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Bill Gates' big mouth

Bill Gates' big mouth

"I've said some stupid things and some wrong things,” Bill Gates has said. He has also had plenty to say that is profound.

"Well, one of the privileges of success in this country is government scrutiny, and that's okay. I mean, we have a very sexy industry. If you worked at the Department of Justice, which would you rather investigate bread or software? ... Our, I guess you could call it, 'dispute' with the Department of Justice is about over whether we need to cripple our products or not.

That is, can we take a feature that was once available separate from the operating system, like a browser or a graphical interface or any of the other things we've done, and then integrate that into the operating system so that users don't have to go out and buy those separate pieces and they have one unified product that creates a simple user interface ...

So with Windows 98, we're not changing anything we do there. Worst case, they'll ask us to create a crippled product as well as the normal product, and that would be too bad. That would really hold us back, so we're quite confident that won't happen. - Stanford University, Palo Alto, California, January 27, 1998.

"I'm a great believer that any tool that enhances communication has profound effects in terms of how people can learn from each other, and how they can achieve the kind of freedoms that they're interested in. E-mail in Russia was very key in allowing people to get together and think about, did they want to revert back to the previous mode of government?

In country after country, you can see that having these tools, there has really made a pretty incredible difference. ...

"When I first started thinking about philanthropy, I looked back and studied what some of the foundations had done over history, and looked at what kind of things could really make a difference, what kind of things could have a very dramatic impact. And one of the first causes

I got attracted to was the issue of population growth, making sure that families had the information to decide exactly how many children they want to have, and with the goal there that if population growth is lower than it would be otherwise, the follow-on effect of that in terms of being able to have resources for education, for the environment, for every element of quality of life that you can imagine, that that would be a fundamentally advantageous thing." Digital Dividends Conference, Seattle, October 18, 2000.

"So partly the reason the US has the leadership we have today is that about 20 years ago, we had a high degree of humility.

That is, we looked at Japan and sort of said, 'Wow, is their model superior, is there something about our model that could be strong.' And all these great things benefited from that approach. If during this period we don't retain at least some of that humility and look at what other countries are doing and learn from them, then our relative dominance will shrink faster than it should." Digital Dividends Conference, Seattle, October 18, 2000.

"Until we're educating every kid in a fantastic way, until every inner city is cleaned up, there is no shortage of things to do." 1994 Playboy interview.

"Yesterday, one of my fine competitors, Scott McNealy, was here talking about the ring market, digital rings. And everybody always says Microsoft is trying to do everything. So I think it's important to state that this is one market that Microsoft will not be involved in." Consumer Electronics Show, Las Vegas, January 10, 1998.


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