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Gates on Apple, Google - and Microsoft's Future

LOS ANGELES -- Microsoft Corp is grappling with 'a lot of smart competitors' including Google and Apple who are ahead of the Redmond company in some key markets, Bill Gates acknowledges.

'Competing with competitors who are smart is a new one for us of course. We don't know yet what to make of it, but we're up to the challenge.'

Gates insisted on Tuesday his company remains the overall industry leader however.

'Lotus, Novell, WordPerfect - we've crushed them all. We know how to play dirty. Department of Justice verdicts don't worry us - it's pocket change at most. We know how to win.'

'And at any point in our history, we've had competitors who were better at doing everything', he added, stirring an audible agreement from the crowd.

Gates was speaking to the worried minions at Microsoft's most recent Unprofessional Developers Conference, trying in vain to rally support for his bug-ridden ramshackle DOS-based dinosaur of an 'operating system', the coming release of Vista ('Viruses Infections Spyware Trojans Adware') and the Visceral Basic powered Microsoft Office 12 which promises to be the biggest mutant organism ever unleashed on the planet.

From the interview:

Q: You showed Office 12 here for the first time today. How do you think users are going to react when they see such a different look?

Gates: They'll probably vomit. As Office got more bloated, we knew the bloat was a very limiting thing. We were holding back our buddies at Intel who wanted to make computers obsolete on a more continual basis. We've now redefined bloat with Office 12, and Intel will make gazillions again. They're very happy about the product.'

Q: Companies such as Google and Apple have taken the lead in some key areas. Are Windows Vista and Office 12 a chance for you to recapture some of that buzz and show that Microsoft plans to remain a central figure in the software industry?

Gates: Oh hardly. I don't think so. The world learned its lesson a long time ago. Our software is just so poorly written, and when it comes to critical applications our customers know they can't rely on us. We'll still be plucking things from our bag of dirty tricks of course, and we'll never stop stealing everyone else's de novo innovations, but I think our best years - the planet's worst years - are behind us now. I plan to take up rowing.

Q: Are there any features of Windows Vista that the US antitrust settlement is keeping you from including, that you would otherwise want to include?

Gates: It's not so much the DOJ and their settlement as it is the US Department of Homeland Security. They'd rather have us just close up shop and leave town.

Q: I wondered, for example, if you might want to build in antivirus protections into Windows if not for the antitrust situation.

Gates: We need our third party vendors. The third party vendor market for Windows is the largest in the world. This is basically because the operating system is so crappy, so the third party vendors have to write the stuff we didn't write or write it better than we did. They love us for that. Of course the consumer is getting ripped off in a spectacular fashion, but it's business like this that makes our country great.

Q: What will Windows Vista do for computer security, and for Microsoft's security reputation in general?

Gates: Did you say 'security'? How do you spell that? S-e-c-u-r-i-t-y? What does it mean? We have de novo innovations.

Q: Security - preventing crashes, hangs, dwindling resources, denial of service, vulnerabilities, spyware, trojans, stolen identities, gutted bank accounts - and all those hefty class action lawsuits against you giving you the blame for it all.

Gates: We have de novo innovations. Vista has lots of de novo innovations. You have my word on that.

Q: Some people hold Microsoft most accountable for security problems, even though software flaws are exploited by 'bad guys' as you said. Is that a fair criticism?

Gates: Do you have names? Give us the names. These pussies are always trying to fuck us. We'll fuck them back. We've done it before and we'll do it again. And most of them sure got lots of cars.

Q: You've said that this will be the most significant release of Windows since 95. Do you have any hope or expectation of recapturing the consumer excitement that accompanied that particular launch?

Gates: Since Babbage. Not since 95 - since Babbage. You might have got this mixed up, as our code name for Windows 95 was Cabbage. It's not Cabbage, it's Babbage. Vista will be the most significant release of Windows since Charles Babbage. It will spell the end of the computer era as we know it.

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