Bill Gates on Apple Computer, iPod, iTunes Music Store and more

Microsoft’s Chairman Bill Gates spoke with CNET on the eve of his keynote speech at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Gates commented on Apple Computer and Apple’s iTunes, iTunes Music Store, and iPod:

Gates on Apple iPod+iTunes: Apple is doing things the way Apple does–where it’s the Apple hardware and the Apple store, that’s great for them. We’re doing it the Windows way, where you’ve got things like this Creative Zen Micro, which sold out this holiday season. This brings the photo capability in, and it’s a very attractively priced device. So the variety story is an important one for us; it uses our rights management format and supports a subscription approach that we think can be a significant part of online music sales.

CNET Question: What do you think of Apple’s success so far? I mean, they clearly have had a hit with the iPod.

Gates: Absolutely. They had a hit with the Apple II, they had a hit with the Macintosh, and they have a hit with the iPod, so this is a company that’s had three hits, and that’s very impressive. There are a lot of companies that don’t have three hits. And in the same way that Macintosh helped get people exposed to the graphical user interface, the iPod is doing a great job getting people to think about digital music. In the long run, there will be a lot of people making digital music players, and we think that there will be a very different market share with dozens and dozens of companies. And other than Apple, all those player makers are signing up to work inside the Windows PlaysForSure ecosystem.

Full article with much more, er, stuff here.

MacDailyNews Take and BGBS Translation Service: “Apple is doing things the way Apple does…” = “Apple’s iPod+iTunes is all about quality, elegance, ease-of-use, and winning awards.”

“We’re doing it the Windows way…” = “Doing just enough to make it seem good enough as compared to Apple’s products and making up the difference with FUD and big money marketing. Plus we can deliver malware payloads built right into the WMA music files. Apple can’t promise that.”

“[The] Creative Zen Micro… sold out this holiday season…” = “I’m not telling you how many they made, but I think you’re stupid enough to think Creative’s got a huge hit on their hands.”

“The variety story is an important one for us…” = “If everybody keeps buying iPods and buying songs from Apple’s iTunes Music Store, our digital rights management (DRM) format is worthless and we’re screwed out of owning this market”

“[Apple] is a company that’s had three hits, and that’s very impressive…” = “I think Microsoft’s has had more hits than Apple, so Apple’s measly three isn’t impressive to me.”

“Macintosh helped get people exposed to the graphical user interface…” = “Without Apple, there wouldn’t have been a Windows and I wouldn’t be talking to you today.”

“The iPod is doing a great job getting people to think about digital music…” = “The iPod is great for introducing people to digital music, just like the Mac introduced people to an OS with a GUI. I took the OS market by copying Apple’s Mac and making it seem good enough, I’ll do the same with the digital music market sooner or later.”

“Other than Apple, all those player makers are signing up to work inside the Windows PlaysForSure ecosystem…” = “Player makers totaling 10% or so of the current market use our DRM and slap our PlaysForSure* stickers on their iPod knock off players, while the rest of the world uses Apple iPods and iTunes.”

*PlaysForSure is not similar to a protection racket. It is simply designed to demonize any company that won’t knuckle under to us. There are so many stupid people in the world, that enough will believe the PlaysForSure crap actually means something. After we rope enough of them in, I’ll have another “standard” and everyone left will feel they have to buy into WMA, too. Then I’ll own the market, grow bored quickly, and ignore it like I did with Internet Explorer. It’s never about quality, it’s about destroying and amassing more money than God.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Windows Media songs and videos found to carry Windows malware payloads – December 30, 2004


  1. Gates on Apple iPod+iTunes: Apple is doing things the way Apple does–where it’s the Apple hardware and the Apple store, that’s great for them.

    Does he know theres a windows version of itunes?

  2. “When you get to Longhorn, it will even have deeper integration, and we’ll have the same index format. So anybody who wants a smooth transition to Longhorn where you don’t have dual indexers and everything–the commitment we’re making at our desktop search is that same indexing, same format, and we’ll make that very smooth for people.”

    When talking about Google, I found this quote interesting. Seems like Bill and Company will try to utilize the same tactics of “integrating” their search capabilities into the OS (Longhorn), much like they “integrated” IE into their current OS’s. This will effectively push Google out (not only by the tight integration of the MS option, but more than likely by ‘breaking’ the Google implementation as well). Seems like the same ole MS to me….

  3. Zen Micro is a joke. A poor excuse for a Mini. Gee nice UI, did they have an original thought on that one?

    I brings great joy to my heart to see all, not some – but all, of my still chained to M$ firends and colleagues using iTunes. Why? Because it is the best damn digital music player in the world, that is why? And the suckers who buy these fisher price players, I feel for them when they have to set up their music with some third rate app.

    For once, quality is winning!

  4. MS is getting the treatment it deserves in Europe, Gates must be more than a bit peeved with that fact of life. He must be disliking the folks who put out foxfire as well, meanwhile, long-in-the-tooth-horn won’t be out till who-surely not Balmer- knows.

  5. Sam: All he meant there is that Apple is using iTunes with the iPod. He didn’t mention anything about what platform it was running on, because its all the same for iTunes.

    The scary thing about this article is Gates is actually right for a change, Apple has had hits before. In the end they were overtaken by copycats. Will this happen again? I hope not but only time will tell.

  6. Well, I just watched the whole keynote live, the only segment that impressed me was the IPTV thing that SBC is working on with them, and a little with the media center thing. The ammount of screw-ups in the show is pathetic. I guess the demo gods don’t like MS. All in all, I think I just wasted almost 2 hours of my time watching that, I could have been enjoying iTunes and playing Enemy Terriroty.

  7. “And other than Apple, all those player makers are signing up to work inside the Windows PlaysForSure ecosystem.”

    It is more like the Windows PlaysForSure Jungle. There is no guarantee that the music purchased from different online music stores will be compatible with all the different Windows Media Players. iPod users do not have this worry.

    Before Bill starts boasting about variety and customer choice he should note that the iTunes Music Store offers the biggest legitimate music library for downloads.

    The Creative Zen Micro may have sold out because an irrelevant amount of units were made. How did Zen Mocro sales compare to just one month of iPod sales?

    In the long term, Apple’s customers will keep coming back for more of the same; new iPods and more iTunes purchases. Microsoft’s customers will buy from different music stores (if they shop around for the cheapest prices) and purchase different WMA players (because they can). With this model Apple is set to grow its market while the WMA players will be fighting with each other over bread crumbs.

  8. Sol.. it’s really a great thing to watch develop.. how at the MacWorld in about a week, we’ll see some incredible iPod accessories that really just aren’t possible with something like the Zen Micro Pearl or whatever.

    The accessory story is a triumph for Apple–and i haven’t even mentioned the cases, bags, skins, tattoos, etc– and every time I see a new Clarion iPod connector it makes me think, damn, it’s getting harder and harder to be a WMA user. Gates might really be out on his ass on this one.

  9. Doing things the Windows way: “Hey look thats cool and they are making money at it… lets make a half-a$$ed copy of it so we can feed it to our brainwashed customers, they will believe we invented it and worship our innovation.”

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