Here’s another interview with Bill Gates. He’s been busy lately.
In this one, Bill is discussing the benefits of commercial software and how that compares with free software. Bill is basically sayhing that the free software can’t do some of the same things that a commercial company can. For example, a free software company will have a hard time investing hundreds of millions of dollars into speech recognition (min bar to make it work, probably) where commercial software companies like Microsoft can:
Q. Looking at the open-source world, there’s this movement away from selling licenses toward selling support. A lot of people are participating in that, and you have been skeptical. Why? Do you think that’s fundamentally the wrong model?
Gates: The industry will always be a mix of free and commercial software. So there will be a balance between those. I think that we are going to have a lot of both. There are some zealots that think there should be no software jobs, that we should all, like, cut hair during the day and write code at night.
Should you take some of those extreme views, I think it’s easy to say that’s not right. There are things like compatibility and 24-hour support and taking big leaps like IPTV or speech recognition. The painstaking work over a decade that you have to do that costs hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars. That’s the commercial side. It’s good at hiring people and selling licenses and taking the risks that go with that.