Xbox: Gates slips up for once: "Microsoft Corp. has been highly secretive about whether it will release its next Xbox video-game console this year or next. Apparently, Bill Gates didn't get the memo.
Speaking yesterday to a national convention of business editors and writers, the Microsoft chairman seemed to confirm widespread industry speculation about the timing of the release, referring to plans to ship the console 'this year.'
Although the questions didn't delve into those issues, Gates discussed a range of topics in his speech and in response to Greene's questions. A sampling of his comments:
On the decision to switch from awarding employees stock options to giving them actual Microsoft shares: "We probably never should have used stock options. I actually regret that we ever used them."
On how the next Xbox, code-named Xenon, will be similar in some respects to the company's Media Center PC software: "If you're used that menu, when you use this Xenon, you'll see a menu a lot like that, that lets you get photos, TV, music and all those different things."
On positive coverage of rival Apple's new Mac OS X Tiger operating system, which has features Microsoft won't have until 2006 in the next Windows: "Because they're the super-small-market share guy, they get all these statements about them. But I actually thought that was great -- there it was, the general press writing about operating systems."
On weblogs in which Microsoft employees speak their mind: "I'd say overwhelmingly it's good. It does raise lots of questions. ... Now you have thousands of spokespeople and being off the cuff is part of the whole charm of the thing."
But he said the only real challenge is with executives who start blogs but don't have time to make relatively frequent posts. Gates said he has so far stayed away from starting his own for that reason."