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Gates: “Reading to Go Completely Online”

No doubt comments made by Bill Gates at Microsoft’s Strategic Account Summit online advertising conference in Seattle yesterday will ricochet around the blogosphere and back again, based solely on the title of this subject header alone. But the Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s Todd Bishop reports that Gates went into considerable detail on his visions for the future – especially with regards to books:

“Reading is going to go completely online. We believe that as we get the smaller form factor, the screen has gotten good enough. Why is reading online better? It’s up to date, you can navigate, you can follow links. The ads in the online reading are completely targeted as opposed to just being run-of-print, where many of the readers will find them completely irrelevant. The ads can be in new and richer formats. In fact the only drawbacks of the digital form are the things associated with the device: how big is it, heavy is it, how many hours of power does it have, how much do I have to spend to buy it? But those are things that once you achieve that threshold, in terms of the convenience and the cost, then you see a dramatic change in behavior. Today, for people who read newspapers and magazines, even the most avid PC user probably still does quite a bit of reading on print. As the device moves down in size and simplicity, that will change, and so somewhere in the next five-year period we’ll hit that transition point, and things will be even more dramatic than they are today.”

Of course, keep in mind (as one P-I commenter does) that Gates also predicted in 2004 that spam would be eradicated “in the next two years,” so even mega-billionaires have their off-moments….

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