One-on-One with Bill Gates

JENNINGS: And are you very, very aware that your children are terribly privileged? I shouldn't say terribly privileged, very privileged and that you have to fight that with them for the future?

GATES: I think that's one of the biggest challenges that Melinda and I face is that our kids will grow up in a nice house and we don't want them to take things for granted. We're looking forward to taking them on a lot of these foundation trips so that they will see what life really is like for most people on the planet and they'll have an understanding for why we're giving our wealth to those causes.

JENNINGS: When I talk to people about you, everybody was fascinated that I was coming to see you. I'm sure that's not a surprise to you. They very quickly, often, particularly if they're young, put you over on the side of being a businessman. And they put other people over here as creators. Do you think that your image has suffered because you've been so successful at business?

GATES: Well, my success is creating great software. It's not like if you put me in some other business I'd be an expert and know what to do. And I think my most important work was the early work -- conceiving of the idea of the PC and how important that would be, and the role software would play, having standards there. So, you know, people are welcome to think of me as a businessman, but I think of myself as a software engineer.

JENNINGS: You're original vision was to put a PC in every home.

GATES: That's right. The slogan of Microsoft when we were just a few people was a computer on every desk and in every home.

JENNINGS: And is it realistic today?

GATES: Well, in fact, we're very close to that vision being a reality, at least in the rich countries. PC penetration in the United States is over 60 percent. The prices keep coming down, the power keeps going up. You know, today, people know, if you want to organize your photos or your music or keep a complex family schedule together or just find books -- that PC is the way to do that. So, we really have achieved a lot of that dream.

JENNINGS: On the subject of music, I read somewhere that about 80 percent of Microsoft employees who have a music playing instrument or a music playing device use an iPod.

GATES: Well, I doubt that's the case. Certainly, the iPod's a great success.

JENNINGS: Do you have one?

GATES: No, I'm not an iPod user. I use the Creative Zen which is a fantastic product. That's another space where, even what we have today, whether it's iPod or the other things are only the start of what we're gonna have in a few years. People are gonna want choices. These things are going to be smaller or better, cheaper. So, music has changed. The age of the CD is really coming to an end.

JENNINGS: The public likes this tension between you and the others as I'm sure you know. So people want to know do you have an iPod. You say you don't have. Did iPod beat you in this issue?

GATES: Oh the iPod did a great job, but what Apple's done there is typically what they do. It's their, only their one music store, only their device. What we're doing is providing choices. So it's like the Apple computer versus the PC. With the PC you can buy from many companies so you get cheaper prices, you get more variety and here with music devices we're coming in with the same. But they're a strong leader in the space and I think as we gain share, people will be surprised.

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