Bill Gates Talk on Computing from 1989

Bill Gates discusses the software and computer industry, and how Microsoft has contributed. Gates also discusses his views on the future of the computing industry. The talk was recorded in 1989 but was only recently digitized. Topics include:

  • Microsoft BASIC and the Altair 880 computer
  • 640k memory barrier and 16-bit architectures
  • EGA graphics and WYSIWYG editors
  • The importance and future of the mouse
  • Object-oriented programming
  • MS-DOS and the importance of OS/2
  • Apple vs. Microsoft lawsuit regarding user interfaces
  • Microsoft Office on Macintosh
  • Gates' current role at Microsoft
Audio: MP3 | FLAC | OGG | WAV
Download Torrent: MP3 | FLAC | OGG | WAV
News Source: Waterloo Computer Science Club

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31 Comments

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^ I think you should learn to laugh once in a while. I hear that it's an effective cure for grumpiness, and you'll live longer.

And I bet all of them have since made a fortune in IT and can now take a wad of Benjamin's, stick them up your @$$, light them, and not think twice about it.

Well Bill Gates is a billionaire and is married with kids... so that kind of destroys that theory if I had to be him or you I think I know who I would be... :P

It's funny, but among the top 3 geeks there to me, look to be Bill Gates and he's married and among the world's richest men. :)

Of course, it doesn't help them either that the look of their glasses was modern back then, and uber geeky now.

Jexel said,
i think you should take your trolling elsewhere, this forum isn't for you.

As already mentioned, I think you need to learn to laugh. It was obviously a joke.

Seems a few virgin geeks have had theie noses put out of joint a bit, why would anyone be so defensive about a clear geekiness in the photo. I think even Bill would admit he looked like a geek. Guys it's OK to be a geek and a virgin (in fact probably mosty common) you don't have to be so defensive.

There is a lot of background noise but I can understand him pretty clearly. I'm curious though why this is in so many formats though, especially the huge wav file. It's a low quality voice recording, mp3 is more than adequate.

Of course it was important. The GUI for it had just recently been released at the time this talk was given.

Gates always speaks high praise for the operating systems that MS writes. OS/2 was no different.

With the eventual success of NT, the importance of OS/2 has a difference relevance now than it had back then, but still important nonetheless.

NT is just the OS/2 branch that succeded though.

And that's much IBM's own fault, this was even before gaming and DirectX and all kinds of apps locked us into windows, and with OS/2 being relatively windows compatible anyway there's no technical reasons why it should have faded into nothing.

HawkMan said,
NT is just the OS/2 branch that succeded though.
Except that NT was a completely different architecture. It might be more accurate to say that NT is the result of an OS/2 branch that was disolved. The opinions are different, depending on who you talk to.
And that's much IBM's own fault, this was even before gaming and DirectX and all kinds of apps locked us into windows, and with OS/2 being relatively windows compatible anyway there's no technical reasons why it should have faded into nothing.
Technologically, lack of hardware support can be fatal to a platform, and there were many devices for which OS/2 did not provide drivers. This, plus the sheer cost of purchasing OS/2, combined to cause potential customers to shy away.

Back then, the application usually depended on your platform. Microsoft took measures to make sure Windows was designed to be a preferred platform for developers, but it was still years later before desktop publishing and applications like Photoshop made their way into the Windows world.

Also, gaming locked us into DOS, not Windows...Windows was just along for the ride on most OEM machines until about 1997. DX3 got the ball rolling, but it was DX5 that the game developers embraced.

Roger MS said,
Technologically, lack of hardware support can be fatal to a platform, and there were many devices for which OS/2 did not provide drivers. This, plus the sheer cost of purchasing OS/2, combined to cause potential customers to shy away.

Wow! Deja vu. Vista anyone? Seriously though, we still have a few system in production that use OS/2. They work fine so there is no reason to fix them.

"The talk was recorded in 1989 but was only recently digitized. Topics include:
"640k memory barrier and 16-bit architectures"

I haven't watched it yet but I really hope this proves or disproves that stupid 640k quote once and for all.

The only stupid thing about the quote is the people who insist on forgetting about the context it was made in. Its really one of the most notoriously misquoted technolores I can think of.

Ravensworth said,
"The talk was recorded in 1989 but was only recently digitized. Topics include:
"640k memory barrier and 16-bit architectures"

I haven't watched it yet but I really hope this proves or disproves that stupid 640k quote once and for all.

The exact 640k quote from the talk:

"So that's a 1 MB address space. And in that original design I took the upper 340k and decided that a certain amount should be for video memory, a certain amount for the ROM and I/O, and that left 640k for general purpose memory. And that leads to today's situation where people talk about the 640k memory barrier; the limit of how much memory you can put to these machines. I have to say that in 1981, making those decisions, I felt like I was providing enough freedom for 10 years. <audience laughing>. That is, a move from 64k to 640k felt like something that would last a great deal of time. Well, it didn't - it took about only 6 years before people started to see that as a real problem."