Facebook Inc.'s (FB) founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mark Zuckerberg would be having a much harder time in this crucial year for his social media empire if it weren't for his mentor Bill Gates, according to recent article in The New Yorker surrounding the 34-year-old tech mogul and entrepreneur.
Earlier this year, Facebook stock plunged on a headline data scandal involving political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica, which reportedly used information on as many as 80 million users without their consent to aid the Trump campaign in the 2016 U.S. Presidential race. In light of the data breach, Zuckerberg was invited to testify before Congress, where his demeanor was viewed as calm and collected to U.S lawmakers. As a result, Facebook investors gained confidence in the Silicon Valley company's ability to work with Washington and were less concerned over fears of heightened regulation.
'He Owes Me,' Says Zuckerberg Mentor Bill Gates
According to the New Yorker, Zuckerberg had been coached by fellow Harvard graduate and legendary tech visionary Bill Gates, who learned from his own mistakes testifying in front of law makers in the 1990s over antitrust concerns.
Decades back, Gates famously told senators that "the computer-software industry is not broken, and there is no need to fix it." His defiant tone cost his IT behemoth Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) three years of lawsuits fighting the Department of Justice. The businessman and philanthropist later said he regretted "taunting" lawmakers and that he would not choose to repeat his actions. The Microsoft co-founder's struggles with D.C. made him an excellent coach for Zuckerberg.
"I said, 'Get an office there — now… And Mark did, and he owes me," said Gates.
Shares of Facebook, up 1.4% on Tuesday morning at $166.52, reflect a 5.6% decline year-to-date (YTD), underperforming the S&P 500's 8% return and the Nasdaq Composite Index's 15.4% gain over the same period.
(For more, see also: Key Levels for Facebook Stock in Second Half of 2018.)