Bill Gates' Web Site - Speech Transcript, Newspaper Association of America Annual Convention "You'll find me very optimistic at this point, because at this stage people are underestimating the technology advances that are taking place. That's a bit different than in '99 and 2000, where people were expecting some people -- were expecting things to happen overnight. Now, they've almost lost sight of the fact that the key drivers, the chip miracle, the software advances, and reaching very important milestones. Things like speech recognition, or handwriting recognition are coming along in a pretty fantastic way.
The '90s were about the PC. The PC is still at this stage the key device that everybody comes together on, and it's very influenced by this history of being an open device that anyone can manufacture. There are over a hundred different PC manufacturers, very competitive business. The average price of the PC for a consumer is down in the US$600 - $700 range, and even though that is so much more powerful than anything that came in the past. The graphical interface has connected up to the Internet.
Well, this decade we call the digital decade. Why do we use that term? Well, despite the popularity of the PC in the '90s, most of the activities that people engaged in were not changed. The main activities that were changed were creating documents, where the word processor was preeminent, and the starting of electronic mail as a way of communicating. By the end of this decade, 2009, the number of activities that will have been changed by digital approaches will be extremely broad. It will be common sense, certainly for your younger readers, if not all of them, to pay bills electronically. The music that they buy will be digital. A lot of the material that they read will be read off the screen. The way that kids stay in touch with each other will be instant messaging brought to a whole new level, with voice and video as part of that interaction. The way that people buy and sell, that you bid out to buy something, will be fundamentally changed by electronic commerce. Electronic commerce was over-hyped, because the foundation had not been put in place. But, now over the last few years companies like ourselves and IBM, under the industry term Web services, are actually building that foundation to make that common sense."