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."

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