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January 27, 2006

Davos in January means it’s time for another Bill Gates prediction

Posted by David Hunter at 9:10 AM ET.

The end of January means it’s time for the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos where various government and business luminaries get together and swap purple prose. Microsoft’s Bill Gates took some ribbing in the press this week for his claim at Davos in 2004 that “spam would be solved” within two years. Microsoft says it has, sort of:

To “solve” the problem for consumers in the short run doesn’t require eliminating spam entirely, said Ryan Hamlin, the general manager who oversees the company’s anti-spam programs. Rather, he said, the idea is to contain it to the point that its impact on in-boxes is minor.

In that way, Hamlin said, Gates’ prediction has come true for people using the right tactics and advanced filtering technology. Microsoft’s MSN Hotmail says it stops more than 95 percent of the spam that enters its system from reaching in-boxes.

Based on my Hotmail account, the remaining 5 percent is more than half of the mail that reaches me, but I digress.

Since the spam prediction has “expired,” it was only fitting that Mr. Gates offer up a new prediction this year at Davos and he did not disappoint – Gates: beating Asia piracy to take 10 yrs:

Microsoft Corp. founder Bill Gates said on Friday that beating software piracy in China and India and getting compliance up to U.S. and European levels would take 10 years.

“In India and China it will be a decade before we get that level,” Gates told business leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

“But as long as there is year-by-year progress, it holds a great opportunity for us in terms of scale, which helps us do more, and it’s a great place where we have people working for us.”

Industry analysts have long dubbed China the world’s de facto capital of piracy. Illicit copying is a plague for software vendors and other manufacturers of hi-tech products, such as pharmaceuticals.

In the long term, Gates said, both China and India would respect intellectual property as they shifted from simply being low-cost manufacturing centers to developing their own technologically advanced products.

Apparently offshoring to India and China is a hot topic in Davos this year and Gates also said it was inevitable that Microsoft would move more work over there although he expected that in 10 years, Microsoft would still do most of its research and development work in the United States.

Filed under Bill Gates, Executives, General Business, Governmental Relations, Legal, Offshoring, Piracy, Public Relations

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2 Responses to “Davos in January means it’s time for another Bill Gates prediction”

  1. Microsoft News Tracker » Gates defends Google’s China policy Says:

    [...] More on that point in Gates’ earlier Davos statement. Filed under Executives, Bill Gates, Governmental Relations, General Business, Public Relations Listen to this article   [Permalink] [...]

  2. Microsoft News Tracker » Microsoft disputes Negroponte on PCs for Third World Says:

    [...] Bill Gates apparently demoed a mockup at the Consumer Electronics Show, but if so, it sank without a trace in the press release blizzard coming out of there. He apparently brought it up again at the World Economic Forum in Davos that he has been attending. Craig J. Mundie, Microsoft’s vice president and chief technology officer, said in an interview here that the company was still developing the idea, but that both he and Mr. Gates believed that cellphones were a better way than laptops to bring computing to the masses in developing nations. “Everyone is going to have a cellphone,” Mr. Mundie said, noting that in places where TV’s are already common, turning a phone into a computer could simply require adding a cheap adaptor and keyboard. Microsoft has not said how much those products would cost. [...]

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