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Bill Gates wants to help Microsoft improve Office, praises CEO Satya Nadella

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is currently spending most of his time with his charitable work at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, but in a new interview he reveals he wants to help Microsoft, and its current CEO Satya Nadella, in his role as technology advisor, particularly with Office.

In the interview with Bloomberg Television, Gates says:

"But of all the things Microsoft needs to do in terms of making people more productive in their work, helping them communicate in new ways, it's a long list of opportunities Microsoft has to innovate. And taking Office and making it dramatically better would be really high on the list there. That's the kind of thing I'm trying to help make sure they move fast on."

Gates made that comment in response to questions about Apple Pay, the upcoming payment system that will be launched by Apple later this month. He admitted that "Microsoft should do as well or better" in that area of technology. He added:

"Well Apple Pay's a great example of how a cell phone that identifies its user in a pretty strong way lets you make a transaction that should be very, very inexpensive. So the fact that in any application I can buy something, that's fantastic. The fact I don't need a physical card anymore, I just do that transaction and you're going to be quite sure about who it is on the other end, that is a real contribution. And all the platforms, whether it's Apple's or Google's or Microsoft, you'll see this payment capability get built in. That's built on industry standard protocols, NFC. And these companies have all participated in getting those going. Apple will help make sure it gets to critical mass for all the devices."

Gates also offered praise for Nadella, who became CEO of Microsoft in February. Gates said, "I'm very happy with what he's doing. I see a new sense of energy. There's a lot of opportunity there, some things the company isn't the leader on, and he sees that he needs to change that." When asked if he will be going to more NBA basketball matches now that former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is the owners of the Los Angeles Clippers, Gates said, "I'm not a guy who spends a ton of time watching sports games, but my friends who own teams, I enjoy spending time with them. So at some point probably."

Do you think Gates is correct in his thinking that improving Office should be a high priority for Microsoft?

