Bill Gates Is Sorry Microsoft Sucks At Innovation Lately

If you wonder what Bill Gates thinks about his own company after stepping away from Microsoft's day-to-day operations five years ago, the answer is: Not much.

CBS News reported Monday Feb.18 that a recent interview with CBS This Morning co-host Charlie Rose saw Gates revealing he's "not satisfied with the company's innovations."

Noting that Windows 8 is a "key to the future," along with giving other compliments for predecessor (and former Harvard classmate) Steve Ballmer's administration and praise for Bing and XBox, Gates nevertheless lamented that he feels Ballmer and he have not done everything possible in the way of "breakthrough things."

Calling Ballmer and himself "two of the most self-critical people," Gates suggested that Microsoft hadn't gotten out in the forefront very early in the cellphone market.

"We didn't miss cellphones, but the way that we went about it didn't allow us to get the leadership," said Gates. "So it's clearly a mistake."

Explaining to Rose that "innovation is what I love to work on," Gates said in the interview that he's now personally focusing on innovations in cheap, clean energy and also the creation of a new history course that would combine history and science "to be made more interesting."

"Often," continued Gates, "the money is what's missing when it comes to innovation. And I've been lucky enough to have the capital, so whether it's a new nuclear reactor or solar power, I can back some wild ideas."

Gates focused further on his recent educational, energy and philanthropic interests. Wife Melinda and he currently run the largest charity in the world (The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, whose mission is to eradicate polio worldwide).

Despite the fact that Ballmer is today CEO of Microsoft, Gates confirmed to Rose that he is still the company's chairman.

"There were a lot of amazing things Steve's leadership got done with the company last year," said Gates. "Is it enough? No."

When asked what his mission statement is today, Gates answered, "That all lives have equal value ... Those basic needs, through innovation, will be available to everyone."

As to how he responds to the swell of negative criticism about Microsoft's seeming lack of innovation as of late, Gates smilingly replied, "We appreciate the advice!"

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