Bill Gates’ Remarks at D:All Things Digital

31 May

Bill Gates coins a new term for mobile phones and other portable gizmos: He calls them "reality-acquisition" devices. He showed off a new Motorola wireless device to the folks at the D Conference in California and said he thinks users will increasingly use such wireless devices for most of their remote computing needs, including communication, informational gathering and sharing.

The Microsoft founder contrasts the devices with such reality "augmentation" devices as game consoles, which he says also remain a large and growing segment of the Microsoft — and the computing — universe. But such entertainment devices have a very different set of uses than the more essential "reality-acquisition" gadgets.

His comments are definitely food for thought for our product teams as we work to better integrate our value added products. Gates said the PC is coming off a huge year with more than 200 million units sold but he also pointed out that Microsoft increasingly develops its products with multiple platforms in mind including wireless devices and tablet PCs. He and a colleague showed off a new version of Office 2007, which will dispense with such familiar computing techniques as the "file" and "edit" key and replace them with nifty widgets to make changing fonts or creating charts and typesetting them much easier for users.

The Microsoft founder also couldn't resist a pot-shot at his competitors — and EarthLink search partner — Google. "Google has done less in innovation in search in the past year than I would have expected," said Gates. When D Conference founder and Wall Street Journal columnist Walt Mossberg pushed Gates to then explain Google's continuing strong growth in market share (while Microsoft has tread water) Gates said the Google growth was due to "word of mouth" and added — with a smile: "There is more upside the Microsoft (in search) than there is downside."

(also posted at: Earthling)

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