Bill Gates: 'What the revolution in computer software means'

From a speech by the chairman and chief software architect of the Microsoft Corporation, to the 2006 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas
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The Independent Online

I think five or six years ago, if you'd said to people that software would be incredible in terms of making photos better, music better, TV better, phone calls very different, they would have been quite sceptical, they would have thought, how can software do that?

Well, now particularly in music, to some degree in TV, they've seen that it makes a huge difference. It allows them to pick the things that they're interested in, it allows them to see it when they want to, to share with friends what they've seen and what they like.

So what does it mean? It means that software will make things both simpler and more effective. Picking the music that you want, finding out other things by that artist or similar artists, not having to think about discs and putting them in the case. Entertainment - finding things that are great, having a digital jukebox anywhere in the house so you can call up the movies you own and see those exactly when you want to. Photos - organising not just photos but all the memories of your kids growing up, being able to search them, send them off to relatives, have them appear on various nice screens around the house. Communications - not just with the voice but also with the screens connecting people together, letting them annotate documents, work together in a very rich way.

These are scenarios that people can understand, if we make them simple, we make them inexpensive, and we drive them through a single interface. Everything you learn, the concepts for one activity - whether it's gaming or office productivity - gets applied across these different activities.

Likewise, these things need to work across all the different devices. So it's not just software for the PC or software for the phone or software for the video game, it's software for the user. And my preferences, my interests, like how I charge things, or the news I care about, or who my buddies are, all of those things are reflected on those devices. A friend can see, if I want, what game I'm playing and, say, they might want to play with me, ask me to join in, and do something else.