbes magazine as the world's richest individual, with an estimated wealth of about $50 billion.

"There's nothing good that comes out of that," he said. "You get more visibility as a result of it."

Gates is doing his part to share the wealth. His Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is the world's largest philanthropy, with an endowment of $29.1 billion. He was not asked about giving away more money sooner.

Still, Gates said he can go out and do everyday things like other people, despite his wealth and celebrity.

"I'm not bothered when I'm out in public or anything," he said. "Someone might ask for a signature, rarely, but that's not a difficult thing."

And the Microsoft Corp. chairman expressed a kinship for at least one other person in his exclusive club, saying during the session that investor Warren Buffett — ranked by Forbes as the world's second-wealthiest — is the person he's learned the most from.

Buffett, the chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., has an estimated wealth of $42 billion.

Gates also said he wouldn't follow in the footsteps of other wealthy Americans by entering politics.

"I certainly will never be a politician," he said. Asked why not, he said: "For every reason. I wouldn't like it, I wouldn't be elected. I'm better at what I'm doing."