Source: Bloomberg Television

100 Comments
  • No
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Maybe Posted from my Samsung galaxy S5
  • May be. Bee may not.
  • There are something more important to take care to than office!
  • Microsoft is a huge corporation, they can take care of many things at once. It's not like they have a dedicated team for Office development or anything.
  • THIS! I'm tired of some commentors acting like Microsoft is just a single team of people.  Each team is dedicated to a particular product/service/task in the organization so they can do tons of things at once.  In order for Office to stay on top, they will always need to be ahead of the game.  But since they are a huge company, they can still innovate with their other products at the same time.  So relax.
  • What? That's madness, I thought it was one product at a time or something. /s
  • He better help the Music app team..its just horrible D":
  • Glance screen updated with new features!! (Weren't those features rumoured to come with Lumia Denim?)
  • I just saw that too
  • Just got the update, thanks!
  • Was this in the Bill Gates interview as well? Thought not.
  • Improve Office for WP first. It is very lacklustre in features.
  • +1.
  • Aye. It still beats office suite pro (android) but I'd love more formatting options. Office is brilliant, for WP, but could be even better.
  • +630 +1020 +toaster +Juicer +Grinder +PencilBox
  • ^This....     and ^that and this> and that> and thisv and thatv  and this< and that<
  • I totally disagree.
    MS Office on Android lacks so much features which are present in Office Suite Pro.
    It doesn't show document headers/footers in msword. Posted via Windows Phone Central App on Android
  • Yes ur right
  • +930 +E75 +3310
  • You still own the Nokia 3310? :) Posted via Windows Phone Central App on Android
  • Yep those things are indestructible. :)
  • +520
  • ++1
  • +-=9999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999
  • you, sir, are an asshole D=
  • Um, they already announced Office Touch is a universal app.  So it'll be coming to Windows 10 (which includes phone).  :)
  • Very true Posted via Windows Phone Central App on Android
  • Threshold on Windows Phone is also important, and also the unversal app.
  • Yes but they need to Optimize their devices such as surface
  • What do you mean by that? As in the devices itself need optimization, or Office needs to be better optimized to run on Surface devices?
  • He is not sure I think. Sent from somewhere. Don't worry I ain't illegal.
  • It doesn't need much improvements except on WP which sucks. But it should be a bit cheaper. I'm still using 2003 version on my desktop. I also have the new version on my Lumia 2520.
  • Office 365... Full Office + 1TB of storage per user (for the Home Plan). And if you don't have family members to share with others, Office 365 Personal is even cheaper. Not sure how much cheaper you want them to make it (that is currently the best rate for that much cloud storage, so Office is just the icing on the cake).
  • Sorry, not office 365 but the student edition at 99.99 and the business at least 189.99. The 365 is a good option.
  • Students can now get Office 365 free if the school they attend licenses it for all Faculty and Staff (and you have no idea how cheap Microsoft makes it for education to license it across the board). Faculty and Staff will soon be able to take advantage of the same offer.
  • I wonder how that would work at my university. The faculty and staff all used Microsoft services while the students all used Google services.
  • I almost get angry when people say Office should be cheaper. Even at $189+ it's one of the greatest bargains in the software world. Hell, in all of the consumer world. Through no other product can you get so much for so little, an application suite that you can use for years for just $99. A lot of people spend that much on Starbucks coffee every month. I hope one day you start a business so you can learn basic economics.
  • You almost get angry over that, LMAO! You need to get some perspective in your life, son.
  • At my university software store, students and faculty can get office 2013 pro plus for $19.
  • +1
  • I can see why they care about Office as its probably one of the last reasons people and companies buy Windows (that's probably a little strong). As a fan of an os and ecosystem that isn't as strong as I'd like it, innovating one of their crown jewels isn't stupid.
  • People buy Windows for many more reasons. Sent from somewhere. Don't worry I ain't illegal.
  • Most people buy it, GASP!!!, to use on their PCs because they want a standard OS they can trust to run the programs they enjoy using or working with and not because they want to be a part of Microsoft's ecosystem. That's why I use Windows. All my games and programs run on it.
  • That's good for you, but if you haven't noticed, home PC sales are practically dead. I'm willing to bet if a PC was purchased, it was either for high end gaming or to run Office and high end gaming is a niche.
  • No way. Sales are flat meaning they aren't increasing but there's millions and millions of PC sales, and it stays steady. Mostly in the forum of laptops.
  • I can't but agree with him. As some specialists in the IT field note, Office is one of the reasons why business users choose Windows platform and not something else. Since Microsoft seems to be considering to make Windows a service (or the rumors say so) while Office has already been successfully made into a service, that has to fight its way against free solutions like Google's, Office stays the key element in Microsoft's portfolio. That way they have to make sure that they innovate or the cheap (and free) solutions will win if they become 'good enough'. It's hard to say, however, if Microsoft can innovate, as Office is already 'good enough' and the things like ribbon in 2007 made lots of people complain about changes,
  • Yes, there are few things which Microsoft can improve on normal Office. What I'd like to see would be more advanced picture and video editing options.
  • There are many, many improvements that can still be made to Office. As a heavy and daily Office user I come up with new ideas pretty frequently and I am happy to share those ideas with Microsoft.
  • #1 request - live collaborative editing Office online has the functionality built in. But we all know that the local Word and Excel clients offer much more
  • As Bill Gates look at Apple Pay and a cell phone that identify its users. I hope he improve overall experience for Windows on phone.
  • And even though we've had NFC its no were as cool as apple pay.....and we will "let apple get it to critical mass" why apple.....why not us? We've had nfc for a while. I'm I missing something? Is our nfc as good or better than apple pay?
  • NFC is a standard just like Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and a whole other set of standards. Apple's isn't any better. He was referring more to the use of it as mobile payment method. Something which Windows phone natively supports and Google has Google Wallet. The only issue is the slow adoption rate and now that Apple finally has this they can apparently now speed up adoption rate of the NFC payment method. Honestly its one of those features I was really looking forward to and was a let down. Hopefully now NFC payments start to become popular.
  • Apple's difference is they negotiated with payment processors to roll out NFC enabled payment terminals, which are pretty much non-existent in the US, so that NFC devices can actually be used. And for that Apple will get a cut of the interchange fee. That's honestly the only difference. It's not the tech really, it's just that they convinced the credit card companies to get off their ass and step a little closer to the future. By the way, tap to pay has been available in Japan for years. This isn't new stuff.
  • As deloa84 said, we have NFC. My point is not hardware. Apple implementation is good, even though their NFC is only for Apple pay but it is straight to the point. Pay, and the implementation is good. It has one purpose, and people receive that well. The software implementing that is good, intuitive. Now how many app we have in store utilizing NFC payment? Is it any good?
