Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Monday, Nov 11, 2002
Info-Tech - Interview
India is more than a market for me: Gates
Vipin V. Nair
NEW DELHI, Nov. 10
IN the history of computing, he could well be the most adored, loathed, envied and ridiculed geek.
And reasons for being the object of adulation and animosity on a global scale is his mind-boggling quantity of wealth, which makes him the richest person on earth, and the company he co-founded, Microsoft Corporation, which ruthlessly crushed rivals to make him the richest. Mr Bill Gates, Co-founder, Chairman and Chief Software Architect of Microsoft is in India once again.
In an interview to Business Line through e-mail, Mr Gates talked about his third visit to the country, open source software and Microsoft's latest offering, the Tablet PC. Excerpts:
You are coming to India for the third time and second since 2000. Could you tell us what are the objectives of this visit?
Coming to India is valuable to me for both business and personal reasons. I'll be spending time on both during this trip. As a fast-growing market, a partner on major projects that impact governments, schools and enterprises, and a focal point of incredible technical talent, India is immensely important to Microsoft. Investments such as our research and development centre in Bangalore demonstrate our commitment to and strong partnership with India's IT industry.
Why is it that your Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is interested in India now?
On a personal level, India's societal issues are consistent with the work of my foundation. It's a place where I believe we can make substantive efforts to eradicate diseases and help develop the healthcare infrastructure in a way that benefits millions of people.
Why are businesses increasingly preferring to use open source software? And why should one prefer Windows to Linux?
The key issues most people cite when considering Linux are cost and security. And these are important I can't think of any customer these days who isn't concerned about the amount of money he is spending on technology, and security is increasingly important in a connected world.
But when you look at Linux's actual total cost of ownership (TCO) over a number of years which is what counts and take into account costs such as migration, development, consulting and support, you find that Windows almost always offers a lower TCO.
Similarly, security-tracking organisations have identified numerous vulnerabilities in Linux, and those vulnerabilities often remain unaddressed for long periods of time because there is no central organisation driving development.
How do you address issues of security since Windows is a constant target of virus attacks?
At Microsoft we have a dedicated team who focus only on security. When a vulnerability is discovered, they work with development teams to create a fix, test it and communicate quickly to our customers worldwide. That is our responsibility and just one part of our efforts to create trustworthy computing. If I were a CIO, I would be reluctant to run a mission-critical application on a platform that has no long-term road map and no single commercial entity responsible for its development.
Tell us about your new offering, Tablet PC?
The Tablet PC is a breakthrough product and I'm incredibly excited about. We've been working on aspects of the Tablet for a decade, and it's a great example of how we can partner with the industry to create great new form factors and devices that help people get more from technology. For individuals, the new user interface and increased mobility improves the usefulness of the PC by hours every day.
They can literally pick up their Tablet PC and walk away, taking notes and annotating documents as they go, and using wireless connections to retrieve the information they need to do their jobs.
Handwriting recognition means that the value of impromptu meetings and whiteboard discussions can be captured and easily shared. This offers a huge productivity advantage for information workers and the companies they work for.
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