Bill Gates on Apple TV and Zune

The Mercury News’ Dean Takahashi spoke with Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates after his keynote speech at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this month in Las Vegas. Gates talked a bit about Apple:

Takahashi: What do you think of iTV [Apple TV] and what Steve Jobs is saying?

Gates: I think it’s important to recognize that what you used to think of as consumer electronics has changed a lot. A company like Microsoft or a company like Apple may have some of the more interesting skill sets for delivering connected experiences. Jobs — I remember at a conference he was talking about how he didn’t like going into markets where he had to go through somebody else’s orifice. That’s how he described the broadband companies, cable companies and phone companies and things like that. We love those guys.

MacDailyNews Take: Jobs did describe them as orifices, but only because that is an inherent characteristic of such companies. “Broadband companies, cable companies and phone companies and things like that” are tax collectors, constantly overcharging for products and services while stifling innovation. No wonder Microsoft loves them; they’re exactly like them. Microsoft partners so well: just ask their many “PlaysForSure partners” – they’ll tell you all about Microsoft’s “love.”

Takahashi: There wasn’t much mention of Zune (iPod rival media player) today. We keep expecting the next Zune device, like the 60-gigabyte version or something else.

Gates: Zune deserves an event of its own. We clearly don’t have any new model. We just introduced the product three months ago. It’s doing well. We knew what we wanted. Just like the first-generation Xbox, we wanted to get on the learning curve. We wanted to get credibility. We wanted to have a reputation of doing something innovative and something that we could upgrade over time because of the large screen and the WiFi. We feel great about Zune.

MacDailyNews Take: Zune certainly does deserve some kind of an event of its own. Microsoft clearly doesn’t have any new model – device or business – that much is sure. If Microsoft’s goal for Zune was credibility, they failed miserably. And Microsoft definitely has cemented some kind of reputation for Zune that has nothing to do with innovation and everything to do with mediocrity and limitations; par for the Microsoft course. If Gates’ feels great about Zune, he’s woefully and irrecoverably out of touch.

Full interview here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Bizarro Ballmer” for the heads up.]


  1. I read that they were planning on getting a new zune out by the end of the year. Even if it was the best thing since sliced bread (and we all know how unlikely that is), they need it now. They’re playing catch up and need to regularly improve the product and the service. They need to actively outdo apple, not go slower than them with an already lesser product.

  2. And 48 hours later his comment about Zune’s big screen was history…

    Microsoft are shite, in the shite, dealing shite, made of shite, eating shite, selling shite, and generally pretty bloody bad.

    BUT don’t underestimate the stupidity of the masses.

  3. Come on…what do you expect him to say? “My products suck?”

    It makes sense to bust on Gates for everything that’s wrong with him, but kicking him just because he’s trying to give optimistic answers to a bunch of leading questions about his competition is silly.

    Cheerleading his company is the least he can do. But we can’t fault him for it.

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