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Sony boss Nobuyki Idei believes that Microsoft doesn't know what its future business model should be, and will be overwhelmed by smaller and more nimble competitors.

The depth of antipathy between the companies, and Idei's disdain for Gates, emerges in pre-publication excerpts from a new book on Microsoft. In candid remarks made to author Ken Auletta, and published in Auletta's book World War 3.0: Microsoft and its Enemies (Profile Books) president and co-CEO of Sony, Idei is quoted at saying:

"Microsoft is very uncertain about its future business model... their future business model is totally in danger." He characterises Microsoft as an "OS dinosaur", unable to adapt to new thinking. "[Gates] mind set is very old. He would no longer be able to license Windows as he once had."

Idei, who has known Gates twenty years, is damning about Gates lack of ideas: "He wrote a book about the road ahead, but it really is the road back."

Small internet devices, piracy and free software projects are compared to "ants" who will threaten the software giant, says Idei.

The Sony chief made the remarks to Auletta at a Sun Valley retreat for business chiefs and politicians last year, co-sponsored by News Corporation and investment banker Herb Allen.

Gates and Idei meet each year, but their meeting last year was marked by Gates fears of the PlayStation 2 taking a pivotal role in households as an information appliance. Sony was offered, and rejected, Microsoft software in the PS2 says Idei. ®

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