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Bill Gates offers candid answers during Reddit's ask-me-anything-session

Ian Paul | Feb. 13, 2013
Several questions touched on technology and the personalities surrounding the industry

Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates let it all hang out on Monday answering questions during an ask-me-anything session on Reddit. Gates wanted questions to focus on his work with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a charitable organization dedicated to improving healthcare and reducing poverty around the world. This being Reddit and the favorite hangout of many geeks, however, there were several questions that touched on technology and the personalities surrounding the industry. Gates answered questions about his views on Windows 8, Steve Jobs, Bing, the Surface Pro, massive computer displays, and the possible reemergence of WinFS.

The new OS

Windows 8 "is a huge advance for Windows, which people will see even more as the great applications and hardware come out," Gates said. Since its introduction in October, Microsoft's newest operating system has taken a critical beating and it's not clear yet whether Windows 8 is a hit or flop with users. The company in January said it had sold 60 million Windows 8 licenses, but there are reports of slow adoption, high returns for new Surface RT devices and a lull in developer enthusiasm for creating Windows 8 touch apps.

As with any new Windows release, there are also unending debates about whether Windows 7, the previous OS release, is better than the newcomer. When asked about the Windows 7 vs. Windows 8 showdown, Gates said, "higher is better."

Bing is also better

Redditor Fozzy420: "Do you guys really use Bing? I mean seriously..."

Gates: "Seriously, Bing is the better product at this point. Try the challenge. I am biased but the work to make Bing better has been amazing."

Gates was referring to the Bing It On campaign launched last fall to compare Google and Bing search results. After launching the program, Microsoft said a survey of users who took a blind test of Google and Bing results found that people preferred Bing search results nearly 2 to 1 over Google.

And yet, almost four months after the Bing challenge, Google is still the most dominant search engine in the U.S., claiming 66.7 percent of all searches in December, according to metrics firm comScore.

Apple and Steve Jobs

Bill Gates may have famously prevented his children from owning iPods and iPads , but that hasn't stopped the former Microsoft chief executive from experiencing Apple's wonder gadgets. "I mostly use Windows machines but from time to time I have tried all of Apple products," Gates said. Not a particularly surprising thing for a former technology CEO to say since you always want to know what the other guys are up to.


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