Seybold: Gates woos publishers

Microsoft chairman Bill Gates tried to convince more publishers to adopt the Microsoft platform Wednesday morning, although he acknowledged his company has been slow to embrace the industry.

"If we had to do it all over again, there are things we would do better," Gates told the audience here at the Seybold San Francisco Publishing `97 Conference today.

Apple Computer Inc.'s Macintosh platform has been more popular than Windows in the publishing industry because it supports software allowing more complex graphics and Web pages.

But Gates said Microsoft's recent $150 million investment in Apple would ensure more Windows products tailored to the industry.

Asked about Microsoft's strategy for developing Internet content that could compete with its partners, Gates said his company would continue to expand into realms that require complex technology.

"I'm sure some of these we won't be successful in, but in an equal number of these we will," Gates said, giving the company's popular Expedia electronic encyclopedia as an example.

But Gates said Microsoft would not develop products aimed at many new areas and would stay away from markets like the Internet backbone or vertical markets.

Gates urged the publishers to adopt Windows NT, the company's operating system designed for multiple users, saying a special version of NT 5.0 for the home and consumer market would be available after the corporate version of NT 5.0 ships next year.

Gates predicted the Web eventually will become the primary marketing vehicle for most companies trying to reach both consumers and partners, saying "companies that move information around electronically will be more successful than those who do not."

But he said investing in the Internet requires patience.

"It's almost hyper-investing because it's assuming a large market that will take years to develop," Gates said.

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