Bill Gates on the iTunes Music Store (PDF)

Another 2003 email from Bill Gates, this time about the then-just-launched iTunes Music Store:

Steve Jobs’s ability to focus in on a few things that count, get people who get user interface right and market things as revolutionary are amazing things.

This time somehow he has applied his talents in getting a better licensing deal than anyone else has gotten for music.

This one is less amusing but more interesting than the aforelinked Windows usability rant. What’s clear in this one is that Gates was smart enough to recognize immediately that Apple had struck a very good deal with the music labels, and that it put Microsoft in a bad spot. (Remember that at this time, iTunes was Mac-only; the Windows version didn’t appear for another six months.) His description of what happened, what Apple did, why this is bad for Microsoft, it’s all spot-on. But Gates doesn’t know what to do in response.

Five years later, the iTunes Store has sold five billion songs, and Microsoft still doesn’t have an answer.

Wednesday, 25 June 2008