Bill Gates on Chrome OS and browsers

Microsoft chairman Bill Gates has revealed that he is "surprised people are acting like there's something new" in Google's recently announced Chrome operating system, during an interview with CNET News.

Just yesterday Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer also seemed to dismiss Chrome OS, although both Ballmer and Gates admitted that with Google saying so little about their latest project it is hard to know exactly what it will be and therefore discuss it in detail. "In any case, you should make them be concrete about what they're doing," Gates said in regards to the lack of information. "It is kind of a typical thing. When Google is doing anything it gets this - the more vague they are, the more interesting it is."

"[T]here's many, many forms of Linux operating systems out there, and packaged in different ways, and booted in different ways. So I don't know anything in particular about what Google is doing," the former Microsoft CEO said, going on to mention Google's Android mobile operating system as his successor also did yesterday, "in some ways I'm surprised people are acting like there's something new. I mean, you've got Android running on Netbooks; it's got a browser in it."

With their Chrome OS, Google is expected to give more focus to the browser with it taking on several aspects usualy attributed to the operating system. Microsoft has also been researching similar ideas. In regards to this Gates said, "It just shows the word browser has become a truly meaningless word. Anyway, what's a browser, what's not a browser? If you're playing a movie, is that a browser or not a browser? If you're doing annotations is that a browser or not a browser? If you're editing text, is that a browser or not a browser? In large part it's more an abuse of terminology than a real change."

Gates also had some comments on how he feels Microsoft is doing in his absence. "I'm always the one who thinks, gosh, why isn't Microsoft doing even more, because that's been my mindset, let's move fast, do new things very quickly," Gates said, "But, you have to say, whether it's Windows 7 that is a really excellent piece of work. I'd go so far as to say both compared to other operating systems, and compared to other generations of Windows, it's an extremely nice piece of work."

In regards to Microsoft Office, Gates said, "there's a lot about the new version that will get talked about in the next nine months or so." He also commented about Bing, saying, "people see Bing as a nice piece of work, really see us in the game, hiring really top people, and willing to try to do things some different ways."

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Microsoft: How to install a browser on Windows 7 E

Next Story

Bing takes market share away from Yahoo

81 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

I dunno, I tend to agree. I don't really understand getting so excited about an OS that we know absolutely nothing about aside from the fact that it's yet another version of Linux... I'm really lost here. I've just never gotten so worked up over something I don't know anything about... :-\

You're late to the party. :P

It seems everytime someone makes a modification off Unix (Ubuntu, Crunchbang, OpenSuse, OS X) everyone just goes ape**** crazy over them.

I get what you mean.

"I'm always the one who thinks, gosh, why isn't Microsoft doing even more, because that's been my mindset, let's move fast, do new things very quickly," Gates said

Hence, why under your term, the only truly stable OS was Windows 98 SE.

This man just needs to lrn2lvitalone. Jealousy at its finest.

Well...let's be honest here...

Major corporations are not going to be using Google as their operating system. Bill has nothing to fear.

What Bill needs to fear is the possibility if Windows 7 does not get accepted by companies and individual users...he will have a serious problem on his hands.

Is there going to be a Europe version of Chrome OS without a browser? Because, hey, a browser is not an integral part of an operating system.

Xeron said,
Is there going to be a Europe version of Chrome OS without a browser? Because, hey, a browser is not an integral part of an operating system.

Héhé!
+1

Hmm, the vagueness is a point (on Chrome OS). Microsoft's weakness has probably been marketing (they seem to be getting better). Gates still makes good points about software and the abuse of the term browser. I still respect him professionally. Also come on, loads of people here have said how good Windows 7 is, just in beta, he should be happy!

Its funny, people these days don't have the time to see what they are talking about before calling it all sorts of names such as useless, waste of time, blah blah. How about do something useful with your time and come back with your amazing insights when you have actually had the chance to take a look at what you are talking about ?

I saw 2 generations of "forum-culture" and I thought I'm in the 3rd one, but apparently I'm still in the 2nd... what culture? see below:

1. ppl start complaining
2. ppl start complaining those who complains
3. ppl still complains but no one complains about ppl that complains.

It's quite hard for #3 cuz all we need is to have 1 person started with #2, and ppl (like me) would do the same. It's so infectious!

who cares about what we know or what we don't know of ChromeOS?! Little Billy Gates here got you all confused with his mind games... of course we don't know anything about ChromeOS, we don't need to... we just like the idea that Windows FINALLY has some serious competition. That's what it was all about in the first place.

dnagroove said,
who cares about what we know or what we don't know of ChromeOS?! Little Billy Gates here got you all confused with his mind games... of course we don't know anything about ChromeOS, we don't need to... we just like the idea that Windows FINALLY has some serious competition. That's what it was all about in the first place.

