Bill Gates: Apple iPod ‘phenomenal, unbelievable, fantastic’

“The rise of China combined with failing US education and tough visa systems means the US must surrender its superpower status and adopt a more multicultural worldview. That’s according to Bill Gates, Microsoft chairman, who said the US is failing to turn out sufficient numbers of computer science graduates or to attract enough talent from abroad to maintain its edge at a time when China is becoming ‘the pace-setter for a lot of things,'” Gavin Clarke reports for The Register.

Clarke reports, “Interviewed by veteran talk show host Charlie Rose, Gates made it clear that China’s rise does not mean the US loses out, but riches and wealth from innovation get spread around more. Grilled by Rose over Microsoft’s own spotty track record on innovation… [and] asked to rate other innovators and their innovations, Gates gave Apple Computer’s iPod two thumbs up. Fresh from launching Microsoft’s iPod rival Zune this week, Gates said the iPod was ‘phenomenal, unbelievable, fantastic’ – something the market had latched on to. Microsoft’s goal with Zune is ‘more modest’ than replacing the iPod, Gates said. ‘It’s a growing market… we can get some of the new users and some of the switchers. We need to excite people about the concept – the idea of sharing’ music and video through Zune’s built-in WiFi, he said.”

Full article here.
“There’s nothing that the iPod does that I say, ‘Oh, wow, I don’t think we can do that.'” – Bill Gates, September 07, 2004.

Related articles:
Bill Gates’ sarcasm regarding Apple iPod: ‘Oh, wow, I don’t think we can do that’ – September 07, 2004


  1. I think he has reasonable expectations. That’s what his comment is telling me. It’s kudos to the iPod from his perspective and a realistic view on how the Zune might fare.

    And you can say what you want about Microsoft, they’re trying – and competition is always good no matter what form it might take. While it may not be very effective competition right now, perhaps later on, it will mature. That will be great for Apple.

    I love my 80 gig iPod. I travel extensively and record tv shows on my eyetv and port them to my iPod. It’s fantastic. I cannot believe I lived without it before.

    But an effective competitor, which the Zune clearly isn’t at this point, will be good for all concerned.

    I just don’t see the need for the constant negativity. Let’s see what happens over the next year or two… If nothing else it will be interesting…

  2. As I said before, don’t be so quick to dismiss the Zune. Ars Technica just gave a GREAT review of the Zune, and it does have a much better & much prettier interface than the iPod. It also has a built-in FM Radio, which is crucial for people who want to listen to the closed-circuit televisions at the gym & tune into their favorite radio shows. The Zune kicks the iPod’s ass on many different levels, except of course for SIZE & COLOR & the fact that it’s made by one of the crappiest companies in the world.

  3. Yea fm radio can be added to the ipod which is better. Not everyone wants an fm radio. Its out of style satellite radio is taking over and is so much better then fm ever thought of being. Its completly digital and mostly commercial free. after having my sirius for about a month i never wanted to go back to FM again.
    The zune is funny yea im going to haul arround a brick like the zune and tune into something at the gym. No thinaks ill take a nano with an fm adapter if i wanted that. Its much smaller.
    Interface the ipod is hands down the winner. Its amazing that most other people think the same thing.

    If the ipod was made by microsoft and worked identical in everyway all you MS fans would kill to get one. But you cant stand that a better company can make a better product. They always have. MS has never EVER made anything. They bought DOS, Copied the MAC, came out with an MP3 player long after the ipod was the #1 ruler and they cant even make it they have to borrow one already made, MS just doesnt know how to do things they have stolen and bought thier way to where they are they just dont know how to really do something for real.

    I hate this whole ms is better because thier are bigger thing and apple sucks becuase people have some stupid idea they are only meant for geeks and video/photo people. They would rather spends thousands of dollars on virus/malware protection and rebooting and tech shooting thier hardware crap and software crap made by MS they are blinded by the easyness and simplicty of apple.

  4. the first ipod was better then the zune is still. the ipod was supperior to everything else out there at the time and stil is. there is no comparison between an ipod and a zune (any generation ipod that is).

    the wifi on the ZUNE will be worthless. Lets say 10,000 zunes are sold over the next few months. ok if all those are divded equally among 50 states thats 200 people per state and even if you figure those people are only in 2 major cities per state thats 100 people per city. average city say 150,000 ok im going to find my other zune buddies who dont know me but are going to let me wifi them in this city of 150,000 people i am going to find even 1 is unlikley and then on top of that find one who wants to wifi with me even though he has never met me and could care less about my music tastes.

    THE FM radio well i can add that to an iPod if i so desired but i dont think i will. I have no use for FM Radio on my MP3 PLayer. Most of those mp3 player with built in fm are not all they are cracked up to be. static and lousy reception are among a few i can think of.

    Zune has a neat interface with the picture background but to me the ipod is simple it just works it does what i want it to and plays my music. i dont have to fiddle with it. the one touch click wheel an simply designed interface may not be the best wow factor interface but it works and it works great. simplicity is what draws people to the ipod/ itunes interface and is why others cant catch a break ever. including zune. plays for sure didnt do much so i cant see how zune is going to do any better. I expect best buys san disk combo to do better then zune but it still will never compete with the ipod.

  5. Compare the Zune to the very first iPod released before you chuck stones.

    Huh? this things been in development for a while, and has a roadmap of exactly what to do… (eg. copy Apple)… it has the advantage of being last to the market.

    Furthermore, the cost of chips has come down incredibly over those 5 years.. the ONLY thing that MS should be getting wrong is.. competing with Apple’s AAC+ format.

    But, it can still copy iTunes if it wants.

    The things that Zune got wrong have nothing to do with ‘Apple’s 5 yrs head start’

  6. > The very first iPod didn’t have anything to copy.

    VERY good point, that one! (One that I’ve been aware of for a l-o-n-g time in relation to music and art.) It’s MUCH easier to copy and adapt something than it is to invent from a blank slate.

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