On February 16th, Peter Jennings, the face of ABC News got to sit down with Microsoft chairman Bill Gates and talk about the future of the technology industry and what role Microsoft might have in it. Jennings didn’t hold back and asked Gates about several sore subjects for his company including the success of Firefox, Google and the iPod.
Here’s a portion of the transcript:
JENNINGS: On the subject of music, I read somewhere that about 80 percent of Microsoft employees who have a music playing instrument or a music playing device use an iPod.
GATES: Well, I doubt that’s the case. Certainly, the iPod’s a great success.
JENNINGS: Do you have one?
GATES: No, I’m not an iPod user. I use the Creative Zen which is a fantastic product. That’s another space where, even what we have today, whether it’s iPod or the other things are only the start of what we’re gonna have in a few years. People are gonna want choices. These things are going to be smaller or better, cheaper. So, music has changed. The age of the CD is really coming to an end.
JENNINGS: The public likes this tension between you and the others as I’m sure you know. So people want to know do you have an iPod. You say you don’t have. Did iPod beat you in this issue?
GATES: Oh the iPod did a great job, but what Apple’s done there is typically what they do. It’s their, only their one music store, only their device. What we’re doing is providing choices. So it’s like the Apple computer versus the PC. With the PC you can buy from many companies so you get cheaper prices, you get more variety and here with music devices we’re coming in with the same. But they’re a strong leader in the space and I think as we gain share, people will be surprised.
JENNINGS: But, it isn’t hard for you is it to stand back and compliment somebody else?
GATES: No, particularly Steve Jobs who’s done a lot of amazing things in our business.
JENNINGS: I’ve heard some people say that if they were graduating from science or technology today, they’d rather work for Jobs than Microsoft. Why do you think that might be true?
GATES: Well it’s certainly not the case. You found a very unusual data point there. In terms of software that’s going to change lives and the most interesting software work in the world we’re able to attract the smartest people and believe me, that’s something that we track very, very carefully. When it comes to having the best software people, that’s been the key to our success.