Bill Gates on the iPad: Meh

| iPad


Bill Gates may have been impressed by the iPhone, but when he was asked by BNET columnist Brent Schlender for a reaction, he revealed: “It’s not like I sit there and feel the same way I did with iPhone where I say, ‘Oh my God, Microsoft didn’t aim high enough.’  It’s a nice reader, but there’s nothing on the iPad I look at and say, ‘Oh, I wish Microsoft had done it.’”

Mr. Gates has been a proponent of tablet computing ever since Microsoft revealed the Tablet PC in 2001, and he thinks that something similar to that form factor is still the future of portable computing. “You know, I’m a big believer in touch and digital reading, but I still think that some mixture of voice, the pen and a real keyboard - in other words a netbook - will be the mainstream on that,” he said.


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He hasn’t seen one. He hasn’t used one. He doesn’t really appear to be that familiar with one. Yet when someone asks him about the iPad a) he feels the need to spout off as if he knew something about it, and b) all the tech press take the clueless quote and run with it.

Remember this is the same guy that has been wrong in a big way over and over.
“640K ought to be enough for anybody.”
“People everywhere love Windows.”
“But there’s no-one who likes the PC who doesn’t like Microsoft.”
“Microsoft programs are generally bug-free.”
“The Internet? We are not interested in it”

It’s all Sound and Fury Signifying Nothing


I can’t corroborate the quote “The Internet? We are not interested in it.”

They killed Netscape so SOMEONE was interested.

I don’t think Microsoft has had an original idea for consumers ever, but I also don’t think Mr. Gates is out of line here. EVERYONE is spouting off on the iPad because only guys named Steve have had any quality time with one.

Also, nothing he is saying is new. Lots of people are saying netbooks are where its at, not an overgrown iPod Touch.

I don’t think he could just say “no comment”, that would have created an even bigger tech-press episode.


I say let Bill have his netbooks.  The race to the bottom of pricing will crush their profit margins to razor thin, leaving Apple happily churning along making loads of cash.


I can?t corroborate the quote ?The Internet? We are not interested in it.?

I got it from here
but in going back I notice that they don’t have a citation so it is somewhat suspect.
That said I seem to remember one of his books, in the early ‘90s I think, where he talked about how the Internet was just a toy and it would never replace local apps on a local computer.

I don?t think Microsoft has had an original idea for consumers ever,

Very true. Remember Microsoft even bought DOS from someone. They didn’t develop it in house.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Notice that Bill Gates doesn’t go calling out people for being lazy or run any “Redmond, get your photocopiers ready” smack. He acknowledges the iPhone as a product he wish Microsoft had done. He says the iPad isn’t interesting. He’s pretty much right on target. Meanwhile see the above comments circling the Apple wagons with no refutation of what Gates said, just “you haven’t held one so you can’t know how *magical* it is” and recitations of all the old, stale Microsoft myths. Never innovated, huh? Making a technology available inexpensively to the masses actually qualifies as “innovation”. In the scheme of things, it’s the one that matters. Making something palatable is more often than not a hell of a lot more difficult than coming up with the original something in the first place.

I will give this to the iPad… It has brought portable portrait displays into the discussion. Now watch a hundred other companies take that and run with it in a way that incrementally improves things while Apple drones [drone] on and on about how *magical* the iPad is.


Well the iPad may or may not be ‘magical’ or, more importantly, useful and cool. Time will tell. I was more impressed by his comments about the iPhone. Seems to me monkey boy went on and on at the launch of iPhone about how its only a toy for the rich, let’s see how many they can sell at their ridiculously high price, blah blah blah. All sounds too familiar.

Dr. Fyzziks

Bosco: The thing is, hindsight is 20-20. Bill certainly never came out and said “iPhone! What a great idea!” when Apple first released the device. Regardless of what he thought of the phone privately, publicly he and other Microsoft brass dismissed it as nothing special.

Which seems to be what they’re doing with the iPad.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Actually, Bill Gates did not exactly poo-poo or dismiss the iPhone when it came out. Here he notes that people like their iPods and correctly predicts why people will like the iPhone. Read here. If anything, he’s bullish on Microsoft (of course), Apple, and Google in the phone space, bearish on Nokia and Sony. Feb. 2007—seems fairly prescient.


I don’t recall actually hearing what Bill thought in the media; all I could hear was Ballmer…


If we step back and look at what Bill actually said, he does have two good points about tablet style computers. The first is about speech input. If a device could accept speech input rather that using a software touch-screen keyboard, the device could be used for dictating reports, books, long e-mails etc without requiring a proper keyboard.

The second point is about pen input. Whilst the main input should be built on a touch system, the ability to use a pen or stylus to draw illustrations, sketches, etc, would certainly be useful for those of use working in design. A pen or stylus gives finer control than using a finger to draw.

What is clear from Bill’s comments is that he cannot see beyond the netbook - he is no longer a visionary (I am being generous here) in the league of Steve Jobs


If a device could accept speech input rather that using a software touch-screen keyboard, the device could be used for dictating reports, books, long e-mails etc without requiring a proper keyboard.

Apple prefers to leave that to third-party developers. (See the TMO article about MacSpeech’s latest app for the iPhone.) The iPad has a microphone, so it can probably use the same app.


I think Bill Gates is being quite clever here. They have Microsoft Courier a twin screen booklet tablet at prototype stage and if iPAD carries on selling I am sure it will go into production.

For years computers have been trying to make us loose our love affair with paper based publishing. Products such as Amazon Kindle, iPAD and soon Microsoft Courier are starting to succeed in doing this. Bill Gates said ?Some combination between voice pen and a real keyboard? maybe he is describing Microsoft Courier in its latest incarnation

You’re sure? Want to bet, oh, $1,000 on that? Before you answer, check the “gadget” sites and blogs for around April 29, 2010, like Gizmodo and Mashable.  The Courier is dead. Gone. Nowhere. Cancelled. Kaput. Microsoft Courier’s “latest incarnation” is as a corpse.

Next time, do a little research before saying that you’re “sure” of something.

Also, it’s “lose,” not “loose,” and “iPad,” not “IPAD.”

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