  • Bill make them accelerate the wp developing...and add features like nfc to work with other phones or wifi calling.
  • Of course Office can be better, they need to launch a touch version but with full features.
  • They already are doing that, they showed that a while back.  That's why development is taking longer than expected.  Unlike they did for iOS and Android, they are building a full modern touch version of Office for Windows that will also be a universal app.  That's not easy to scale down to mobile size, which is why it's taking longer.   I'm guessing it'll be out by the time Windows 10 Consumer Preview happens.
  • Follow Apples lead and make a bi-fold phone you can fit in your wallet.
  • Yes! Office needs to be Microsoft's service you can't live without. It needs to be the reason everyone signs to for and had a Microsoft account. Right now they don't have that. I think it's the right move. BUT treat your best customers first and best. That's the Windows and windows phone community. They aren't new customers but they're the ones that are going to talk to others about how great your products are. Office needs to be everywhere (like Search is for Google) but you need to make it great for your best customers first or at the same time as everyone else.
  • I agree. Further, making the free Office Web Suite available for download (one download per MSFT account) would go a long way in challenging the other free services. Also, this would be an incentive for new computer buyers, as they would not have to purchase a full version of Office to begin using their new computers out of the box.
  • I wonder about the antitrust issues this would possibly raise. It was hard enough for them to even include Internet Explorer worth Windows.
  • How many free products does your company sell? I say offer a free download, but in exchange Microsoft gets to track you like Google does. That's the only reason Google's stuff is free, because software isn't their business model, advertising revenue is their business model. Google Docs is just a consumer data gathering tool.
  • I agree, however as the owner of a graphic design business, I did have to offer customers freebies as a means to keep pace with the competition. And, it's true that it did eat into my bottom line, but I was able to retain a solid customer base and I tried to make it up through providing creative solutions and services that the competition lacked. Business is constantly evolving and successful businesses like MSFT evolve and create news services and products. For example, WP is now free to OEMs and it seems to be paying off.
  • Improve Office on Windows Phone and get a really good touch version for Windows 8.1 and RT will help the sales of Windows PC's as well.
  • google wants to make their own messsnger app to be a hit on Android. how stupid they are
  • I don't get it. Most people only uses like 20% of office features. I don't know how can they improve that a lot...
  • Make the other 80% more intuitive to use. There are so many things that Office products can do that people just don't know about, or don't know how to do.
  • That 80 that people don't use are easy to use, but people either don't need those features for their job or are too lazy to learn them. For example, at my company we have admin assistants, whose primary job is to maintain calendars and such for executives using Outlook, that ask me basic Outlook questions, things they should have learned decades ago. Hell, one lady refuses to use Outlook and still uses a paper notebook. Not saying Microsoft can't make features easier to use, but at some point the user has to get off their ass and think and make an effort.
  • It's actually less than 10%
  • Probably! One of my favourite features is the ability to get data from web pages in real time to my excel files. Really unique and neat :)
  • it's not about the features, it is about the cloud and new features you'll actually use :)
  • I love you Bill Gates
  • *beep beep beep beep*
    Fag detected
  • Your use of that homophobic slur is completely despicable and unnacceptable. Shame on you.
  • Thumbs up
  • Bill might eat his words if Satya has his way. I don't even think Satya has mentioned Windows Phone by name more than once since becoming CEO. Also why didn't Bill point out that WP has had a Wallet feature for years now but it never caught on with the carriers? Doesn't matter anyways as WP is on its last leg. I honestly can't see Satya "The Butcher" Nadella keep spending money and resources on something that hasn't improved in profitablity since it was created in 2010. Satya more than Gates and Ballmer seems to have the shareholders in mind more than anything else. As a shareholder i am greatful but as a MS fan i am terrified.  
  • Actually he has stated WP and mobile are major parts of Microsoft's strategy. Remember that Microsoft is doing more than just updating a phone, they are reinventing what we have come to know as an "ecosystem". When they make a change for the phone, they have to make sure it works across that ecosystem and in a consistent manner, to the extent that's necessary. Just look at Windows 10, a single OS that will run on all device types, including phones. That alone should be evidence enough at how strongly Microsoft is committed to the phone.
  • Xaxa
  • Microsoft is leaning towards giving Windows away. But they're charging for Office. And Office can run on any device, regardless of platform. So yes, it's a good use.
  • At least a good news
  • Why not、 for some people office has always been the unique reason to buy or use a computer。
  • What Bill Gates really wanted to say: "Well, Apple Pay is a great example of how Apple took a technology the Japanese have been using for over a decade and convinced the rest of the naive tech world that they somehow invented it in 2014."
  • Funny how phones that have this ability can't actually use it because barely any retailers support WP payments. And apple never said they invented it. 
  • Absolutely.Without a doubt
  • The MS Office 2013 user interface design on the desktop was a major step back compared to Office 2010. It's plain colorless look is hard to see and down right ugly. It has been 2 years since MS promised new themes and we are still waiting. Wakeup Microsoft!
  • To each their own. I prefer it to 2010. That being said, more themes would be nice.
  • oh boy here we go again, beat it to death over the colors.
  • Reddit in the background on IE :o
  • Gates agrees with me on Apple Pay! And office improvements ftw! :D
  • 1) typical executve talk, doesn't mean anything. 2) he sounded more critical of the lag in office and mobile than "praising" nadella, who still has to improve microsoft's tarnished windows reputation and lack of mobile traction. If nadella can't get the last two done, he'll be remembered as the shortest lived CEO of microsoft.
  • The biggest improvement that could be done for Office is for them to realize that light gray, even lighter gray, and retina-destroying super white are not the only available colors to use when designing the interface.
  • Great! Go Bill Gates!!!
  • If they don't innovate. Somebody will, and they will lose the market like IE and WM
  • I feel like Microsoft is onto something more huge than any of us suspect.
  • Absolutely. I always pictured the Office team as being so caught up with their own successes that they're not listening to the company's general direction towards touch and cloud. This had left them playing catch-up to MS's own services/products, like how they were late getting into the cloud, and improving the touch experience on WP and W8. This meant that MS couldn't leverage Office to gain market share in cloud consumer services and mobile. And endangers future efforts in those areas as enterprise move to them. Maybe Bill's attention will make Office get with the program... Or at least highlight of there's a need to review Office's position in relation to other MS services.
  • No, for Windows Desktop. Yes, especially on WP and other ARM devices. Posted via Windows Phone Central App on Android