Rupert Goodwins' Diary

Tuesday 27/1/2004Bill Gates is in town, picking up his knighthood and probably laying down the law over all this open-source silliness. He's even found time to give a quick interview: not to a journalist or other professional cynic but to Julian Hewett, chief analyst at Ovum.

Tuesday 27/1/2004

Bill Gates is in town, picking up his knighthood and probably laying down the law over all this open-source silliness. He's even found time to give a quick interview: not to a journalist or other professional cynic but to Julian Hewett, chief analyst at Ovum. And it's all very pally. I wish there was space to reproduce it all, especially the bits where Jules and Bill compare notes about turning fifty -- I do hope Bill hasn't put all his money into one of those endowment mortgages -- but here are some snippets:

So here's Mr Gates, standing amazed at his own restraint in not putting prices up, although he is a bit fed up with the bum deal Microsoft gets from being such nice chaps and taken advantage of, all the time…
"…we have the magic of software, where a company like Microsoft can spend $6bn [on R&D] and not raise the price of the software. […] And so I think it's a little hard to predict anyone's domination. I'd rather be a customer than a vendor in this business. "

…and who is clearly moved by recent reports of exploitation in Asia by the IT industry, sees how lessons can be learned from this, and has a firm grasp of demographics (although his geographics doesn't encompass minor details such as the Mediterranean)…
"…China in manufacturing today defines what's state of the art. India in terms of IT services defines what's state of the art. Now the number of countries that are coming to also share in that is huge. I talked to the president of Pakistan -- he wants them to be in it. Down in Egypt they're saying, 'come on, we've got these great universities, great people, we're right here next to Europe, we want to help out on this'. And it's not like India is running out of people either… "

…and is suitably modest about the impact Microsoft's approach to, oh, security has had on the industry…
"I think one of the greatest contributions to the industry we've made is getting XML on the agenda, getting Web services on the agenda […] the transactions, the reliability, the rich security protocol, what I sometimes called 'advanced Web services' that are just now getting solidified and they will be part of the Windows run-time."

There's so much more, it's a shame to stop now. But it's good to see that Bill's not running out of steam just because his half-century's coming up. Oh, one last thing: here's what he had to say about the really big issue uppermost in many people's minds at the moment -- open source.

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