Apple might be ahead of Microsoft in the music business, and Google might be ahead of Microsoft when it comes to searching, but there was once a day when has-beens like Lotus, Novel, and WordPerfect were ahead of Big Redmond, too. This, according to Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, who said at Professional Developers Conference Tuesday that his company would once again match its competitors, and better them.
"At any point in our history, weive had competitors who were better at doing something," said Mr. Gates in response to a question about Apple and Google. "Novell was the best at file servers. Lotus was the best at spreadsheets. WordPerfect was the best at word processing."
He continued, "Right now, because of the breadth of what we do, we have that in many areas. Nokia is way ahead of us in phones; weire closing the gap. Sony is ahead of us in video games. Weire just on the verge of something (the Xbox 360) that will help us close the gap there. In Web search, Google is the far-away leader. Big honeymoon for them. Even if they do ime, tooi type stuff, people think, iwowi. And Apple in music has done a fantastic job."
According to Mr. Gates, Microsoft will "match what they do, weill bring new things to it, do it better and integrate it in with other things."
While not surprising from a party line standpoint, Mr. Gates also said that the end result of the competition from companies that were leading Microsoft in some areas is good for consumers.
Mr. Gates answered a variety of other questions, including questions about Windows security. While eschewing responsibility for making Windows secure in the first place, he noted that his company should be held responsible for developing the means of making it secure today.
You can find selected excerpts from the presentation at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. CNet News has also published its own interview with Mr. Gates associated with the same event that covers some of the same topics.