Bill Gates: 'Microsoft would have been willing to buy' WhatsApp

Bill Gates continues his media tour to promote the efforts of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation with a new interview on Rolling Stone's website this week, but he also talked about Microsoft and technology related issues, including the recent purchase of WhatsApp by Facebook for $19 billion.

Gates stated that Facebook's decision was proof that "user bases are extremely valuable" and that software products like WhatsApp could be changed to do a number of different things besides sending texts. When the interviewer mentioned that Google was looking into buying WhatsApp, Gates replied, "Yeah, yeah. Microsoft would have been willing to buy it, too. . . . I don't know for $19 billion, but the company's extremely valuable."

Gates also talked about the growing concerns about the general public losing their privacy in the new age where technology connects everyone. He stated that better rules need to be in place that state what kinds of information can be discovered by anyone. Gates said, "If you were in a divorce lawsuit 20 years ago, is that a public document on the Web that a nosy neighbor should be able to pull up with a Bing or Google search?"

Gates doesn't have a lot of admiration for NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Gates feels that Snowden broke the law with his actions and that he could have raised the same questions about the U.S. government engaging in mass spying activities in other ways.

In his new role as "technology advisor" to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Gates said, "Satya has asked me to review the product plans and come in and help make some quick decisions and pick some new directions." He admits that the software products that Microsoft made in the 1990s now need "more than a tuneup" in the new cloud-based computer age.

Source: Rolling Stone | Image via Bill Gates

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So right now whatsapp is just like ten years ago when msn,skype and icq is at the pinnacle of technology period. So by 2024, we will be text message through wearable device all the time without taking it off when is time to bed. Taking it to the next level of addiction and monitor you while sleeping.

I'm curious what Mr. Gates thinks that Snowden could have done differently. My understanding is that he tried multiple times to work within the system before going rogue. Is that wrong?

Seems that Bill Gates uses Whatsapp and he likes it... Thought he uses Skype and related Microsoft products... I remember the article years ago that he bans the apple products at his home..

Gates said, "If you were in a divorce lawsuit 20 years ago, is that a public document on the Web that a nosy neighbor should be able to pull up with a Bing or Google search?"
:nods in agreement:

It's also worrying at the extent of private lives being disclosed on Facebook, but whatever..

Just wait until you can wear your Google Glasses, look at a total stranger, then have facial recognition pull up all their history, where they live, the value of their home, etc.

When someone shares a photo that you have set for only your friends to view and suddenly it's view-able by all of facebook because that person doesn't restrict their posts to friends only I wouldn't use "tightly" to describe what is going on.

Stokkolm said,
When someone shares a photo that you have set for only your friends to view and suddenly it's view-able by all of facebook because that person doesn't restrict their posts to friends only I wouldn't use "tightly" to describe what is going on.

That is not possible, if I am sharing a picture / post with friends only (not friends of friends) and one of my friend decides to share the picture, he will be able to make a share _but_ other people will see an 'Attachment Restricted' message rather than the picture / post. So unless your friend decides to be a total jerk, downloads the picture and then share it, its not possible.

Steven P. said,

It's also worrying at the extent of private lives being disclosed on Facebook, but whatever..

Any data shared on a social network should be considered publicly accessible. Period. That's what we need to drill into people.

Or so you think. Won't be the first time random people can access your hidden from public information through exploits. Let alone big entities like governments and their own ways.

Ancient rule of the internet, if you don't want something public. Don't put it on the internet.

Mr.XXIV said,
You exaggerate the lack of privacy a little too much when it comes to Facebook's features. You can be in total control.

1) Post personal picture on Facebook
2) Malcontent copies/screenshots the photo
3) Malcontent uploads to imgur

Job done. Swap "personal picture" with any information that you've uploaded to Facebook. And this doesn't even consider the prospect of a major intrusion (hacking of Facebook, phishing, etc).

Blueclub said,
That is not possible, if I am sharing a picture / post with friends only (not friends of friends) and one of my friend decides to share the picture, he will be able to make a share _but_ other people will see an 'Attachment Restricted' message rather than the picture / post. So unless your friend decides to be a total jerk, downloads the picture and then share it, its not possible.

I don't think you understand that "not possible" means.

You've never heard any mention of Facebook rushing some fix because something that was meant to be private, turned out not to be? Or Facebook changing some privacy settings with new defaults that share more data than before, and users have to manually change those back? Exploits? Bugs?