Why Bill Gates won’t be buying an Apple iPhone

BusinessWeek has published a “Newsmaker Q&A” with Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates. One of the questions touched on Apple’s iPhone:

BusinessWeek: Steve Jobs’s most recent performance was with the iPhone, a big rollout. Would you buy an iPhone at $499 or $599?

Gates: Well, of course, I’m the wrong person to ask. I like to dial numbers with one hand, and maybe I’m the only one.

BusinessWeek: I know you could afford the price, but do you think it’s a little steep?

Gates: Well, the marketplace will do a good job of judging that, and they can always change the price. The phone space is one where we have been focusing. It’s one of those places where we think software will be the critical element. That’s just more and more true… If there’s anything good about the iPhone, it’s software. How many companies in the world can do really great software? We do it with an incredible research group, the willingness to take on the toughest software problems, and just stick at them, and to have a variety of hardware partners, and the biggest application software base.

We’re unique in this world of software. Will Nokia step up to a world where software is super-important? It’s not clear. Will Sony? Well, they’re trying, but so far it’s been tough for them. And if you look at the whole traditional consumer-electronics set of companies, most of those are going to be more supplying components and hardware systems. The software industry, which we’re a major part of, is going to be driving the magic in those things.

So the key trend to look at is the importance of software, and then say who really has shown the ability to do strong software? In some ways, just we have. If you define it more broadly, yes, Apple has done a few things well.

Full Q&A, in which Gate’s also takes pains to highlight Mac market share (he’s scared, and rightfully so),  here.
Bill Gates is delusional if he really believes that only Microsoft has shown the ability to do “strong software,” especially since Microsoft’s actual forte is producing software that’s infamous for weakness, not only in terms of security, but also in the areas of reliability, originality, elegance, and intuitiveness.

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45 Comments

  1. Bill Gates says: How many companies in the world can do really great software? We do it with an incredible research group, the willingness to take on the toughest software problems, and just stick at them…

    I would have sworn what BG said. “We take on the buggiest software problems and stick to them…”

    Maybe I heard him wrong.

  2. How exactly does the iPhone stop you dialling numbers with one hand?
    Sure it doesn’t have any tactile feeback in terms of the buttons and the differentiation between them and that obviously has its advantages and disadvantages but in terms of pure form factor of physically dialling a number, it’s the same as any phone – it’s basically rectangular and has a numeric keypad, you have to support it and press the buttons.

  3. My imagination or what, but he’s making more grownup statements about Apple than the last time.

    Even if the tosh about parental controls being the first on an OS is still complete and utter tosh..

  4. Wow.
    He would look like such a bigger man if he would just say, “Apple has nailed the user experience. We could all learn some things from those boys.” He could still insist that MS is better (which is not true, in my humble opinion.) But wow, wow, wow. These responses of late are just…wow.

  5. Better than the lame interview in Time, which was a complete bore, unlike Newsweek’s.

    But let me “define it more broadly” for you: a whole slew of software innovators have fallen to the Microsoft pitch – …the offer you can’t refuse…. The innovation didn’t stop, it got subsumed into the DOS morass, emerging as mediocreware. “In some ways, just we have” is more of the delusion that characterizes Gate’s interviews. If anything, this has been the company most responsible for the destruction of innovative software.

    How Apple escaped subjugation from this borg-like organization, and prospered by innovation, is the subject of a future bestseller. Full credit goes to Stevie.

  6. Emerging as the principal issue since the Wonder Boy announced the iPhone is it’s stupefying price.

    The cost of the device (cute but not really anything new) and the cost of Cingular average-at-best service make its potential sales very limited.

    Big surge when it ships, then quick drop off until you can get one for say, 99 bucks with any service provider you choose.

  7. “We’re figuring out how the cell phone, which is cheap and pervasive, could light up your TV set. You’d use the processor in the phone and have a cheap keyboard. That’s called Phone Plus. It’s in an incubation stage.”

    WHAT? incubation stage? What the fsck is this FOOL talking about???

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