I spoke to Bill Gates Today

I’m attending the SharePoint 2006 Conference in Bellevue, WA this week. I’ll post some details later in the week.

I’ll try not to drink too much Koolaid but the new Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) is impressive.

But let’s get back on topic, I spoke to the big cheese Bill G. today.

He gave a keynote and then opened the floor for Q&A.

Bill G. Q&A sessions are a lot of fun.

I’ve attended a few and I usually know how to jump in quick to get my question in.

My question was about the struggling SPOT Watch/MSN Direct product.

A transcript of the keynote and Q&A session is posted here. Look for the "SPOT watch owner" question.

Here’s my dialog with him:

GARY RUSSO:
I’m a proud SPOT watch owner, and I’d love to use SPOT watch as a distribution channel, maybe integrate with RSS. What’s the plan? Was it a response to Scott McNealy’s Java ring or was it really part of the Windows everywhere strategy; give me your roadmap.

BILL GATES:
Well, I’m the right person to ask because I’m a SPOT believer. For those of you who don’t know, this is the wristwatch project that Microsoft did where we use FM signals to actually broadcast data, and so if you have this watch you get stock updates and weather and news and things. And you just go to the Internet and pick what you care about, what sports or what traffic things, and then your watch gets a message that tells it what things to display for you.

We got off to a slow start on SPOT because our watches were a little too thick and we didn’t have the right distribution channel, and so now there’s a new generation of the SPOT watches coming, actually some color display and things. So we’re pushing ahead with that, but it did not get to the mainstream in the first version, so we had to step back and do some of the more ergonomic design.

It’s a perfect example of a sort of subscription, because as you go to the Internet and pick what you care about, that’s like an RSS subscription, and the idea is that if we can get that to large numbers, then even corporate data feeds, you could go up and sign up to those and have those come down on your watch as well, but we need to get more of a phenomena around that, and so we’re taking another shot at that.

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One Response to “I spoke to Bill Gates Today”

  1. Gary Russo Says:

    Engadget ran a follow-up story about Bill G’s SPOT watch comments here.

    http://www.engadget.com/2006/05/17/spot-2-0-watch-in-the-works/

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