Gates goes on the attack

Calling the antitrust lawsuit against his company an example of government meddling, Microsoft CEO Bill Gates said on Wednesday that Windows faces enough competitive challenges as it is and will need to change dramatically to continue to survive.

"The government does not need to set standards: that is one thing for sure. Internet standards are moving so fast I dare any government to keep up with them," Gates said.

As for Windows, Gates sees some dramatic changes coming. Maybe he read yesterday's WinInfo.

"The current operating system we're selling won't be adequate for the demands of the future," Gates said today in New York. Gates was in town to announce a $100 million gift to aid child vaccinations in third world countries, the largest personal contribution of its kind ever made. "Even if we call it Windows \[in the future\], the code in there will have to change dramatically."

Gates said that future operating systems would need to support more elegant user interfaces, with seamless voice recognition and other features "where you don't get a lot of strange error messages."

Gates also pointed to the AOL/Sun/Netscape deal as an example of the constantly-shifting face of computer industry competition. He discussed Microsoft's decision to make their browser--Internet Explorer-free, saying that they were simply copying the strategy that was successful for Netscape earlier.

"Our decision that browsers would have a revenue stream from advertisers meant that we didn't have to raise the price of Windows. That was bringing competition to the browser market," he said. "And certainly now with AOL paying billions of dollars to buy Netscape the notion that you \[can\] stay in business when the browser's free because other revenue sources make it a fantastic business, and they have access to distribution channels to allow them to get their product out there, that's been answered very resoundingly.

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