One-on-One with Bill Gates

JENNINGS: When I said to somebody the other day that you at Microsoft had always said we will continue to be the innovators of technology this person who was young and a techie said "Oh they've never innovators they buy other people's material, they expropriate other people's knowledge and adapt it into their business." I don't understand that completely, but is there some truth in that?

GATES: Well the biggest thing we did was we invented the field. That is there were no other companies doing what we were doing. The idea of the PC, the idea of the software industry -- that was something very, very unique. There are companies like Xerox had a research lab that did a lot of forward looking work. In fact, the whole interface you see with windows and with the Apple McIntosh a lot of the early ideas came from Xerox. A lot of the good people who did the work there are now here at Microsoft taking those ideas a lot further. And so, it is important to acknowledge that we build on the work of others. But if any one company has done a lot of unique work, breakthrough work, risk-taking work, that's gotta be Microsoft.

JENNINGS: I was asking you about whether or not you thought an evil genius might be able to bring the country down? Second point to that, how much do you worry about technology letting us down in general?

GATES: Well technology has provided a lot of increased productivity but we always have to look at where it comes in and causes problems. Spam is a great example of that, making sure parents can control where their kids are going on the internet is a very good example of that, so it's hard to think of a breakthrough that hasn't come with some challenges that we have to mitigate.

JENNINGS: Which movie do you think's gonna win the Academy Awards?

GATES: Perhaps Hotel Rwanda. I think there's a lot of good movies this year so I can't say for sure.

JENNINGS: What's the last book that you read that really made a difference in your life?

GATES: I just finished reading Jared Diamond's book called "Collapse" and I highly recommend it, it's about societies that used up their resources and therefore, went into decline. So he's talking a lot about some of the environmental challenges will face and it's a fantastic read.

JENNINGS: You are a very, very serious man.

GATES: Oh, I'm serious when I do my work. I'm not serious when I'm home with my kids.

JENNINGS: The person you would like to meet that you haven't been able to meet yet?

GATES: I like to meet scientists who are doing breakthrough work. A lot of them toil in obscurity some of them are very well known. I wanted to meet Richard Fineman but I never got a chance to do that.

JENNINGS: The best thing about gaming?

GATES: Gaming draws you in. We're gonna make gaming far more social than it's been to date. Certainly, versus somebody just sitting there on the couch watching passing TV I'll stick up for gaming.

JENNINGS: What's the worst thing about gaming?

GATES: Well, gaming can be so interesting that it draws you away from reading or doing your homework. Certainly in our household there'll be a budget for how much time gets spent in front of the videogame.

JENNINGS: Do you think that the country continuing to have the degree of deficit spending which this administration appears to support is good for the country?

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