- Related Stories
Vista steals the showJanuary 30, 2007
With Vista, seeing is believing, says GatesJanuary 29, 2007
Marketing campaign for Vista high-steps it in New YorkJanuary 29, 2007
Microsoft 'not happy' with search resultsJanuary 25, 2007
Microsoft sales unharmed by Vista delaysJanuary 25, 2007
The end of the Gates eraJune 16, 2006
In the second half of a two-part interview with CNET News.com, Microsoft's chairman talks about what's on his to-do list, including having a say in the next versions of Office and Windows and helping shape the company's strategy in search and online commerce.
"No shortage of important work," Gates said, speaking in Manhattan, where he took part in Monday's Vista launch festivities before heading back to Europe for more Vista events as well as a Government Leaders Forum in Scotland.
In part one of the interview, Gates gave his pitch for Windows Vista, the latest version of Microsoft's dominant operating system. In part two, Gates addresses some of the areas where Microsoft is trying to come from behind, including Xbox and Windows Live.
Q: One of the things Microsoft is introducing for the first time is if you want, you can go online and download either Office or Vista and buy it directly from Microsoft. Is that the future?
Gates: If you look at the beta period, where we had over 5 million users, those were online downloads, so obviously people are very willing to have that as a way to upgrade. It certainly beats standing in line. I don't know what the mix will look like over these next several years. We're going to give people the choice. Maybe next time it will be the main way they decide to upgrade.
One of things Microsoft said on the earnings call last week is that you are not going to ship quite as many Xboxes, at least in the near term, as you had forecast. What's behind that?
Gates: The Xbox had a great Christmas, but we actually provided enough inventory to go even beyond that. People in the first half will be working off that somewhat. We're always quite conservative in terms of how we do forecasts. We feel our competitive position with Xbox 360 could not be better. We got out a year ahead of our competitor, got the volume up there so that software people see it as the platform they really want to build on. Even with the conservatism, I've never felt better about Xbox 360 and where it is.
I'm sure you guys assumed the Windows Live effort would be a challenge. It seems to have been a bigger challenge than you expected. Is it time to rethink the strategy there? Is it just a matter of time?
Gates: Windows Live is fairly new for us. Ray Ozzie came and took charge of that. With Vista shipping now, we'll get a higher percentage of R&D on that Live-type capability. Over the next year you're going to see some neat things coming out. No one has done the platform on the Internet the way we think it needs to be done. We've got a lot of breakthroughs that we're going to be rolling out.
You just got back from Davos, the big conference of business executives and political types. Were there some things you came away with?
Gates: That's a conference that hits on every topic imaginable, from global health to global warming to various political things. The biggest change agent in the world has been the Internet. Now it's a question of getting that out, not just in the rich countries, but for all of the different countries. How can we make that happen?
68 commentsJoin the conversation! Add your comment