Bill Gates: Apple’s Intel switch doesn’t really change anything for Microsoft

Peter Rojas has published an interview with Microsoft’s “Chief Software Architect” Bill Gates for Engadget. Among other topics, Gates doesn’t seem to think that Apple’s switch to Intel chips makes a difference for Microsoft:

Rojas: A few months ago Apple announced that it was switching to Intel for its processors. How does this affect Microsoft?
Gates: It doesn’t really change anything for us. Apple has always leveraged technologies that the PC industry has driven to critical mass, the bus structures, the graphics cards, the peripherals, the connection networks, things like that, so they’re kind of in the PC ecosystem and kind of not. Now they’re taking advantage of the Intel chip. The users don’t really care what’s inside the machine in terms of the processor. There is a certain irony that we’ve got a game box that uses the same processor Apple used to use, and now they don’t use that. We have compilers that can take Intel code and make PowerPC code or take PowerPC code and make Intel code, we’ve got emulators. The flexibilities back and forth between the CPU environments is actually pretty high nowadays.

Rojas: Do you worry that they might decide to make the operating system available to anybody?
Gates: No, that’s fine. In a sense whenever you buy a new machine you’ve always had the choice of buying a Mac OS machine versus a Windows OS machine, so it’s the same flexibility. We even had on the PowerPC this thing called Virtual PC that lets you get Windows capability over on their hardware.

Rojas: So you don’t worry about Apple opening things up so an OEM like Sony could offer OS X?
Gates: Well, the last time Apple went out and licensed their operating system to people they changed their minds and they bankrupted all the people who had been involved in that, and I don’t know if we’ll see another round of Apple tantalizing people with that or not.

Full interview with much more here.

MacDailyNews Take: Either Gates can’t see the possibilities or, much more likely, he can, but won’t dare acknowledge them (although he did miss a little thing called the Internet so badly that Microsoft decided they had to illegally abuse their monopoly in order to correct that minor oversight). Note: Virtual PC for Mac still seems to be available via Microsoft’s “Mactopia” website.

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  1. what’s up with the past tense here:

    “We even HAD on the PowerPC this thing called Virtual PC that lets you get Windows capability over on their hardware”

    mw – hell….hahahahahahahahahahaha

  2. Gate’s VIEW is interesting…first I like his spin on how Microsoft “had” VirtualPC for the PPC – as if they did anything other than buy that software.

    Second, I like his subtle comparison of a Mac to the XBox because they both had PPC chips.

    Realistically, Gates is probably not at all worried about Windows OS licenses because Apple is small potatoes in the business PC market place…what this probably is worrying him about is the DRM war that Microsoft is not winning.

  3. This is great. Either he is wearing a huge poker and face and deep down he’s wetting his pants, OR he really really doesn’t see the true genius of what Apple is doing and they will get caught completely blindsighted.

    Given Gates prior ability to completely miss the boat on technologies until after other people have implemented them, I suggest the latter.

  4. hammer – Gates was an avid poker player so you never know. He might be wetting his pants and be able to keep a straight face.
    As for telling what to come, Gates was actually more interested in his poker nights when Paul Allen formerly pulled him out of it and forced him to see that now was the time to act – that they should get down to making software because the microcomputer was on its way.

    I think innovation at MS disappeared with Allen. Gates might be an intelligent enough person, but intellectually probably more of a lazy slob who just wanted to find a way to get rich fast…

  5. I love the title Chief Software Architect. Like BG has ever written anything on his own before, or like he does now. I believe the article had a misspelling, and it should have actually been Chief Software Arch-Enemy.

  6. Maybe I’m alone here, but I think, if anything, MS is probably happy about Apple switching to Intel. Apple has said they have no plans to let other box makers use OS X, but that Windows will work on the new Macs. If that holds true, this switch only means more sales of Windows to put on Macs. They have nothing to fear with this switch.

    Even if Apple does decide to license OS X to other box makers, they probably don’t have anything to fear because Windows is too deeply ingrained in business and society. Most people are never going just up and switch because most PC users don’t even know they use Windows let alone know that there are other options. Even if they did, they’re scared to try something new.

    The comment about Virtual PC may have been very telling though. Interesting.

  7. Metryq: that is great i love funny takes.

    ndelc wrote:
    “Most people are never going just up and switch because most PC users don’t even know they use Windows let alone know that there are other options.”

    Thats fine becasue guess what, most people really raen’t Mac types anyway. Joe Nascar is not Apple’s market. Apple makes a premium product and people in that demographic don’t get nuance, which is what makes the platform work well. They are just interested in just good enough. There is such a thing as a quality customer and there are plenty out there using PC’s that would be great Mac users. Thats what Apple needs to go for, not the masses. Besides, Apple doesnt have the current capacity in manufacuring or support to see a dramatic shift in market share

    Keep in mind that even a 1/2% increase in market share is worth BILLIONS in revenues to Apple, so it’s not like they have to double overnight to make progress.

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