Remarks by Bill Gates, Chairman and Chief Software Architect, Microsoft Corporation
Blacks at Microsoft Minority Student Day
February 10, 2006
BILL GATES: Hi. Well, thanks for coming to Microsoft, and I hope you have a fun day today.
I thought I’d explain a little bit about why Microsoft is here, a little bit of the history and some of the amazing things that will be happening in the years ahead.
Microsoft celebrated its 30th anniversary this last year, and that’s a long time. Of course, none of you are even close to 30. And so back then, the whole idea of the computer was very, very different. Computers were extremely expensive, in the whole world there were just hundreds of them, and they were used by governments and big corporations.
And so I was very lucky when I was young in that my high school got a phone connection to one of these big computers, and a little bit of money, but whenever you would use the computer it was very, very expensive. In fact, one of the teachers went in and made a mistake, and used up about $300 in a few seconds, and decided he’d never go in and use that computer again. And so eventually I emerged as the person who was confident enough to play with it, and I ended up getting picked to actually teach the computer classes at my high school.
And so my friends and I started dreaming about what computers would be like in the future. There was this miracle technology of putting onto a little chip made out of silicon, transistors, and the people who do that, the chip industry, companies like Intel and AMD, have the ability to make those transistors smaller and smaller, and every two years they double the number of those transistors, giving us really amazing computing power. And so today a typical chip will have hundreds of millions of transistors on it, so it’s a very powerful computer on a chip, which we call a microprocessor. Intel, of course, is the leader in that but there are many companies that make that using expensive fabs. So that’s what we have to use as a tool to build software.
The early personal computers weren’t very powerful. Today’s machines are literally a million times more powerful than those early machines, but even then we could see that the idea that an individual would sit down, organize their information, organize documents, look at how their business was running, communicate with other people, we saw that this could be an incredible tool. And, of course, today this is moving ahead at full speed.
Today, when we think of the computer, we think about our music collection, how to organize it there and set up playlists, share that with our friends, we think about not just talking on the phone with our friends but instant messaging. How many of you have ever used instant messaging? OK, a lot of you. You know, that actually is something that younger people use a lot more than older people. I don’t know why, but somehow the idea of doing many things at once, or just new ways of communicating; young people latch onto that and figure out how to take advantage of it far more than anyone else.
That instant messaging is going to get better and better. It’s going to have the ability to have video connections, the ability to send files back and forth, listen to music your friend is listening to. Even this year we’ve got two big releases that will take that to the next step.
And so the personal computer is not standing still. Even things like TV, which you think, hey, that’s separate from the PC, we’re going to use the Internet to deliver your TV shows. And so instead of everyone having to watch at the same time or record in advance, you just watch whenever you want. But even more important, the show is personalized to what’s interesting to you. So if you’re watching the news, it will pick the sports you like, tell you a lot about those, skip the ones you don’t care about, give you the weather that you care about, really just see the thing that you want to see. And so it’s really affecting all the different activities.
The PC is a fast moving, fast changing device, the Internet is getting more pervasive, the Internet is even connecting the world in a new way. For example, in Asia, particularly in India and China, there are a lot of people who do work for companies here in the United States, and the reason that can work is that they’re connected up to the Internet, and so they’re sending their work here and it’s going back and forth, and so the cost of communications being super, super low has made the world a smaller place.
In fact, I’m very envious of all of you because today if you’re curious about something, you can get online, do a search, look up in Encarta or Wikipedia, find the information you want, find people interested in that, and just pursue your curiosity. I didn’t have that when I was growing up, so sometimes I’d ask my parents, they wouldn’t know. The nearby library didn’t have that many books, and I thought, geez, maybe I’d just give up trying to figure something out; today, there’s no reason that that has to happen, it’s all there at your fingertips, navigate the information, even contribute now with things like blogs, it’s not just people who own newspapers or magazines that get to put out interesting information, but it’s anyone. And it’s not just text, we have a little thing on the Internet we call Channel 9 where one of our people decided to just grab a cheap camera and go interview the people who work on the software, and that became this super popular thing, you know, completely informal, the people doing the real work saying what they’re thinking about, what they’re worried about, and now we have in a month over 3 million people connect up and watch these little informal videos, get a sense of what’s going on and they can give us feedback. And so it really is wonderful that we’re closer to our users using this new technology.
