Gates Talks Microsoft Surface Tablet, Apple Rivalry

Dennis Faas's picture

Former Microsoft chief executive officer Bill Gates recently sat down with PBS interviewer Charlie Rose to discuss his opinion of current technology market trends.

Out of that interview emerged one popular topic of discussion for both interviewer and interviewee: Microsoft's upcoming Surface tablet computer.

Gates made no effort to hide his excitement about Surface, the Microsoft tablet scheduled for release later in 2012.

Gates: Surface No "Compromise"

Referring to Surface as an "exciting" opportunity for Microsoft, Gates suggested the new device would blur the line between PC and tablet computer.

"You don't have to make a compromise," Gates said. "You can have everything you like about a tablet and everything you like about a PC all in one device. And so that should change the way people look at things." (Source:

For those who think tablet computers are a new idea, think again. While he was chief executive of Microsoft roughly a decade ago, Bill Gates was one of the first tech leaders to emphasize the enormous market potential of tablet computing devices.

Unfortunately for Gates and Microsoft, the idea failed to catch on at the time. In reference to Microsoft's early experimentation with tablet computers, Gates said: "[We were] way too early."

"A few things could have been done differently...You can have something that was almost good enough that was forgotten for all time, but then the thing that crosses that threshold, even if it comes later, is gigantic." (Source:

Gates Says Steve Jobs "Did Some Things Better Than I Did"

Yet Apple was very successful in pushing the tablet. For this reason, it appears to many consumers that Microsoft is entering that market at a relatively late date.

According to Gates, Apple's success can be attributed to its late chairman, Steve Jobs.

"He did some things better than I did," Gates said, adding that Jobs and Apple were able to produce tablet devices that were more "thin and attractive" than Microsoft's early offerings. (Source:

Still, Gates believes the past is the past. He sees the new Surface as an opportunity for Microsoft to re-gain lost ground, referring to its imminent release as a "seminal event."

Microsoft has not specified a precise release date for the device, though many observers expect Surface will begin to ship by 2012's holiday shopping season.

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