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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

When asked about Steve Jobs, Gates offered nothing but respect for the deceased cofounder and driving force behind Apple. "He and I respected each other," Gates said. "Our biggest joint project was the Mac ... I saw Steve regularly over the years, including spending an afternoon with him a few months before he tragically passed away."

Computer Walls and Surface Pro

During the Reddit event Gates used a massive Perceptive Pixel display to answer questions, calling it a "huge Windows 8 touch whiteboard." The display was believed to be Perceptive Pixel's 80-inch model. Gates even posted a picture to show the wall-like display in action. "These will come down in price over time and be pervasive," Gates said.

One of Microsoft's longstanding goals is to turn a wall in everyone's home into a massive computer display. While an 80-inch monitor isn't exactly wall-sized, it is a step in the right direction. Microsoft acquired Perceptive Pixelin 2012.

When not using massive displays, Gates has recently been opting for something much smaller. Microsoft's chairman said he is also using a 10.6-inch Surface Pro that he received about a week ago. "It is very nice," Gates said about the new Microsoft-branded tablet.

The return of WinFS?

WinFS was an ill-fated file storage subsystem originally slated to be incorporated into Windows Vista (then known as Longhorn), but was shelved in 2004 to expedite Vista's general release. Pieces of WinFS have since filtered into other products. The promise of WinFS was to make it easier to catalog and search data on your PC.

"We had a rich database as the client/cloud store that was part of a Windows release that was before its time," Gates said referring to WinFS. "This is an idea that will remerge since your cloud store will be rich with schema [a way to group data by generic type such as documents, images, video, etc.] rather than just a bunch of files and the client will be a partial replica of it with rich schema understanding."

Beyond technology, Gates also shared that he loves playing tennis, is an "avid bridge player," and likes to tour interesting and quirky places with his kids such as power plants, the Large Hadron Collider, and missile silos.


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