Now, it’s all of you who are going to shape this in new ways, because it’s getting more powerful, there’s no limit to the kind of improvements we’re talking about here. The personal computer is today in a lot of homes, we’re getting up pretty close to a billion over the next several years. And as we get the cost down, as we make it more relevant, home and work, it’s really going to be everywhere. In fact, it’s going to be smaller. We often talk about a tablet type device that will be light enough that instead of lugging your textbooks around or having to buy those, you’ll simply have your tablet device and you’ll download it through the wireless Internet onto there, take your notes, communicate with other people. And if we get that to be cheap enough and simple enough, it could actually cost less than just the textbooks, but obviously be a thousand times more flexible in terms of any information you want to see there and working together, recording what people say, really kind of an amazing device.
The phone, of course, is getting better, too. All these devices connect to the Internet, and so the idea of getting maps, finding out things that are nearby, even things like being able to have the computer, when you’re buying a product you take a picture with your phone, it recognizes what product you’re looking at, and tells you if you can get it somewhere else for a better price, maybe if you should consider some other product or what might go with it, and so it’s a much bigger help than ever before.
Phenomena like eBay or Amazon really were only dreamed up in the last 10 years, and I’d say the next ten years a lot more and different things are going to happen.
I’m going to show you real quickly something maybe a few of you have already had a chance to play around with, and that’s the latest in graphics technology. We came out this Christmas with a new product we call Xbox 360. For those of you who were here last year, Steve Ballmer got a chance to speak, and he showed a racing game running on the previous generation Xbox, we call that Xbox 1, and so here you’ll be able to compare just in the course of the year how much better this is. We call this high-definition gaming. And it’s not just high definition, your friends can play with you, you can have contests. I’m not perfect at this, because obviously I don’t spend my days getting to race or anything, but let’s see what we can do here.
Go in and, okay, we’ll do a little street race. Of course, you can pick the cars, customize them, pick the track, pick the difficulty, so anything you want to do it’s there.
This online activity of socializing, trying things out together, really that’s a very important concept, because it makes it not just an isolated thing.
(Xbox 360 demonstration.) Anybody here want to give it a try? All right. Are you good at this? (Continued demonstration.) Uh-oh, uh-oh, he’s better than me. (Continued demonstration.) Not bad, not bad. All right, good job. (Applause.)
So, of course, there’s all sorts of different game type things. Also because it’s connected up to the TV set, we’ve made this something that you can go and do more than just games, you can actually go and connect up things that you’re interested in, in terms of music and pictures.
So what I’m going to do is, let’s see, I think I’ve got a camera here, and I’ve got some photos on this camera that I’ve taken, it’s a nice little digital camera, and this Xbox has some USB ports on it somewhere here. There it is. And so when I plug that in, I can just go over to this thing, which has my digital media, and say I want to look at these pictures, and see it’s recognized that there’s this Canon camera out there. So when I click that, it just has those photos and I can say, hey, let’s have a slideshow. And so now it’s not too complicated, it’s just fetching the slides off of there. I can sit here and step through these things. Obviously I could pick some music to listen to while I’m doing this. So it’s just automatically getting your photos exactly where you want them and however you want them.
Let’s go back out there, and let me also plug in this music player. There’s a lot of music players out there, some from people we work with, some from people we compete with. There we go. So I’m connecting this one up, and then if I go back and look at the part that talks about music here, then we can see that it’s recognized that device, it’s an iRiver device out there. So as soon as I select that, it’s going out to that, I can look at the music or just say I want to play the tunes there, and so it goes in and selects the song. (Music plays.) All right. I don’t know if that’s a cool song or not. (Laughter.)
So that’s what we’ve got today: high definition, connecting up together, software that creates almost virtual reality, and lets you participate in that.
