Gates Speaks Out In Farewell Week

Dennis Faas's picture

As Bill Gates officially leaves Microsoft to concentrate on his charity work, he's been giving a host of interviews featuring some intriguing stories from the big boss' perspective.

Speaking to CNET, Gates revealed that Microsoft once had secret talks to discuss a merger with Lotus, a rival in the 1980s which developed both the 1-2-3 spreadsheet (one of the earliest successful PC applications aimed at a mass audience) and Lotus Notes (an email and messaging package designed for use in company networks).

He also recalled that IBM actually withdrew an invitation for Microsoft staff to attend the launch of its first PC -- an amazingly ironic move in hindsight given how closely associated Windows has become with PCs.

While Gates insisted there's a strong future for Microsoft because its software skills are transferable from PCs to other devices such as mobile phones, he admitted "Someday they will write that Microsoft has peaked, and someday they will be right." (Source:

Asked by Forbes to pick Microsoft's biggest achievement, Gates said it was simply building the concept that you could create a software industry based around the personal computer.

He added that search engines were still in their infancy because they can't yet organize results that match what the user is actually trying to do. He pegged the key to future search developments as better understanding the structure of how pieces of information relate to one another.

And he predicted that 10 years from now students will be using an interactive 'tablet' in place of textbooks. (Source:

Speaking to, he elaborated on this idea, insisting that the keyboard and mouse will used far less over the following decade.

Looking back, he explained that most technology developments follow what he terms a 'hockey stick' pattern: a long period of resistance followed by such a rapid acceptance that it almost seems impossible to believe the technology was never used. (Source:

var addthis_pub = 'infopac';

| Tags:
Rate this article: 
No votes yet