Bill did Charlie Rose which gives one a 55 minute view into what he thinks about where MSFT is now and where they are going.Â Â Given the size and importance of the company we thought we should review it.
Bill’s outside MSFT now but he clearly still cares about the company as well as some "special projects" like search.Â
The odd disconnect between what Bill believes and what the reality is in software today.Â The visions are fairly mainstream including thoughts about mobile computing, reading devices, video, screen technologies and so on.Â (Strangely enough Bill didn’t have much to say about what we see as the medium-term future of visual computing and RealVR.)
There’s clearly big opportunity in having Bill and his resources figure out some solutions to normal world problems like how to keep vaccines viable without refrigeration and many other areas.
Having the energy and intellectual interest, combined with the financial resources of a Gates/Buffett+ is a pretty big deal.Â The world isn’t rational because of dysfunctional incentive systems and it needs organizations like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to address obvious problems.
Technology will play a big roll in delivering the best education effectively.Â Also technology will help with problems like water and cooling in emerging economies. At the same time technology plays a generally positive role in figuring out ways to spur development.Â
Go after some core problems like AIDS and Malaria are a major focus.Â Gates focuses mostly on developing new solutions and then relies on governments and other organizations to fund large-scale implementations.Â
On the surface having these guys go after solutions for the 10M children who die every year is obviously pretty awesome stuff.Â
Lots of the major cycles are 15 years in duration when it comes to new vaccines and crops which is a major factor in limiting advances.Â
The idea of taking 4-5% of the "innovation power" of large companies and directing it towards special needs of the world and the poor is a good one.Â [The fact is that taking 1c out of every dollar and focusing the right way will go a along way to solving these problems.]
Bureaucrats don’t get a wake up call from customers or markets.Â Same can be said in many ways about some non-profits.Â The ability to prioritize and understand real business scale issues are the core of what needs to be in place to solve some of these problems.
Overall a fairly grounded and noble presentation from Bill on what he is doing and how he still feels technology will play a major role.Â At the same time he hasn’t totally let go of technology projects at Microsoft but much remains to be seen about how they will do in software, search and so on.