I also wanted to give you a little bit of a glimpse of what you’re going to see that’s even better in the years ahead. And this is a product from our research group, or a project from our research group. This actually looks kind of ugly here, but what it is, it’s a digital camera and a little infrared light that could be packed up in a way so you wouldn’t even notice this. And it’s sitting on top of a table, and the table, say in this case I’m traveling, I’m going to an airport lounge, and I don’t have my computer with me but I want to communicate with some people. So I take my phone and I just put it down on this table. Now, what’s going to happen here is that it’s going to notice, the camera has scanned and noticed that there’s a camera there, send a little message to it, it sees who it is, and it says, “Well, is this really you.” If so, I put my fingerprint down here and then it verifies I haven’t stolen the phone or I’m not borrowing it, so it actually gives me a full size display to look at my messages here, so I’m not just restricted to the little screen that I’ve got on my phone, I’ve got a full sized display.
In fact, while I was on the plane, somebody gave me their business card, and let me just put that down here, and as the camera will recognize that, then I have some notes on the back so I’ll put that in front of the camera and it sees that. And then I’ll say, well, why don’t we take this and put it into the phone here, carry it and actually ask it to drop it onto the phone there. Let’s see, how do I do that? Well, the camera’s not recognizing that either. Oh, there we go. OK, so now it’s recognized it and you can see those little blue lights say that it’s actually adding that now to my contacts folder, so I’ll have that there if I want to send that guy e-mail or do anything in the future.
Then when I take that off, it will notice that, that will go away at some point, and then I can just bring up my e-mail, interact with e-mail, try that out. And then whenever I’m done, it’s easy, I can – okay, I see it’s now decided that some mail is coming in, and it’s proposing that my colleague wants me to approve a press release, and they want me to verify that I agree with that, because it’s very important. And so I can just simply do my signature and that e-mail gets sent in a way that it’s clear it came from me.
So I’m really getting almost a PC-like experience just on this table, even though it’s just this phone. When I’m done, I pick that up, the camera will notice that I’m not there anymore, it logs off, and then somebody else can come along and just use this table.
The actual technology here is a little infrared light that’s here and actually two little cameras are going to be very inexpensive, and so just for literally hundreds of dollars you can equip a table to work like this, and a little bit of magic software.
And so computing is going to be far more pervasive than it is right now. The idea of projecting it onto a wall, being able to talk to the computer where we recognize speech, I mentioned the tablet computer where we have ink that you can interact with it and either save it as ink or have that ink be recognized; that will just be commonsense.
And so it won’t just be your PC, it won’t even just be your phone; when you’re in your car, you’ll be able to see traffic conditions, you’ll be able to say what song you want to hear, you’ll be able to see the route that you need to take. Passengers in the car will be able to interact and even do games and things. And so the car will be digitally connected. If you drive into your garage, your wireless network will send down any new songs you bought so they’re just there in your car, you won’t have to do any work for that to happen.
We’re even working on some other devices, we’re working on a little wristwatch that actually can receive the news and messages so you just glance at your wrist. We’re seeing if we can make that cheap enough and easy enough.
And behind all of these things is the magic of software. The magic of software can do a lot of amazing things. It’s great for learning, it’s great even for people who have got disabilities. One of the amazing things I saw recently was some blind people who are now using a Windows personal computer to be able to browse the Internet. And in the past they would have had to wait for things to be printed in Braille, very expensive, very hard to get, very few things, and now with the ability of the computer to take Internet text and generate speech so they can just hear it, they can navigate, get all the latest information that anyone sees out there in the Internet, and so they’re very, very empowered by that.
The breadth of people that this technology touches, the way it’s going to change jobs and make them more interesting, make collaboration different, change your activities at home, the way you organize your memories, the way you organize things with your friends, pick things you want to do. All of these things will be very dramatically different.
