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Gates Plans On Spending Last Days Fighting Google

Bill Gates has 15-18 months remaining at Microsoft, and he says he plans to spend the rest of his time focusing on building the company’s search programs. He said this Tuesday at the Strategic Account Summit, and the full text of his speech is here. Some selections:

Now, one of my favorite features is search. How many people have actually tried to do a search on a digital TV service today? How many people think it’s a fulfilling experience? All right. So not only do we have search, and it’s, by the way, easy to use and discoverable, which is one of the problems in a lot of systems today, but one of the really cool capabilities is that it’s integrated search. So you notice I just type in a couple of letters, CA, and it’s pulling up search results for all of the media available to me through this platform.

So you can see where it says cars, and it says rented, that tells me it’s a video-on-demand title that I’ve already rented, and I’m in that 24-hour viewing window, or in the case of from Castro to Fidel, or the Grand Canyon, where it says more, that tells me it’s a live TV show that’s on multiple times during the week and I can drill in and get additional showings, or in the case of like the caller ID application at the bottom, that’s a video on demand asset. So I think this is, frankly, huge. The ability to finally search through the VOD. And if you live in a country like the United States, where you could have 2,000 to 8,000 titles of VOD programming available, imagine trying to navigate that huge library of choice if you’re only navigational metaphor is browsing and not this ability to search.

So broadly thinking, it’s about search, it’s about buyers and sellers, and that will be my biggest thing. There are some things about getting the tablet driven into the mainstream, and about dramatic things in Office. And some of these will actually be the projects Steve is likely to pick for me to put my the part-time work into, even after mid-2008.

Also at that event, the anticipated Terry Semel keynote happened, and naturally there was little of interest. Semel got onstage and said Yahoo and Microsoft are commited to preventing copyright violations on their video sites, not announcing any sort of partnership (and certainly no merger).

At Software 2007, Steve Ballmer practically described Microsoft as a battering ram, saying “We’ll keep coming, and coming, and coming, and coming” in order to be number one in markets they currently trail.

TDavid points out four new predictions Gates has made, and notes Gates’ awful record at predictions of late, including Tablet PCs and email spam, saying Gates “can no more tell the future than your nearest 1-800 psychic”. This time around he predicted the death of books to computers, individually targeted TV ads, the collapse of newspaper and print media, and absolutely zero people using the Yellow Pages in five years. If any of those happen on a major scale by 2013, I’ll eat a baseball cap.

May 10th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Google, Corporate | one comment
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