I for some reason couldn't devise how big this "ChromOS" is some serious competition without us knowing anything more than Gates already knew.

dnagroove said,
who cares about what we know or what we don't know of ChromeOS?! Little Billy Gates here got you all confused with his mind games... of course we don't know anything about ChromeOS, we don't need to... we just like the idea that Windows FINALLY has some serious competition. That's what it was all about in the first place.

ChromeOS won't even remotely be competition for Windows. Maybe against other free OSes like linux distros and the likes. Or (assuming its highly polished and functional) it could be a decent OS for netbooks. It'll never threat MS on the desktop segment.

dnagroove said,
who cares about what we know or what we don't know of ChromeOS?! Little Billy Gates here got you all confused with his mind games... of course we don't know anything about ChromeOS, we don't need to... we just like the idea that Windows FINALLY has some serious competition. That's what it was all about in the first place.


To compete with Windows, an alternative OS must be able to RUN Windows software, otherwise it hasn't got a chance.

Or, to put it another way, to compete with Windows, one must BECOME Windows.

Heh, this just degenerated into a flamefest. People treat these guys as celebrities. I don't care about them. I care about their technologies. Which goes back to the main question. What exactly is new about ChromeOS that would warrant this type of hype? Or is this just a brand issue? It's from Google...it must be revolutionary?

Gates' comment about what is and isn't a browser is the funniest thing in the whole interview. Why? Because it was Microsoft that started the trend when they merged Internet Explorer and Windows Explorer with the desktop in Windows 98!

roadwarrior said,
Gates' comment about what is and isn't a browser is the funniest thing in the whole interview. Why? Because it was Microsoft that started the trend when they merged Internet Explorer and Windows Explorer with the desktop in Windows 98!

That was an unintentional side effect of trying to destroy the competition (netscape).

liberatus_sum said,
That was an unintentional side effect of trying to destroy the competition (netscape).

Ummm....MS didn't really need help killing off Netscape. Netscape did a real good job killing itself.

MS working the internet into the desktop was NOT competing with Netscape. It was part of a grander redefinition of what the web can be. Netscape was still a world wide web trapped in a window.

lordcanti86 said,
Ummm....MS didn't really need help killing off Netscape. Netscape did a real good job killing itself.


But the heart and soul of Netscape is still with us! Remember where Firefox came from.

Let's get something straight. Gates is a true technology genius. Jobs is an excellent salesman. I guarantee Gates understands the technology behind the scenes better than Jobs does. Jobs is a pitchman. Same holds true for Ballmer. Pitchman. Nothing more.
You ever see gates SAT scores?

Microsoft is working on a huge reputation boost with their latest products. Clean, modern, integrated seem to be the keywords, and it's starting to work. Think about all the products they recently refreshed/released (or soon will be refreshed/released)

- Windows Live Apps (the latest suite): got really clean and userfriendly, with lots of customization options
- Office 2007 and soon 2010 with web apps: extremely clean interfaces, and once you actually accept you won't have your menu bar anymore you're so much faster with it, it just works
- Windows 7: the best Windows out there by far. Isn't this the first time they managed to down the actual hardware requirements instead of increasing them or keeping them the same? It just works again!
- Zune: You'll have to admit it, it is one very nice music player. The interface (designed by the Media Center team) is just awesome, looks great and is easy to use, and with the new Zune HD coming up they've got a beautiful competitor for the iPod Touch out there!
- Bing: refreshing search actually, shame about the international launch that didn't go really well (Bing still has no use here in Belgium), but their US approach is just good, does what people want and does it in a good way. Unlike Google which is just clean and probably why we geeks love it, Bing has a shiny interface that I, and lots of other people will simply love. The daily image is awesome, and usually even has me Googling the subject for a while!

Can't instantly think of others, but with their music streaming thing coming up, which I'm sure will be great if they put the right people on it, will probably follow this modern fresh style aswell!

Good job Microsoft, you're bringing back the cool to your company!

Agreed there...

About Bing... Actually Bing currently only operates in USA. Other "Bings" around the world are not real Bing, they are just newly skinned same old Live Search (well, that's an insider info)

Yes, I was actually feeling Depressed with MS around the time Vista launched and ended up making the semi move (Still have a PC desktop) to a Mac. Now with Windows 7, Bing, the Live tools getting better and Office 2007, which I have a VM of Vista on my MacBook just to run, I'm starting start to feel much better about Microsoft's products.

burnblue said,
ಠ_ಠ Don't you mean continuing on Bing?

