Bill Gates on cows, Steve Jobs on Google, Douglas Coupland on the future of humans

Quotes of the year part two: The words that defined the tech world in 2009
Written by Natasha Lomas, Contributor

Quotes of the year part two: The words that defined the tech world in 2009

As the embers of 2009 start to dim, whose words of wisdom are going to be ringing in our ears for years to come, recalled as significant, dastardly or just downright funny? In the second part of quotes of the year, silicon.com's Natasha Lomas looks back over the past six months to pick out the best tech quotes...


"Teenagers do not use Twitter."
-- Matthew Robson, aged 15 years and seven months, writing in a Morgan Stanley research note entitled Media & Internet: How Teenagers Consume Media

"We're going to make the cows that don't fart."
-- Bill Gates, chairman of Microsoft, discussing his involvement with Intellectual Ventures in an interview with silicon.com sister site CNET News.com

"At long last the government is finally recognising the enormous contribution of the WWII codebreakers."
-- Simon Greenish, director of Bletchley Park Trust, welcoming the government's public recognition of Bletchley's war efforts


"We have mutually decided that now is the right time for Eric to resign his position on Apple's board."
-- Apple chief executive Steve Jobs' statement announcing the departure of Google's chief executive Eric Schmidt from the Apple board - and acknowledging how the two tech giants are starting to tread on each other's toes with Android and Chrome OS

dollar bill

Larry Ellison's salary (Photo credit: Sami Keinänen via Flickr.com under the following Creative Commons licence)

"The compensation committee recognises that Mr Ellison has a significant equity interest in Oracle, but believes he should still receive annual compensation because Mr Ellison plays an active and vital role in our operations, strategy and growth. Nevertheless, during fiscal 2010, Mr Ellison agreed to decrease his annual salary to $1."
-- An Oracle filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission detailing CEO Larry Ellison's salary

"Like drinking from a fire hose."
-- VJ Anma, an entrepreneur, describing what it's like to attend the Singularity University

"Normally I'd be willing to suspend belief and drink the Kool Aid in anticipation of the next great thing to roll off the Cupertino conveyor belt but this one requires too much of a leap of faith."
-- silicon.com's resident Apple-watcher, Seb Janacek, giving his verdict on rumours of Apple making a tablet


"Our 'solution' to the problem was stupid, thoughtless."
-- Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos apologising for George Orwell novels being deleted from the Kindle e-book reader

"This is not a risk we would recommend our friends and families take."
-- Microsoft's words of warning regarding Google Chrome Frame, an Internet Explorer plug-in that supplants IE's rendering engine

"To say the machines have won over people is like saying people won over people, because they're one and the same."
-- Author Douglas Coupland speaking in an interview with silicon.com

"We started looking at our products and discovered that while the door to leave wasn't locked, in some cases it was a bit 'stuck' and we thought that we could do better."
-- A Google engineer team known as the Data Liberation Front writing about moving data out of Google products

"Your tweets belong to you, not to Twitter."
-- Microblogging service Twitter clarifying its terms of service

"It's neither. It's inevitable and unstoppable so the better question is how are we going to handle it - hide in a cave and bitch, or go out there and try to use it to make the world a better place? Sitting in a cave and bitching is neither noble nor romantic. It's ignorant and pointless."
-- Author Douglas Coupland responding to a question about whether technology's impact on society and culture has been positive or negative, in an interview with silicon.com


"They've done a very good job of marketing to their 3.5 per cent of the market. I'm glad we're doing a great job with the other 96.5 per cent."
-- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer on Apple's ads, speaking in an interview with silicon.com sister site CNET News.com

"Nothing is copper-proof. Police officers are not delicate flowers."
-- Keith Gough, mobile information manager, for Thames Valley Police discussing the hardiness of police smartphones

"I'm sure we have fine print we don't need - I'm not trying to say we are saints."
-- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer on the company's software licensing T&Cs


"I have this conviction that over time Microsoft will turn around and become one of the biggest friends of open source. I can't really explain why I believe so but I think it somehow is inevitable."
-- Marten Mickos, former MySQL boss, speaking in an interview with silicon.com

"I got married in 1948 but the need to keep it secret was drilled into us so hard that it was 10 years before I told my husband what I did there."
-- Former Royal Navy Wren, Doreen Osborne, on the secrecy that surrounded Bletchley Park's codebreaking effort

"What we see is 20s and 30s computer geeks, mostly male - tragically 85 per cent male."
-- Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia founder, discussing who mostly edits Wikipedia articles, in an interview with silicon.com

"You have got to have your seatbelt on and have the resolve to push it through."
-- Telegraph Media Group CIO, Paul Cheesbrough, on doing a migration from Microsoft Outlook and Exchange to Google apps and email


"The NHS had a quite expensive IT system that, frankly, isn't essential to the front line. It's something I think we don't need to go ahead with just now."
-- Chancellor Alistair Darling threatening to take a scalpel to the NHS National Programme for IT to help reduce government spending and cut the national deficit

Cybernetics professor Kevin Warwick

Kevin Warwick, professor of Cybernetics at the University of Reading (Photo credit: Chris Beaumont/CBS Interactive)

"I feel that by 2050 that we will have gone through the singularity and it will either be intelligent machines actually dominant - The Terminator scenario - or it will be cyborgs - upgraded humans. I really, by 2050, can't see humans still being the dominant species. I just cannot believe that the development of machine intelligence would have been so slow as to not bring that about."
-- Kevin Warwick, professor of cybernetics at the University of Reading, on the future of artificial intelligence

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