Microsoft co-founder and Chairman Bill Gates has defended the company’s recent failings.
Speaking on the BBC’s Hard Talk program, 55-year old Gates answered questions on Microsoft’s loss of innovation and the potential death of the PC. Stephen Sackur, a veteran BBC journalist, posed the questions to Bill Gates in a 30 minute interview recently.”Is it painful for you to watch Microsoft lose its innovation field leading edge?” asked Sackur. “Well Microsoft is doing a lot of great work, Microsoft always has some things that are going super well, some things that it needs to do even better,” said Gates. The BBC interviewer agreed, noting that there are some areas where Microsoft has done well in recent years with the exception of phones and tablets he argued, “Microsoft has been left behind” in the handheld revolution Sackur asserted. “I wouldn’t say that,” argued Gates. “I’d say there’s companies doing very good work in that area, I think that the phone has become very software centric. It’s software approaches that are succeeding there.” Gates noted that reading and media is moving onto digital devices and that “Microsoft has to create the best device for those scenarios.”
Gates also downplayed Apple’s market valuation. “I think stock prices aren’t really the best gauge, stock prices can go up and down. I would be the first to say there’s several tech companies including Microsoft, including Apple, including Google, who are doing fascinating work. The importance of software is more evident to people today than it’s ever been.” Sackur’s final questioning was around the post PC era and whether the age of the PC is coming to and end. ”The PC is the tablet, all these digital devices are going to work together. You’re going to see PCs where saying “is that a tablet? is that a phone?” the words are going to change because the innovation is so rapid,” said Gates.
Gates also discussed Microsoft’s role in buying Skype. “I was a strong proponent at the board level for the deal being done,” said Gates. ”I think it’s a great, great deal for Skype. I think it’s a great deal for Microsoft,” he added.
You can watch the full 30 minute BBC interview on iPlayer or catch the best bits below.