Now, here at Microsoft we’re very lucky, we get to actually work on building these products. And I’d say that whether it’s Microsoft or anywhere, working in software I think is one of the most fun things you can do, because there’s always new things. There’s great competitors that are out there, we’ve got some companies that also do good work, and we spur them on. Apple does good work, Google does good work; we’ve got all the new things we’re doing, Sony, Nokia, many companies. And so when you work at a company like Microsoft, you’re always learning what your customers, want, you’re learning about the technology, talking to the engineers, you’re learning what the competitors are doing, and you’re making choices: how do you make these things easy to use, how do you make them fun, what’s a new creative approach to how these products can work. And when you do a product that gets out there and you can see whether your idea was popular, you can see whether they’re criticizing it and you need to actually make it even better, and so you can work on that next version and come up with something that’s pretty fantastic. And so I think this is fun, fun stuff.
If we look at how the world is changing, it’s really technology, technology and software I’d put at the top of the list. I’m a little biased but most people would agree with that. Second I would put the technology of medicine, biology. That’s really changing. We’re coming up with a cure for a lot of the diseases that exist here in the United States and around the world by applying the latest science. And that, too, is a wonderful area to work because you’re making these advances, and yet it’s very challenging, very complex working with very interesting people to do that work.
Now, one thing about all these jobs I’ve talked about, there’s a lot of variety of them. You can work in marketing, you can work in testing, development, you can work in sales, finance, even here at Microsoft we probably have a dozen big categories of types of jobs where you can help make the company make the right decisions and do great things.
But basically all of those jobs require some understanding, pretty high level actually of math and science. Taking a number of courses in high school, being fairly adept and comfortable with those things, it turns out that there’s a wide range of things that that’s very important for.
And so one thing that we want to do is really talk about that as an enabling component, that not just studies in general but particularly the math and science elements, those are important.
It’s a little bit of a concern as we look at the trends in the United States in terms of how many people are focusing on math and science, that’s actually going down a little bit, and so we need to think about why that is where this is where the really great jobs are going to be created.
There are countries like those in Asia where we don’t see the same thing; that is, their interest in math and science is going up, and so a lot of people think, wow, how can we maintain our leadership if we don’t really renew our commitments to that.
And so part of the thing about today, you know, we hope it’s fun, you learn a lot of stuff; we’d also kind of encourage you to think about the kind of jobs and then even step back to where you are today and say the choices you make today about subjects you take, subjects you’re serious about will really affect and perhaps open up a lot more of these possibilities to you than if you don’t take those steps today and think about those things.
I was personally very lucky to be exposed to the computer when I was young, to have some teachers who encouraged me when I was discouraged, kind of challenge me, make sure that if I thought it was too easy they’d always make it hard enough that I could never say I was totally bored and go off and just work on something else.
So a lot of opportunity here, a lot of change that this will bring, and all of us can look forward to using these products but perhaps more interestingly is the idea of having you get involved and define a generation that makes what I’ve just shown you here something that when people look back on and say, “Oh, that looks so crummy compared to the products that you worked on.”
So it’s great to have you here, and I hope we get you excited about some of the things going on in this business.
With that, let’s go ahead and open it up for whatever questions people have.
QUESTION: When you were in school growing up, did you dream that Microsoft, that you were going to found something like Microsoft, and it was going to become this big, or were you just kind of confused?
BILL GATES: Well, certainly sometimes I was confused, and I never thought that Microsoft would be the size that it is today. In fact, when I was in high school, sometimes I thought the courses weren’t that interesting, and I wondered did I want to go into mathematics or be a lawyer or economist, things like that, but then this hobby of mine, playing with the computer that I just loved, I saw that I could actually spend my life working on that and even hire my friends.
But even after we started Microsoft, which I was about 19 when we first got going, even then I thought, well, it won’t be a huge company, it will be a good company, and I loved the fact that I could hire more people every time we were successful.
And so step by step the fact that we’ve become the most valuable, the most impactful company in this business, and created a lot of wealth, you know, I’d say that’s definitely taken us by surprise.
The one thing I did know is that I saw the computer could be important, and I loved to read a lot, I was very curious, and so I just kept pursuing that curiosity with a lot of energy and a lot of optimism that neat things might happen, and then as if I look at this, I still kind of go, wow, I wouldn’t have expected it.
