Bill Gates avoids the browser issue

First concerns the current stagnation of Microsoft’s web browser. While other browsers such as Mozilla, Konqueror, and Safari sport surfer friendly features such as pop-up blocking and tabbed browsing, IE has been stuck at version 6.0 longer than I was in college it seems. Bill addresses his critics saying,

"How could we ignore the browser?," Gates responded. ‘The Explorer is fully integrated with the operating system, take it away and the OS grinds to a halt. When you call up Help, you’re using the browser. In Office 2003 instead of going to the local files, the browser will go online and fetch the latest documents." Without going into details, Gates says he sees opportunities for reading and annotation capabilities in Internet Explorer. However, the industry seems more concerned about software talking to other software, Gates said, than about software talking to the screen. "XML is going to be the key technology here too."

Notice how he didn’t answer the question? He talks about what things the future browser might do and the capabilities he does talk about have nothing whatsover to do with browsing the web. Reading Windows Help files? Reading and annotation capabilities? Come on. It’s clear that he doesn’t care about following standards and interoperating in a heterogenous environemnt like the web.

The second item is quite amusing in a deja-vu, haven’t-we-heard-that-before kind of way. When talking about 64-bit computing he says,

Gates also doesn’t seem to have a lot of faith in 64 bit technologies in the consumer space. "64 bit is coming to desktops, there is no doubt about that," he said. "But apart from Photoshop, I can’t think of desktop applications where you would need more than 4 gigabytes of physical memory, which is what you have to have in order to benefit from this technology. Right now, it is costly."

For the record, this sounds a lot like a quote that’s been attributed to him before about High Memory in DOS: "640K ought to be enough for anybody. " Although there is some doubt about the veracity of said quote, he won’t be able to deny saying he can’t fathom needing 4GB of physical memory. I’ll ask him about that when I’m playing a photo-realistic first-person-shooter.