Photo: BBC via WinRumors
Bill Gates took to the BBC last night to talk about his philanthropic efforts, but the conversation naturally turned to Microsoft and Gates was quick to defend the company’s mobile efforts.When the interviewer suggested that we’re in a post-PC era, with most of the innovation happening today on smartphones and tablets, Gates replied:
“The PC is the tablet….You’ll see devices and say ‘is that a PC, is that a phone?’ The words will change because innovation is happening so fast.”
He also noted that Microsoft was one of the first companies to realise that software would power a wide variety of devices — “Look at three or four years ago, Microsoft was saying the phone would become software-centric. Software approaches are succeeding there….Microsoft has to create the best device for those scenarios.” He also noted that the idea of software in a huge range of devices, like wall screens, was something Microsoft was talking about back in the 1970s.
He’s right — Microsoft certainly had the vision for smartphones and tablets a long time ago. But the company failed to execute on those ideas, and let Apple and Google get huge head starts. It’s now coming from far behind.
One might think that Microsoft’s lackluster stock performance over the last decade is a reflection of that inability to execute — its earnings have grown consistently, but investors have lost faith that it will be able to continue that growth.
But Gates also bristled when the interviewer said that Apple’s stock price now “dwarfs” Microsoft’s: “I wouldn’t say ‘dwarf.’ Stock prices probably aren’t the best gauge [of a company’s success].”
WinRumors created an excerpt of the Microsoft-related parts of the video, which is embedded below. If you’re in the U.K. or another approved region — the U.S. is not — you can also watch the entire interview via BBC’s iPlayer.
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