MODERATOR: Bill, I have a question from Silicon Valley. His question is, I have read that India and China are producing 80 percent of engineers. What do you think the American education system needs to do to improve and compete in the U.S. economy?
BILL GATES: Well, if we look at the talent pool around the world, it’s actually great that these countries are starting to educate their people more, and that they’re going to go from being extremely poor, which is not a good situation, to being countries that, like the United States, can create great products and buy great products.
But in some ways it’s a challenge to us. If you just look at that raw number of 80 percent or something like that, that probably overstates the situation. The best universities in the world by far today are in the United States. The best science and engineering skills by a long shot are in the United States. But the size of that lead definitely will be going down somewhat, and to maintain it over a long period, the next 20 years, we do need to revitalize what we do in math and science. We need to get the teachers the incentives to really teach those courses in the right way, get the kids to know what opportunities that opens up for them.
So there’s not some short-term crisis here, and, in fact, the basic framework is a very positive one of the whole world participating in these activities, but not only in Microsoft in terms of how we have our employees volunteer, and we think about software and donations that can help the schools, also in my foundation I have some people who are really trying to think about what kind of high school design, how could you make math more relevant, and some of the designs are actually kind of surprising. Some are what you’d expect where you really put more computers in, kind of high tech high; others say take a theme like construction or outdoor adventure, and they learn mathematics in the context of trying to plan a trip or bid for how much a building will cost or things like that to really point out to people it’s a tool, it’s just a tool that lets you see things.
So I think there is some good experimentation going on in high schools. I do think we can make the design a lot better than it’s been, because after all, the world has changed. The really good jobs now require a college education, and that wasn’t true 20 or 30 years ago, and yet we really haven’t changed the way we do things to reflect that.
MODERATOR: I’ll take a question from the audience.
QUESTION: Is Microsoft going to develop a handheld like MP3 player to combat iPod, Apple’s dominance of the last year?
BILL GATES: Yeah, Apple has done a fantastic job with the iPod. How many of you have iPods? OK, some.
Well, we are talking with partners about how we working with those partners can make even better music players. We’ve got some in the market today. I’d say in total they may have about 20 percent market share, which is lower than we like and so we’re seeing where we could come together to make a device that’s less expensive and connects in better ways, does photos and videos in better ways.
And so I don’t think what’s out in the market today is the final answer, but again it just shows the magic of software; Apple did a very good job on iTunes, did the user interface design right, and so that means we’ll have to match all that good work and do something even better.
So between us and our partners, you can expect to see some pretty hot products coming out over the next couple of years.
QUESTION: Only 25 percent of the employees at Microsoft are women, so what kind of things are you guys doing to give more encouragement in technology?
BILL GATES: Well, Microsoft would love to see that percentage go up. There’s no reason it shouldn’t be 50 percent. And likewise, all the issues around diversity are things that we take very seriously. One thing that’s great is as you get more people, more women, more blacks, whatever group it is, then it’s a more comfortable environment for more people to come in. So it’s one of these things where success breeds success, but if you don’t do it well, then it can work the other way against you. And so we’ve got to put a lot of energy into that, understand both very smart things that can go on there, and how we just create that momentum.
For women, if you look at the attractiveness of mathematics, there’s a fall-off rate even going back to early in high school, late in high school, in college, and then a lot when even after college often women will choose more the marketing track, management track than choosing that engineering track. And so as you add that up, as it accumulates up, as we look at our candidate pool, there’s not nearly as many women in that candidate school with the kind of software background that we’d like to see.
So we work with universities to help them, and we really want to highlight the success stories. I think the important thing is to see somebody that you can relate to and say, “Hey, that woman I met, she’s doing great software work, I would like to do that, I can see that that is important.”
And so a lot of the women here do amazing things getting out and talking about what they’re doing, what those jobs are like, and it’s fantastic that they’re willing to push that forward. That has helped us, but we’re nowhere near where we’d like to be.
MODERATOR: I have another question from Las Colinas and the question is, what future ideas does Microsoft have and will be displaying soon for the public?
