Bill Gates might be focusing most of his attention on charity work, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t still asked about Microsoft’s latest maneuvers, including his thoughts on the Microsoft Surface.
Gates answered questions about the Surface on Monday evening when he appeared on the Charlie Rose Show. According to Business Insider, Rose asked Gates if Apple had the right idea of tight software and hardware integration, and if Microsoft should have gone in that direction.
While Gates didn’t want to talk about Microsoft’s past decision to work with partners to build the machines, he defended the idea of Microsoft creating its own devices.
Gates said “I actually believe you can have the best of both worlds. You can have a rich eco-system of manufacturers and you can have a few signature devices that show off, wow, what’s the difference between a tablet and a PC?”
The reasoning sounds similar to Google’s plan with the Nexus program. Partners can build any machine they want, but Microsoft and Google want to put out a few “signature devices” that show their vision for the platform. In the case of the Surface, that vision is the blurring of the lines between a tablet and a PC.
With the Surface “you can have everything you like about a tablet and anything you like about a PC all in one device,” according to Gates. He continued saying “I can’t wait until it’s shipping and everybody can sit and play with it because that’s the only way you can understand what we’re trying to say with it.”
That sounds fair enough. Windows 8 and Windows RT look interesting, but without testing it on a tablet we don’t know everything Microsoft is trying to do with it. Microsoft has shown off the tablets at a few events, but most users haven’t had the chance to try them just yet. We’re excited to try the Surface to see how it works as a tablet and a PC, though we’re worried that it can’t live up to the iPad of even the Nexus 7.