Gates predicts death of the office phone
Video for Office users
Bill Gates has been banging the communications convergence and new media drum for business leaders, telling chief executives the PC is the phone of the future.
Opening his company's annual CEO Summit at the Redmond, Washington, campus Gates envisioned the death of the desktop phone, as PCs take on phone-like functionality and integrated communications are provided through applications like the upcoming Office Communicator 2007 and Office Communications Server 2007.
"You'll have the PC with a phone peripheral and then you'll have your mobile phone. And the mobile phone and that PC will be working together in a rich way," he said.
Gates thinks the feature and functionality gap between PCs and mobile devices will close, as PCs shrink and take on new form factors and mobiles - including (shock name check) the iPod - or "other navigation dev,ices" get things like bigger screens. And he still thinks his pet personal project, the wildly unpopular Tablet PC, will see mainstream adoption one day.
"I tend to believe that the phone will move up and the PC will move down and there won't be any special devices categories, because the power of being able to run any applications, wither it's media, reading, navigation, is very strong," Gates said.
Continuing the convergence and "new methods of communications" theme, Gates tackled online video as a way to reach customers and developers. he singled out his company's Channel 9 service, where Microsoft staffers equipped with video cameras wander the halls of Redmond interviewing product managers and developers for a predominantly developer audience, as the way to go.
Channel 9 is an effective way to get developers excited about Microsoft products and gather feedback. And with four million "unique developers" tuning in, it has a larger viewership than most cable TV channels, he said. Microsoft is starting a similar effort for broader users on Office, offering advice on best practices, he revealed: "We're just at the beginning of that." ®
If Gates, Balmer or any other MS mouthpiece uses the adjective "rich" again, I will probably puke. I think it was last year, in a single paragraph, Gates used it 8 or 9 times to describe various content and functions; it's such a stupid word in this context anyway.
I agree with other posters that Gates (and Jobs and others in the top echelon of the electronic consumer products industry) are completely out of touch with the everyday realities the common herd face. They seem so have no idea of how people want to use computers, phones, etc and live with their "vision" while the rest of have to find ways of making the things actually work (where possible).
P.S. What's a "pidgeon"?
Phones and Tablets
I use a NEC Versa LitePad table every day - and have since I bought it 4 years ago. It was the only tablet worth hitting a dog in the arse with: the same useful area as a sheet of paper, reasonable speed and just enough storage to keep what is needed on it. Which, by the way, is notes (I use it instead of paper for all meetings and conversations) and documents (especially the maintenance manuals for my 50 year-old MGA). Battery life DOES suck, but I still have three to swap in when one runs down. Best of all, it cost US$900 new - cheap then and still working now.
The point here is that I do NOT use it as my desktop computer - rather, it is an adjunct that permits integrating information that normally escapes digital capture. I was using a Franklin (I think) electronic note pad (you wrote on a paper tablet with an RF pen and the tablet that was part of the folio captured the pen strokes). This was also wonderful, but no one understood the usefulness of the device and when drivers quit being written I had to abandon it.
I guess the rambling point here is that there are different uses for different devices - phone, laptop, tablet, server, etc. There *IS* merit in getting convergence in the device footprints - that is, if I had a laptop PC with a tablet screen that could be removed (completely) for use in note-taking or carrying large reference documents around, that also had a wireless telephone that could dock into it for data exchange and modem use - but could also be removed and used stand-alone as a cell phone. This *SHOULD* be easy to provide these days: the only requirement would be to have power and a USB interface and a solid dock latch into the laptop body.
Oh, by the way, my comment to this story (before I was side-tracked): there WAS a convergent device like this back in the mid 1990's. Built by AT&T, it was a tablet computer, running and advanced OS specifically geared to note-taking and information display, with an integrated cell phone that could also work as a CDPD modem. It was called the EO, and lasted all of about a year...
...because it didn't run Windows...
Gates is a nut, but not too far off.
Most of the things he's "into" have really neat niche uses. Take, for instance, tablet PCs. Mostly, they're useless. Especially for the things he says they're useful for.
But they're a hell of a tool for logistics or inventory or any time when you do a bunch of really complex things with a really complex UI that you just can't get to fit on a teensy little screen without sacrificing functionality or making every form 2000 pages long.
Wait a minute
Arn't we still using the qwerty keyboard- alegedly designed to slow typests down, so the levers with the letters on the end didn't get caught up together...