BILL GATES: Well, Microsoft actually works on things, some things that are 10 years away from being released to the public. We have our research group that has come up with things like the language translation. That’s not done yet where we can translate one language to another, but we’re making great progress. We’ve got the speech recognition that for specialized uses is here today, but for broad use is still many years away.
Some other things are really coming out right now. I mentioned the Messenger product and some phenomenal advances we’ll have this year. This is a big year for us, we have so many products this year. We’ve never had as many. We have a new version of Windows called Vista; that’s the most important. We’ve got Office, a whole new version called Office “12,” that’s the second-most important, but we’ve got a new browser that you can even get before you get Vista, we’ll have that out there. We’ve got these Messenger releases. Even in areas like phones we now have some really cool phones that let you type in messages and browse your photos.
The Xbox, we’ll have new titles coming out every month, we’ve got a camera, we’ve got people using the graphics in even better ways than they did when that product first came out.
And so this is a year that we’re really shipping a lot of things. I think we’ll surprise people in the area of search, the quality of work we’re doing where the competition is very tough there. I don’t know if any of you have tried out our mapping site, we call it Virtual Earth, but just looking at a map of your home, pictures of downtown, type in cool places and see them, that’s becoming so much better, and this year a lot of that will be out there in the marketplace.
So quite a range of things, we’ve never had as much all in one year.
QUESTION: We have a program like the black/minority group called the ACA at Garfield, and I just want to know how do you feel this group betters or adds to Microsoft?
BILL GATES: Well, I think any group that gets together and gets kids to sit down and think what do I want to do, what kind of jobs would be fun for me, and meet people where they say, yeah, I see what they’re doing, and I was able to talk to that person about the steps they took to have that opportunity for that very high paying, very interesting job that they got. So to the degree that you get kids to sit down and get to share where they find the blockades, are they finding some subjects too tough, they’re finding them not interesting enough, if you see that kind of thing should you go to the teachers and get some changes to take place and to get some outside expertise to come in; I think any time you have a group that sits down and gets kids to think about not just the next week or month but what choices they’re making that will help them out five or six years down the road when they’re in that job market is valuable.
And if you take the extreme case of the person in this room of the students who has the most opportunity versus the one who because of the choices they made has the least opportunity, it will be a dramatic difference, and that’s a very unfortunate thing. We’d like for everybody to have a lot of great job choices.
MODERATOR: I have a question from Silicon Valley again. (Patricia Crystal ?), a teacher at James Logan High School asks, as a teacher, Students often claim that you didn’t finish college; however, you’re still successful. How would you address my students who make this claim?
BILL GATES: Well, when it comes to loving school, I loved school. I loved the fact that I got to meet other people who were doing interesting things. I was able to get to know my teachers and have them challenge me in particular ways.
What actually happened was I went to Harvard University and I started there, I was taking way more than a normal number of classes, and having a great time doing it. But actually the very first kit computer showed up on the cover of a magazine, it was a $360 computer called the Altair. And my friend Paul Allen had taken a job back in Boston so he could be there, and we could brainstorm about when were we going to start our software company. And so we were really worried somebody else would write software and have this vision of this personal computer as this great tool before us. And so, in fact, I finished three years of college, and it turns out if I had known that I was only going to go to three years of college, I had enough advance placement to ask that if I’d done just a few things slightly differently I could have gotten my college degree.
As it is, I’m still very much a student, I’m reading things, learning all the time, and not just about computer things. I love to read about that, but recently just for fun I’ve been reading about energy, you know, will the world run out of oil, what about global warming, what about nuclear reactors, can they be fixed to be good or ethanol. Anyway, there’s a lot of neat things.
And so I definitely think of myself as a lifelong learner, I definitely recommend that people finish college. In my case, the fact that I went on leave from Harvard was very low risk for me, because if Microsoft hadn’t worked out, I could have just gone back and finished my studies; in fact, I’ve never had time to do that, I’ve been too busy. Maybe some day I’ll get an honorary degree. Some universities have given me honorary degrees.