Google-ing something is an official verb in Dutch and just means searching for something on the internet Obviously, I Bing it in this case

@liberatus_sum above

- I'm talking about the app suite, not about the search engine.

- Yes, the ribbon is a pretty big feature aside from the completely new rendering engine and for me was definately the reason to buy 2007. (Been using it since the very first dogfood build that leaked out, and couldn't live without it anymore)

- The way Microsoft works on Windows 7 is completely different. Windows 7 is, compared to Vista a minor release, and mainly fixed everything people started complaining about in Vista. And oh by the way, there's nothing wrong with Vista? I use it a lot, like it, and know many other people who prefere it by far over XP. My uncle for example has a problem reading small text (dyslexia) and he loves Flip3D, it made using his laptop a lot easier for him. I'm sure the superbar will be another improvement since it doesn't rely on text labels.

And oh, I've been using Windows 7 as my main OS since december, I think I'd have noticed major problems by now since I'm using my pc at least five hours a day, every day.

- Zune might not be very popular but the people who own one all agree the Zune beats the iPod in almost everything but the available music in the catalogue.

- Bing got a huge market share for having to compete against Google and did VERY well, and I think it's maybe not the most complete (in search results) but by far the best search engine in completeness.

- I don't get that one about positively frozen in time. Microsoft has been innovating terribly much the last two years.

And oh, please don't quote or quote the right way...

Ambroos said,
And oh, please don't quote or quote the right way...

For some reason quotes aren't working on the text above. Perhaps an oversight on my part. nevertheless, you understood the sentiment.

Eastwind said,
Agreed there...

About Bing... Actually Bing currently only operates in USA. Other "Bings" around the world are not real Bing, they are just newly skinned same old Live Search (well, that's an insider info)

o.O REALLY? damn!

I find it hard to see people hating him anyways. Yeah he's played dirty, real dirty but at the same time look at what else he has done.

I'd rather have a drink at a bar with Gates then either of the Steves. Hes a very shrude business man, used to be a great coder(not sure how well he's kept up) and hes knows how to go with a joke.

Nope. Hard to hate a man who has accomplished so much in business, technology, and charitable efforts. If you can find a way, well, you're in the minority.

FoxieFoxie said,
Hmm, did our society just evolved and no longer hates Bill?

Na, we still detest him. Our conceptions of him have changed though, for we now realise he's just a snake oil salesman.

liberatus_sum said,
Na, we still detest him. Our conceptions of him have changed though, for we now realise he's just a snake oil salesman.

"We" being you? Grow up.

liberatus_sum said,
Na, we still detest him. Our conceptions of him have changed though, for we now realise he's just a snake oil salesman.


You're such a failure at trolling, you know that?

I don't call at least (if not more than) 75% of home PC's running some version of windows the product of a snake oil salesman. Please stfu and go away, kthx.

It's nice to hear from Gates. At least he's honest in that he says it's tough to speculate on what the Chrome OS will actually be.

andrewbares said,
It's nice to hear from Gates. At least he's honest in that he says it's tough to speculate on what the Chrome OS will actually be.

Well considering Google's roots, It's not a stretch of the imagination to presume it will centre around the browser and web apps.

MistaT40 said,
Always good to hear Gates - it's a shame he is no longer the front man who runs the show.

I agree with you. It's always good hearing from Gates.

The only times I ever hear Gates name anymore are all these idiotic kiddies on the internet saying "omg bill gates sux lololol" because of Vista.

It's pathetic.

Whichever way you spin it, the man and his goals were legendary. Give him that much respect, kthx.

Jealous of what? An operating system nobody actually has any information on?

Lets think about it. How much do we ACTUALLY KNOW about ChromeOS? We know it runs on netbooks, we know it will somehow revolve around Chrome, and thats about it.

Jugalator said,
Ya ya!!

+1 +1 +1

all it takes it to have someone like me to -100000000, there ;-)

"ChromeOS", let's see if "FirefoxOS" would create such a hype, or "OperaOS", or even "IEOS" (which would be the least anticipated).

It's not surprising if "ChromeOS" is a cloud OS; it's even boring if it's just another Linux; and other stuffs Google have yet to disclose are candidates of surprises.

I think it's fine for the Baldy (Ballmer) and non-Baldy (Gates) to laugh on what they know so far.