One-on-One with Bill Gates

JENNINGS: But, it isn't hard for you is it to stand back and compliment somebody else?

GATES: No, particularly Steve Jobs who's done a lot of amazing things in our business.

JENNINGS: I've heard some people say that if they were graduating from science or technology today, they'd rather work for Jobs than Microsoft. Why do you think that might be true?

GATES: Well it's certainly not the case. You found a very unusual data point there. In terms of software that's going to change lives and the most interesting software work in the world we're able to attract the smartest people and believe me, that's something that we track very, very carefully. When it comes to having the best software people, that's been the key to our success.

JENNINGS: I think it was in Davos you said it was stupid as hell to let Google get ahead of you on the search engine.

GATES: Yea, that's throughout my career, you know, I've gotten to make hundreds and hundreds of mistakes sometimes we get into something too early sometimes we have to match what they do but then come with something better there. I think we're actually one of the few companies that can say with credibility that we'll give Google some competition. And that's great for everyone.

JENNINGS: What is the next big thing?

GATES: Well, we can make computers far simpler than they are today even as we're doing more and more with, you still have to learn to much about the innards. You know, security is a great example of that. Even communications, you have multiple e-mail accounts, and instant messaging and phone numbers, it should just be that you pick the person you want to contact and the right thing happens automatically. If you want to have a meeting, you ought to be able to have somebody at a distance be involved in that in a very simple way. So communication itself is still very, very inefficient. That's one of the areas where we see breakthroughs, even in the next 3 years.

JENNINGS: SPAM?

GATES: Well SPAM is taking e-mail, which is a wonderful tool, and exploiting the idea that it's very inexpensive to send mail. What we're doing is we're filtering out these SPAM e-mails because they have a certain character, certain topics that they cover, that filtering works very well. SPAM is way down from its peak. There's a new technology that is an industry standard we created called Sender ID that will bring it down even more. And so we're well on the track to making this problem and making sure that it doesn't make e-mail waste your time with lots of unimportant messages.

JENNINGS: We are all so dependent on the technology now, is it possible that some evil genius could bring the system down?

GATES: Well, certainly, take the electricity network. We've experienced even in the last two years, that without anyone evil, that there was a big blackout there. Likewise for the internet. We have to worry that it gets administered well and that nothing bad happens to it. More and more safeguards are being put into place but no infrastructure's invulnerable and there's a lot more to be done for the computer infrastructure.

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