I love education and the more you can get of it the better, but if you see a chance to start a company that’s going to change the world, and it has to be done that minute, that’s the special case that if your school will take you back, go ahead and give it a shot.
QUESTION: I’m from the Intel Computer Clubhouse. And we also have a program for girls, and we do math, science and engineering, and we work on projects that do interactive CD-ROM/animation, and then we do robotics.
And my question to you is, what advice would you give to the girls to continue doing what they’re doing so that we can be as successful as you?
BILL GATES: Well, the list of the things you gave there is very impressive, those are fantastic things. And we want to learn about computers, it can’t just be this completely abstract thing, you want to have some concrete goal that you want to achieve. And so playing around with animation, that’s a really good way to get into it, because it makes you think about programming, about if statements and timing and multiple things going on at once, and you can actually start and do pretty simple animations but then as you get good enough, you’re writing actual computer code and finding your bugs and things like that, and it really starts to get you into having a model of what the computers can do, how it actually works; that’s a fantastic thing.
I think there’s a lot of things that draw people in to using the computer as a tool. You ought to think what are the subjects you care about, go up and browse the Web about those things, use photography, start editing images. Eventually though you want to get to the point where you’re actually doing some type of programming, so writing games or animation, eventually you want to get there and so even if you don’t go off to be a programmer your whole life, you have a model of how the computer works. You know, the people here who are in marketing or what we call product management or testing, they all have a very strong sense of what software can do, and so when they sit down with the engineers and say let’s change it this way, even though they’re not writing the code, they have that great dialogue.
And so understanding basically how it works is a super thing, trying some hard projects, pushing yourself if you think you’ve got something down, try to write a larger program, a more complex program. Some kids are actually learning college type material in high school, and surprisingly that’s actually a way to draw kids in. I thought, you know, isn’t that making it tougher, but having that challenge of, yes, I can learn some of these things, that even when I get to college I’m in very good shape, that that turns out to be very attractive and very motivating. So the computer club is a great thing.
MODERATOR: I have one more question from Las Colinas, and the question is, what improvements does the upcoming Windows Vista have over the current Windows XP?
BILL GATES: Great. Well, Windows Vista has been many years in the making. We’ve had Windows XP out for over four years now. We did a lot of updates to the music player and the Tablet version, Media Center version, but, in fact, in terms of the entire operating system we’ve had a lot of years to get input on what people want to see that’s faster and better, and so it’s pretty broad what we’re doing.
When you sit down to use it, immediately you’ll see the graphics are very rich, it’s a high definition graphics product, and so it will feel more like this Xbox 360 in terms of the neat visuals, because the graphics power of these computers is a lot better.
The whole way that you’ll navigate and search and find things will be really built in, in a nice way. Finding photos, finding music, finding files, the way you’ll connect up through your e-mail is much, much richer than ever before.
There’s a lot of things that the computer will do automatically for you. The reliability just means you won’t have to mess around as much trying to get things to work. The security, there’s a lot built in that makes it an experience where you don’t have to go out and set a lot of parameters. Security has been a big theme because if we want to realize this digital future where everybody is using it for work and home, they’ve got to know that the computer works very reliably.
One of the problems we have in the Internet today is people trying to get you to give out your passwords, that’s called phishing, and so we’ve built in something that blocks that and in almost all cases built right into the operating system with what we call anti-phishing capabilities.
There will be a lot of neat new applications, there will be some new games that we’ve put in with this. We’re going beyond the kind of solitaire, Reversi stuff that we’ve had in the past. And there’s a lot of things that will make businesses like it because their ability to update it, deploy it, check how it’s being used, we’ve given them tools to do that in a far more efficient way. So all the new machines pretty quickly once we’re done, which will be later this year, will have these products.
We’re going into our broad beta tests in the months ahead, and we’ll get a lot of feedback on that and decide what the last minute tuning things should be. But whether it’s the backup capabilities, security, reliability, we’ve really gone across the board and we’re just dying to get it done and get it into the marketplace.
Well, my time is up, and so it’s been fantastic to be here, and I hope I see – I hope to see some of you here at Microsoft. So thanks a lot. (Applause.)