Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Bill Gates-Live & Exclusive

“The biggest change for me – and it’s a major change – will be to think about how to improve the lives of the poorest people on the planet, whether they need education, to increase their harvest, or to find better medical treatment...”

On June 27, Bill Gates relinquished his full-time responsibilities at Microsoft, the US software company he co-founded with Paul Allen in 1975, to help guide the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that focuses on global health and education issues. In this most recent interview, Gates, 52, discusses his years at Microsoft, his new part-time role at the company and what he hopes to accomplish in the world of philanthropy.

Q: When you look back on the last 30 or so years, how do you assess your accomplishments?

A: What’s happened seems a little magical to me. We dreamed of an industry for software and tools that would give people more power. The personal computer has become that. Today we have a giant software industry that didn’t exist 30 years ago. We have 1 billion people who use a PC regularly and the variety of uses is phenomenal.

Q: When people talk about PCs, they think especially about productivity.
A: Maybe, but I think about the blind who used to have to wait for texts to be printed in Braille, and who can now surf the Internet for the most recent information. In schools, children are learning more easily, thanks to the computer. At work, designing a document is no longer a chore, but a service for the customer. We’re seeing products produced digitally, and the cost and production time are totally different now. And Microsoft is at the centre of this revolution that’s seen software installed in PCs and now in cell phones, televisions and cars. Microsoft has helped tens of thousands of companies in this industry grow on the platform we created.

Q: And you don’t regret anything?

A: Of course I can look back and think about some people I recruited, about certain times I acted naive, about acquisitions we made, or about things we could have launched sooner. But I wouldn’t change anything, because it’s a dream come true to have been able to play such an important role. We learned as we went along, including from our mistakes, because we were the first company to believe in the personal computer. The entire industry has expanded around our Basic operating system, then MS-DOS and, finally, Windows. ..Continue

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