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Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft and now co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, has held his very first AMA on Reddit.
He’s surprisingly good at it, answering over 30 questions and verifying his identity in a number of cute ways (photo at left, video below).
For the record, Gates’ preferred computer is the Microsoft Surface Pro, which he just got a week ago. He also believes that Windows 8 is better than Windows 7: “higher is better.”
“I am using a Perceptive Pixel display right now — huge Windows 8 touch whiteboard,” he wrote. “These will come down in price over time and be pervasive.”
Shockingly, the Microsoft founder also believes that Bing is “the better product at this point, seriously.”
Concerning the future, Gates believes that “robots, pervasive screens, speech interaction will all change the way we look at ‘computers’. Once seeing, hearing, and reading (including handwriting) work very well you will interact in new ways,” he wrote.
As can be expected, a Redditor questioned him about his relationship with Steve Jobs, and he had this to say:
He and I respected each other. Our biggest joint project was the Mac where Microsoft had more people on the project than Apple did as we wrote a lot of applications. I saw Steve regularly over the years including spending an afternoon with him a few months before he tragically passed away.
The software genius mentioned that he doesn’t code as much as he’d like to. “I write some C, C# and some Basic,” he wrote. “I am surprised new languages have not made more progress in simplifying programming. It would be great if most high school kids were exposed to programming.”
Surprisingly, the product Gates was most excited about at Microsoft, but which never made it to release, was WinFS. In essence, WinFS is a smart cloud storage system (a relational database) that would organize files automatically based on various attributes inferred by the system. WinFS was originally meant to ship with Vista, but according to Gates, it was “ahead of its time.”
Gates was also quizzed on his thoughts regarding an open Internet:
Q: What are your thoughts on the push against the open and free Internet that we have been seeing in the recent past and present (such as sopa, etc)?
There are two things this could reference. One is the free/pay for software mix. The Internet has benefited from having lots of free stuff and lots of commercial software. It has been interesting see people inventing hybrid models. Even stuff that is pretty commercial often has free versions for some audiences. Even the most open stuff often have services people choose to pay for.
The second thing is the anonymous versus identified tension. This is another one where both will probably thrive since you want anonymity for some things and full identity for others. I am surprised how little progress has been made in the identity space but it will improve.
He said that the cheapest things give him pleasure now that he’s insanely wealthy. His fave things include cheeseburgers, helping kids, and taking Open Course Ware courses.
You can catch the whole thing right here.