Feeds

Microsoft was 'willing' to buy WhatsApp says Bill Gates

Founder also feels core Microsoft products need 'more than a tuneup' for the cloud

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Microsoft was “willing” to buy WhatsApp, Bill Gates has told Rolling Stone.

The magazine's interview with Gates ranges widely, revealing his recent dinner with Charles Koch and their discussion about climate change (the problem is urgent, action is needed but the US can't be expected to lead and renewable energy has big problems) the wisdom of spending on development aid (not every investment pays off, just ask venture capitalists, but we can't not try) and even God (Science makes it harder to believe, but there are no explanations for many things).

The Reg is a technology publication, so we'll let you read the whole interview for those thoughts. In our, and Gates, home patch, his observations start with Facebook's acquisition of WhatsApp, which Gates lauds as Mark Zuckerberg's “aggressiveness is wise” although he thinks “the price is higher than I would have expected”.

“It shows that user bases are extremely valuable.”

“Microsoft was willing to buy it, too,” Gates added. “I don't know if it was for $19 billion, but the company's extremely valuable.”

On Google, Gates says feels it is at a phase in its life when it can afford to spend money on long shots. “When you have a lot of money, it allows you to go down a lot of dead ends,” he said. “We had that luxury at Microsoft in the Nineties. You can pursue things that are way out there. We did massive interactive­TV stuff, we did digital-wallet stuff. A lot of it was ahead of its time, but we could afford it.”

Microsoft, he said, may need to be a little more like Google as it contemplates cloudy success. “Office and the other Microsoft assets that we built in the Nineties and kept tuning up have lasted a long time. Now, they need more than a tuneup. But that's pretty exciting for the people inside [Microsoft] who say, 'We need to take a little risk and do some new stuff' – like Google.”

Asked about Edward Snowden, Gates said “I certainly wouldn't characterize him as a hero” but welcomes the debate he has sparked “about the general notion of under what circumstances should they [government] be allowed to do things.” ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Lords take revenge on REVENGE PORN publishers
Jilted Johns and Jennies with busy fingers face two years inside
Yes, yes, Steve Jobs. Look what I'VE done for you lately – Tim Cook
New iPhone biz baron points to Apple's (his) greatest successes
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.