Blog Post

@ D Conference: Gates: Broadcast Is Dead; We Can’t Do YouTube; Hints XBox+Music Player

The WSJ-organized D conference started this evening at Four Seasons in Carlsbad. A packed-to-the-gills ballroom listened to a rather lackluster keynote interview with Bill Gates. He sounded more mellow than usual, though slightly irritated with the line of questioning from the MCs Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher (especially about Google/search and music/Apple.)
Some of digital media related things he talked about:
Search: This year has not been that big in terms of innovation and you have to look at smaller players in Korea, A9 and others. In search, in terms of market share, we have more upside than downside [Ed: meaning we can only go up from here]. Competition like this is really a five-year track…we have the patience and the financial wherewithal to do that.
Apple: Apple has a hyper successful business…Windows Media Player is way more popular now than a year ago. Obviously we need to find a way to participate in the portable/music opportunity. [He hints at some cross between Xbox and music/portability].
Xbox: On the newish XBox360, we made the bet that it will be an online experience…and that has worked very well for us.
Subscription vs owning: Within the legal music field, subscription has huge potential, but the results are there that a lot of people are not doing that. Music companies don’t seem to be willing to lower prices on subscription.
Social networking: MSN Spaces is the highest volume blogging site. MySpace: We are not yet at the point where we can capture the sense of various relationships, various levels within it, etc. There’s a lot to be learned yet…we have not seen the final models on these.
Video online: the biggest thing happening in online video is IPTV [Ed: Really? Seriously?]…putting all the TV over IP. AT&T and Verizon are doing that. We’re finally getting to the point where bandwidth is there, user generated video is there now, and video based communication is there.
What happens to the broadcast model? It is gone. Their option: they upgrade their network.
YouTube: If we did YouTube, we would be in a lot of trouble. First is whether there is any business model, and then whether they have the rights.”
Dan Farber is also blogging the conference, and has some more details, including his demo of the new Office, here.
Note: That pic on the right: that’s a bobblehead Gates, presented to him by Mossberg and Swisher as a speaker thank-you gift.